ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Friends, family and church members gathered on Wednesday to say a final farewell to Rev. Clint Dobson, the 28-year-old Arlington pastor who was killed in his church last week during a robbery.
The funeral service was been billed as a celebration of Dobson’s life. Although their hearts are broken, those who knew Dobson tried to put aside the horrible way that the pastor died, and instead concentrate on the way that he lived.
“Clint Dobson’s life was lived well,” said friend and Rev. Jeff Waldo. “He loved people and he loved God.”
At a packed and emotional service on Sunday morning, just three days after Dobson was found murdered inside NorthPointe Baptist Church, the young pastor was remembered fondly as a person who loved God and lived a life full of passion and principle.
On Wednesday, more than 1,500 people filled the church to say goodbye to the pastor whose life and death left an impact on the community.
“We’re not going to talk about why, because why is too hard,” said his father-in-law Dr. Phillip Rozeman.
“We don’t ask for answers because even if we have them our hearts would still ache in our chest,” added friend and Truett seminary professor Dr. Robert Creech.
As the congregation and Dobson’s family try to make sense of the tragic crime that took him from them, they remembered him with fond words and loving stories. They recounted his quirky character and playful personality. But above all, they remembered him for his love – first for God, and then for his wife Laura.
“Our little girl was in the arms of a man who would protect her, love her, honor her for the rest of her life,” Rozeman said of the romance Dobson and wife Laura shared. “We thought the story was done, but life changed.”
NorthPointe Baptist Church is a satellite church of First Baptist Church of Arlington. Associate pastor Terry Bertrand and other church leaders have encouraged the congregation to rely on faith during these times. Bertrand even spoke of compassion for the 24-year-old man charged with Dobson’s murder.
“I have prayed for his family, because I know it’s a difficult time for them,” he said. “Just as we’re going through a difficult time, this is a difficult time for his family as well.”
The suspect in this case is career criminal Steven Lawayne Nelson. Nelson, 24, and Anthony Gregory Springs, 19, have each been charged with capital murder, which carries the death penalty.
Police were able to track a missing car to an apartment complex about a half-mile away from the church. That car – a Mitsubishi Galant – belonged to church assistant Judy Elliot. She was badly beaten during the robbery and she remains hospitalized in stable condition.
Following the celebration of Dobson’s life, the 28-year-old pastor will be buried in a private service later Wednesday. The church has posted additional information on their website for church members or community members who continue to mourn Dobson’s untimely death.
“The last year of Clint’s life was the happiest I’d ever seen Clint,” said Daniel Goodman, Dobson’s friend since elementary school.