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Henry Pope Mobley Jr. dies at 89

Oct 28, 2006
Henry Pope Mobley Jr., beloved Presbyterian pastor, preacher, church statesman, Seminary advocate and friend, died Friday evening, October 27, 2006, in Spanish Fort, Ala. He was 89 years old.

Henry Mobley was born in Clarksdale, Miss. He graduated from Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern in Memphis) in 1939 and from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1942 (MDiv). Later, in 1959, Rhodes College honored him with the Doctor of Divinity.

After ordination by the Greenbrier Presbytery in 1942, he served two years as the associate pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg, W.Va. He received flight training during World War II and was transferred to the chaplain’s corps to serve from 1944-1946.

At the conclusion of WWII, Mobley served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tenn., Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill, S.C., and Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky., where he was pastor for almost 23 years before his retirement in 1981. Known for his unique sense of humor, personal warmth, and a caring, loving style of ministry, Mobley’s preaching and teaching were widely regarded for their high quality and biblical insight. Throughout his retirement he provided healing leadership as interim pastor to sixteen congregations across the United States from South Carolina to Montana, to San Diego, Calif., to New Orleans, Memphis, Vicksburg, and his final interim post at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Louisville.

Throughout his ministry, he served on several of the General Assembly committees for the Presbyterian Church in the United States and as an associate editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, in which many of his sermons and articles have been published. In addition to serving on the boards of Queens College and Centre College, Mobley devoted 32 years of service on the Board of Trustees for Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1960-1992), and served on the search committees to call two of the school’s presidents: Dr. C. Ellis Nelson and Dr. John M. Mulder. In recognition of service and commitment to the mission of Louisville Seminary, Mobley became an honorary-life board member and received the 1991 Distinguished Alum Award.

In 1994, the family and friends of Dr. Mobley established the Henry P. Mobley Professorship in Doctrinal Theology for his long, distinguished ministry in the Presbyterian Church. The intent of the professorship states, "The faculty member in the Mobley Chair shares with others the responsibility for teaching students the character of Christian Theology—its doctrine and its development. Through the Mobley Professorship, students will learn to think as Christians and to help others see what it means to walk with Christ." Since its establishment, the professorship has been held by renowned Reformed theologian Dr. Amy Plantinga Pauw.

“Younger leaders looked up to him as a mentor. For many in both church and community, Henry Mobley was an ambassador of Christian joy,” said Louisville Seminary President Dean K. Thompson, president of Louisville Seminary.

Mobley told fascinating stories, particularly about Louisville Seminary, which endeared him as Louisville Seminary’s institutional memory. He once said that as a college student, he “resented and struggled against the feeling that God was calling me to the Christian Ministry. During my senior year in college, I gave up, so to speak, and ‘gave in’ to what I have always considered ‘my call.’” He said that after he matriculated at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, “my life began again. A whole new world of intellect and spirit opened.”

Mobley is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anne Floyd Mobley, whom he met during his field education assignment as a Seminary student. He is also survived by two sons, Henry P. Mobley III and Harry Lee T. Mobley, and one daughter, Irene Cortland Lewis, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Nov. 6, at Highland Presbyterian, 1101 Cherokee Road. Mobley will be cremated, and a private burial will be held in the Lela N. Rhodes Memorial Garden at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Arrangements are by Wolfe-Bayview Funeral Homes and Crematory in Daphne, Ala.

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