Robert Murray (Bob) Lucas, Jr., 81, or Athens, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, with his wife of 52 years, Marsha, at his side, thus ending a life rich in love, deep and abiding faith, and service to his Lord.
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Born on March 3, 1938, in Swissvale, Penn., he was a son of the late Ruth Hill and Robert Lucas, Sr. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Leslie David (Les) Lucas. He was a graduate of Swissvale High School where he played baseball and was president of the student council.
He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1956, serving as a radio operator in Alaska and Tampa, Fla.
Upon being discharged, Bob enrolled in Maryville College, graduating in 1968 with a degree in Bible and Christian Education. While a student, he played trombone in the school’s marching band, The Highlanders. The most important event of his college career was meeting his future wife, Marsha Burkart. The couple married on June 10, 1967, and raised three wonderful children, Jon, Sean and Dawn.
Bob worked as an adjuster with Liberty Mutual Insurance until his call to the ministry led him to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1974 with a Master of Theology degree.
His service to his Lord began with his duties as a chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, with the United States Army from 1975 to 1977. With more than 28 years in the ministry of Jesus Christ, Bob served Presbyterian churches in Pennsylvania, Florida and Tennessee, including serving as pastor of Mars Hill Presbyterian Church in Athens from 1994 to 2000, where he returned after his retirement and was well-loved until his death. After his retirement in 2002, Bob served as interim pastor and pulpit supply in several churches throughout East Tennessee, including First Presbyterian Church in Etowah.
Bob loved music of all kinds and wrote a book of music which includes the hymn, “God Raised Him from the Dead.” He also wrote a hymn to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Mars Hill. He also enjoyed cheering for his Pittsburgh Steelers, dining out with family and friends, the Mars Hill choir and discussing theology and God’s graciousness.
His cheerful and content nature led him to membership in the Athens Optimist Club. Known as a good listener and compassionate pastor, Bob cultivated many friendships throughout each community in which he lived.
More than anything else in his life, Bob loved being “GrandBob” and “BobBob” to his five grandchildren and visited with them as often as possible.
Survivors in addition to his wife, Marsha, include their three children and spouses, Dawn Michelle Lucas and her husband Sean of Loganvill, GA, Jonathan Robert Lucas and his wife Shayla of Longwood, Fla., Sean Richard Lucas of Cape Coral, Fla.; grandchildren Emma Grace Lucas, Trinity Faith Lucas, Kylie Marie Lucas, Tyler Jesse Simmons and Austin Lucas Simmons; one brother and sister-in-law, Kenneth Lucas and his wife; sister-in-law, Carol Beth Godwin and her husband Mike; several nieces and nephews and many other relatives and friends, including his church families.
A memorial service will be conducted, 1:00pm, Friday, January 3, 2020 at Mars Hill Presbyterian Church with Dr. Crawford (Ford) King officiating. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall of the church following the service.
The family suggests memorials may be made to Mars Hill Presbyterian Church; 205 N. Jackson St.; Athens, TN 37303.