Founder of Arlington church dies of West Nile Virus

Members of an Arlington Church held their first Sunday service since losing their founding pastor to West Nile Virus.

82-year-old Richard Lord founded Rush Creek Christian Church in 1978. He passed away, July 16th.

Lord leaves behind his wife, 7 children and step-children, 11 grandkids and an entire congregation he helped build and shepherd.

Church members say his memory and mission will live on as they continue the legacy he left behind.

“He’s a part of us, always will be,” said Linda Johnston.

Johnson has been a member of Rush Creek Christian Church for two decades. She says Pastor Lord is part of what kept her coming back for years.

“He was just really a nice person. He listened to you, he spoke to you. He wasn't real forceful, he's just
‘Hi, how are you? Good to see you.’” she said.

After founding the church, Lord could often be seen doing tasks around to help out. Nothing was too big or small for him to take care of.

“Most churches don't just spring up with lots of money and everything. He for many years mowed the lawns. He would do the little things,” said Johnson.

After retiring in 2006, Lord helped choose Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilson as his successor, but even in retirement, Lord was a constant presence at church, acting as a mentor and familiar face in the pews.

“He always was looking to the other person, how could I best serve that person, care for that person, and allow God's love to be present for that person,” said Pastor Wilson.

Lord is the first person in Tarrant County to die of West Nile Virus in 2017. His family says he was fine until he started to feel ill around July 4th.

“Two and a half weeks ago, he was at church with us, having conversation, leading a normal 82-year-old life. A few days later, he's in the hospital and in a very tragic life-threatening situation,” said Pastor Wilson.

Even though they’ll no longer see that familiar face ever week, church members say he’s still there.

“I will look for him, we all will. But we'll see his spirit,” said Johnson.