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Robert Huber, longtime pastor, dies of cancer

July 6, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

Pastor Robert Huber

Pastor Robert C. “Bob” Huber, the beloved minister at North Street Christian Church in Butler for four decades, died Saturday at UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh. He was 66.

Huber — affectionately known as “Pastor Bob” or “PB” by congregants — had been battling stage 4 lymphoma since last fall.

Even while suffering with the illness, he continued to inspire his congregation with a regular “Word of Encouragement” that was posted on the church's Facebook page.

“Pastor Bob has passed on to be with his LORD n SAVIOR that he loved and served most of his life,” according to a post on the same Facebook page Saturday.

He is survived by his wife, Kathi, and their three adopted children. The couple was married for 47 years, and together they fostered about 30 children.

Huber initially was diagnosed with nonspecific cancer in September. The following month, he learned he had anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a rare type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

During his treatment he received chemotherapy. He subsequently was advised that he needed a stem cell, or bone marrow, transplant.

Huber's cancer coupled with the coronavirus pandemic affected his church duties. He was at the pulpit March 22 when services began livestreaming on YouTube in the wake of COVID-19.

Pastor Jake Klutinoty eventually began filling in on Sundays.

When Huber started his fight against cancer, his family in a show of togetherness crafted and wore T-shirts of lime green — the signature color for lymphoma — with the words: Team Huber. God is Bigger.”

Church members and friends also rallied around Huber and his family. On April 26, they organized and participated in a surprise vehicle parade past his home in Oakland Township.

A stream of at least 50 vehicles honked their horns and waved banners and signs as a show of love for the pastor at North Street Christian Church for 41 years.

Accompanied by family, Huber watched from a vehicle parked outside his home.

“That's what the love of the Lord does: it makes people family,” he said following the parade, as he choked back tears.

That day, he also shared thoughts about his faith in light of his illness.

“The Word tells us to be strong and courageous,” he said. “We should be that way in the best of times and that way in the worst of times.”

He vowed to press forward and fight the cancer to the end.

“I decided a long time ago I'm not going to look back, Christ showed us how to live, and he showed us how to die. I'm not planning on checking out just yet, but you never know.

“When I first got cancer, I told our church, I said, 'I win either way. Either I don't make it and I go to glory, or I beat it for a while and then go to glory.'”

Thompson-Miller Funeral Home in Butler is handling funeral arrangements, which were incomplete Sunday.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Grew up in upstate New York. Earned my Journalism degree in 1983 from the University of Texas at Austin. Worked for two newspapers in Fayette County (Pa.) before starting at the Butler Eagle in 1998.