Hundreds of Mourners Gather to Remember Henry Rehder, Sr.

 

More than five hundred

mourners pack
ed
St. Paul's Lutheran Church to pay tribute to one of Wilmington's most-loved residents.

Henry Rehder was remembered not only as a founder of the city's favorite spring celebration, but also as a family man and community leader.

"He was a Sunday school teacher,

served on the council and was a true inspiration for anybody who knew him
," said Nicky Grubbs, who grew up with Mr. Rehder
.
"
He was a good Christian man
--
a
good Christian
person who could leave a legacy for people to follow."

With his flowers and with his charm, Henry Rehder made this city a beautiful place.

The
founder of the Azalea Festiva
l
died on Monday at the age of ninety-two.

At the service, i

t was obvious how many lives he touched
, as m
ourners arrive
d
an hour early to get a seat. Speakers remember
ed
the third-generation florist, former Merchant Marine and lover of the Azalea
F
estival.

Even after the service end

ed
, the flow of wonderful memories continue
d
.

Haddon Allen and his father, Walser, lived next door to Mr. Rehder for more than twenty-five years.

"I was his paper boy for five years and he always got up early in the morning and watched the sunrise

," Haddon Allen said
.
"
I brought his paper before I brought any other customer's
, and h
e always greeted me with a smile--just the nicest man I've ever known."

Hamilton Hicks, former Mayor of Wilmington, said Rehder was a true southern gentleman.

"Yesterday was rainy and cold--the clouds were crying

. T
ears were being shed for Henry
," Hicks said."
Today, it's bright and sunshine
-
y
,
and the flowers are ready to bloom and we're here to celebrate his life."

Friends who gathered here say Mr

.
Rehder will be missed every day, and he will be remembered especially each spring when the azaleas are in bloom.

Reported by Sara Straeten, sstraeten@wect.com