Hundreds of Mourners Gather to Remember Henry Rehder, Sr.


More than five hundred

mourners pack
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
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.

founder of the Azalea Festiva
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
an hour early to get a seat. Speakers remember
the third-generation florist, former Merchant Marine and lover of the Azalea

Even after the service end

, the flow of wonderful memories continue

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
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,