Family, friends, pastors, and congregants came together on Saturday, February 12th, 2022, to honor the memory of “Ricky Allen Hubbard”. Memory of his love, joy and works was revered by the people of both Christ Fellowship Church and Family Church Gardens.
Pastor Tom Mullins opened in prayer followed by worship leader and pastor, James Duvall leading of traditional hymns. Pastor Bernie Cueto of Family Church Gardens, spoke briefly and lead us in prayer. Pastor Aaron Philippone gave the message.
Rick was the eldest of three children and came to South Florida from the small town of Grant Michigan where he grew up on a dairy farm, attended Michigan State University and married his wife, Kate in 1974. They had two children together.
Kathy Hubbard Helm, Rick’s only sister, spoke first. “Rick always tried to encourage me: Be your best! Love God! Take as many people to heaven as you can!” Born to a farming family in Michigan, Rick always enjoyed learning. “He was kind and always tried to see the best in people. He knew we had flaws, but he didn’t talk about it,” Kathy shared.
Kathy shared, “Rick often said that people will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel. Rick had the gift to make you feel better and to be encouraged.”
Kathy and her husband, Mark live in Marion, IN where Mark pastors a Methodist church.
Rick’s only brother, Michael, who pastors an interdenominational church, shared how Rick was a mentor to him both by the way Rick lived his life and by his knowledge of Scripture and theology. He recounted many of the things that his tenderhearted brother did, often at a cost to his own well being.
By word and deed, Rick was the spiritual leader of the family, his spiritual hunger pouring over to the rest of the family. Michael said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled…and Rick was filled.”
Rick’s eldest granddaughter, Gabrielle Hubbard, spoke next, sharing from the abundance of memories of her beloved Papa. She recounted a trip to the indoor amusement park, Wanna Do City, where kids got to experience real life professions, scaled to their size. Rick took her to a child-sized operating room where she got to “practice surgery”. He later helped Gabby with admissions to a nursing program and bought her her first stethoscope. Gabby is now a junior studying nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and she attributes her pursuit of her medical studies to her beloved Papa.
Gabby said, “My Grandpa always had an open door for me and my siblings, a listening ear. His love ran deep, and he made sure he reminded me of that. He had a way of making people feel important and welcomed.”
Pastor Tom Mullins spoke next, opening with, “Rick was a Barnabas to me.” Pastor Tom read from Acts 11, commenting, “The one thing you couldn’t miss being around Rick was that he would encourage you, if nothing else, than with his smile.”
Rick was full of the Spirit of God. The joy of the Lord was his strength, and out of that joy came a spirit of encouragement. Pastor Tom said that we cannot even begin to imagine the generational impact or count the number of lives that have been transformed because of the Love of God that Rick shared.
Pastor Tom said, “I’m a better man because of Rick Hubbard. I want to smile more because of Rick Hubbard. I want to bring more joy because of Rick Hubbard. I want to become a better person of encouragement of others because Rick Hubbard. I want to have a deeper faith and a closer walk with God because of Rick Hubbard. And I want to impact lives for eternity with greater intensity because of Rick Hubbard.”
Pastor Aaron Philippone of Family Church Gardens followed Pastor Tom, opening with the acknowledgement, “I love Christ Fellowship, but there is someone who loves Christ Fellowship even more. His name is Rick Hubbard. And I know that, because he would tell me about that. All the time.” Laughter erupted.
Pastor Aaron said he would never take offense to all of Rick’s comparisons because “in Rick, there was never any guile. He was always for me, no matter what.”
Rick was an eternal optimist. An encourager. “Rick was a friend. And he taught me how to be a friend.”
When Pastor Aaron was working on his doctoral degree, at one point he was overwhelmed with pastoring a church, raising children, coaching football, and trying to finish his doctoral program. When he was about to drop out of the doctoral program, Pastor Aaron shared, “Rick made it his personal ambition to help me finish my education.” Rick constantly put aside his own goals, his own personal ambitions and desires to elevate everyone around him and help them succeed.
Rick and his wife Kate were dedicated to building up the local church. Quoting from 1 Corinthians 3 Pastor Aaron shared that although there is nothing better than seeing the spiritual eyes of a new believer light up for the first time, churches also need mature believers. “As a pastor, when you’re trying to build a new church, it’s really a tremendous blessing when God sends you mature believers. And God sent us Rick and Kate. For a season, it was so special to have mature believers who were committed to the local church, committed to the mission of God, committed to giving, committed to serving. I needed Rick and Kate in my life at that season. When they came to Family Church, they had much more than a foundation in Christ. They had decades of ministry experience.”
Continuing to quote from 1 Corinthians 3, “If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble…The Apostle Paul knew that what we do in this life matters in eternity. It echoes in eternity. Rick lived his life in such a way that he knew what he was investing in. He wasn’t investing in wood, hay and straw. He was investing in gold and silver and precious stones. Every time he would lead a kid to Christ, that was gold and silver and precious stones. He lived his life investing in other people.”
Pastor Aaron spoke of the myriad of random text messages he received from Rick and shared a selection of them. “Rick loved to text me. A lot. His kindness towards me was over the top, extravagant.”
P. Aaron: Hey Rick…How are things going?
Rick: Doing great. We shall behold Him, face to face, in all His glory. What a blessed hope.
May 28, 2020
Rick: Pastor, I’ve been studying a lot of commentaries on eschatology. I just finished a commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Rick: I planted a garden during social distancing: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant. I should have some produce in a few months that I can share with you. I need to give you something to eat other than dessert.
Rick: I made you more dessert. Caramel corn with cranberries, pecans, ginger and caramel. I’ll make you more for the next time we’re together. Unless it’s at the rapture.
Rick: My mother will probably go home today. We’re rejoicing because all of her life she’s wanted to serve Jesus and soon she’ll see Him face to face.
Rick: Mom passed this afternoon.
Rick: I’m really grieving for my mother today.
Dr. Aaron Philippone to us: “He’s not grieving today.”
Ricky Allen Hubbard, April 28, 1952 to January 25, 2022
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3