Today is no ordinary day. Rather, it is one of deep reflection and appreciation for one extraordinary man; the greatest man that I have ever known since my own father. This man, John Shore, so very dear to my heart, has now moved on to glory. As I look up to heaven in profound appreciation for this one who helped me in countless ways and loved me as a son, may you also join with me in thanking our Great God, who gave to so many through this precious gift embodied in the man of John Shore.
So, so many indelible memories come now to mind of special moments shared along the way. As FCA national director, John became the most applauded Christian worker in the city as thousands of people stood to their feet in honorary recognition of him during a KC Chief’s game. I had the privilege and joy of writing a description of John which was then displayed on the scoreboard. The celebration that followed showed tremendous love for one amazing man!
I found myself writing John many poems of gratitude and of our special friendship over many years. This friendship was truly a rare and precious gift. He became involved in my business at a critical time and did whatever he could to keep it afloat. And when I encountered family struggles and traumatic health issues, he was consistently and continually by my side extending kindness, even as his own body and mind grew weak. Such a friend is truly a gift from above, indeed, a rare and very precious gift!
In reflecting upon John and his legacy, I am also keenly aware and appreciative of my dear marvelous comrades who also received John’s love and gave back to him the same. You all have the best hearts and as we celebrate this week in the first corner of the Hope Room of the Yellow House, HOPE UNSEEN, may we all come together at John’s funeral/celebration of life as he would have wanted. He touched each of us in a special way so in his honor, let’s come together, reuniting in joyful love and appreciation, one to another, on John’s day!
So many, many lives have been touched by this one gentle giant of a man. We are each made better for knowing him and are today reminded of his profound impact in so many ways. Today, I bring these to mind: Juan Swart, Bruch Burchfield, Francis Low, Mike and Diane Bickle, Paul Coffman, Bobby Bell, Rosie Grier, Bill McCartney, coach of Colorado football team and founder of Promise Keepers. James Ryle, president of Promise Keepers. John and I attended and served at the beginning of Promise Keepers events along with Rosie and others. May all Promise Keepers remember his loving care. The FCA National Organization that John left his career at Shore Tire to give his life so that the coaches and athletes would have the opportunity to know the love of Jesus. The Kansas City board that I served with, meeting weekly to help FCA be the best, and we all remember Lizzy Lou. :)
Kansas City Christian Fellowship and the AKA metro Christian Fellowship and AKA International House of Prayer. John was the key businessman with a suit that offered us a deal that we couldn’t refuse, losing significant money to gain the pleasure of providing Mike and the Young Ones to thrive in our city. May we always remember him by name in our history. John believed in legacy – he bought the miracle sports complex so that it might be a huge place where youth could gather and play soccer and ice hockey. He then decided to sell it to Metro Christian Fellowship, where youth gathered from all over the nation (which the famous Bob Hartley led 😉) - He didn’t consider making a profit – it was all to be a caring place for the youth to come and know the love of Jesus. Mike and the metro Christian fellowship owned the building for a number of years, then sold it to another church. John secretly came to me and said that The Lord showed him that Mike and the church were to have that building back. He asked me to be like father like son, and to purchase it and make it available for Mike and the international house of prayer. He was always looking out for people with a long term, caring perspective. Well, it happened as he thought it would, and when it came up for sale, I was more than happy to buy it for the House of Prayer’s use. He was very pleased and I so enjoyed being a living part of his legacy. May John always be remembered and celebrated in our history. Mike, you were great to him!
Then there is my family, who received a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts faithfully delivered to our porch from John every Saturday morning for over 10 years! And we would all fight over the cream filled Long Johns! That was an incredible commitment never to be forgotten!
There are many more like Wendell Anshutz, the face of NBC news for many years, partnering and communicating honor and hope to our city for many years. And others like Charle’s Friday morning bible study, Joe Balentine, Chris and Holden Castanza, Jeremiah Gim, Bob and Lauren Fraser, JJ Wang, Jimmy and Billy Hartley, Chase Coffman, Mark Ellis, Jeremy Affeldt, Todd Blackledge, Jed Hartley, AmyAnn Cadwell, Taylor Hartley-Logan, Bethany Hartley, Terry Hartley, Pastor Q, Jimmy Yoon, John Lee, and all of our Korean Friends. Mark Hendrickson, Mitch Wheeler, Tim York, Michael Hagerty, FCA bible study with Mitch Wheeler’s crew, Bernie Zarda, Mark Taylor, Chuck Chambers, Joe VanHeerdan, Luke Hendrickson, Nanette and Kent Wooten, Kevin Mangold, Dan Falls, and all of those from Hartley Institute, Deeper Waters Ministry, the Hartley Group and Joseph Company alumni and Deeper Waters Board, including Mark and Ate Sherwood, Sai and Amanaki Sherwood, John and Sharne Roache, Danny and Julie Han and their church.
And those from Blue Springs theater, especially Brett and Janette Miller and Mayor Carson Ross, our best friend in Blue Springs! And Pete, past NBC anchor who recorded our videos promoting the theater and helping us be named #1 theater in Blue Springs. Jim and Lorrie Baker who helped me do such special events and TV shows that were filled with Hope. God brought such tender, lifesaving words!
And to all the Hope Heros that were coronated at our Hope Hero events in Kansas City that John led for years because of his passion to salute those great and small that brought their own unique hope to our city. Yearly, we witnessed those once “forgotten ones”, now applauded and forgotten no more! There is not another that I have known to touch so many and so deeply. His unsurpassed kindness was released everywhere he went and so sweetly as when he visited an elderly nun in her eighties every Saturday with her favorite pie in hand. Especially in the culture of today, such acts of kindness are beautiful and rare. And John intentionally chose to never be offended as it would rob him of his ability to understand as well as his love for people.
Through tears this morning, I commit myself to live such an exemplary life as did my very dear friend and I pray that you would also hold such a desire in your own hearts. I will be sharing John Shore Hope Stories that will inspire and transform us all as we go through this “Hope Spring Season” together. Please share them so that we can extend this hope beyond ourselves which is so very needed in today's world!
In closing, I send all my love to John’s family … his wife, a great woman, Mary Lea, their children Lance and Debbie who tenderly cared for him through this last very difficult season, and to Rodney, noble son-in-law. I am so proud of you all!
And lastly, to all of us who have been so blessed to have known this great man of God, please consider a generous donation to Mary Lea in John’s memory. One motto that John lived by was “You can’t outgive God!”. This is a perfect time to prove this by asking the Holy Spirit how to bless this family in their need. I know of the family’s financial struggles over the past 10 years because in essence, like Mary Lea and John have said, they “gave it all away”. Now is our opportunity to give back to them. Please, let’s rally from the heart as a company of people that rarely have beheld such a man who represented Jesus so well and so uniquely united us all as ONE! We are a group that gets to demonstrate that “Love is bigger in our city!”. And I, Bob Hartley, stand committed to this and to each one in this group! As one united whole, we were, we are and forever will be, BETTER TOGETHER!
I love you all so much!