On Tuesday, April 19th, 2022, Dede Robertson went home to be with the Lord.
A hush fell over Regent’s campus on Monday, April 25, as classes were canceled and loved ones came together to remember the life of Christian leader Dede Robertson.
Regent University honored her legacy with a Celebration of Life ceremony. Filling the Regent Chapel, Theater, and Communication Plaza, students, staff, friends, and family joined together in honoring this great woman. She was a wife, a mother, and a founding member of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Many tears were shed on the sunny Monday afternoon during the Celebration of Life for Dede Robertson. Tears of sadness and sorrow, but also tears of joy and remembrance. She was beloved by many.
Dede’s casket lay peacefully at the front of Shaw Chapel. The top was adorned with many beautiful flowers woven together like the blankets she would knit so intricately.
The service began with an emotional welcome as the Virginia Symphony began the celebration with a touching instrumental prelude. Everyone watched in bittersweet admiration as a video about Dede was displayed on the screen. Showcasing her work, her time as a beauty queen, her early years with Pat as their love began to blossom, their time together as a family, the strength she exhibited during his political campaign, and the beautiful life they lived woven together with a deep love for Christ and for serving others, the tribute left the audience smiling at the precious moments.
Tears trickled down the faces of many guests; they laughed at her fun and witty antics and cried over the loss of a dear friend. The eldest Robertson son, Tim Robertson, welcomed the guests and prayed over the service. The celebration included worship as hundreds of guests sang out the words to a precious hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, and listened to scripture passages read by Dede and Pat’s grandchildren.
Laura Kraus gave an emotional tribute as she spoke of her beloved grandmother. Her eyes sparkled as she recounted memories of Dede, their time and travels together, and Dede’s deep love and admiration for her grandchildren.
Dede’s dear friend Marie Umidi gave an elegant eulogy. She sang with joy and remembered with adoration her true friend who hosted their weekly Bible study, where the women came together to praise Jesus, learn God’s word, and grow in a Christlike manner. Aspiring to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, these ladies built each other up and sought to encourage their individual walks with the Lord. Marie displayed deep condolences as she shared precious memories with Dede, from time spent together at the Robertson’s mountain house to days in the sun shopping and having tea parties with the ladies’ Bible study.
All four children gave deeply moving speeches about their mother. It was obvious to everyone listening that her children were enamored by her love for them, her beauty, and her heart of gold. Tim Robertson displayed intricate blankets Dede continued to knit for the great-grandbabies, even with a paralyzed right hand. From shopping for fabric and trinkets to spilling a jar of tadpoles in the back of Pat Robertson’s new car, the children recounted such memories as precious treasures they would hold in their hearts forever. She knitted blankets for the great-grandchildren, had tea parties with the grandchildren, and made clothes for each of her children. She adored being a mother.
The children also talked about memories of her sitting in a chair with the sun shining down behind her, and they thought about how truly beautiful she was. They recalled her love for Easter, her delicious cooking, and a peculiar yellow teacup she always held close. Through their stories and memories, it was plain to see that Dede Robertson was nothing short of extraordinary.
The Regent University singers let their voices ring out in an angelic choir as they sang Great is Thy Faithfulness before Pastor Dan Backens spoke. He encouraged the audience to look to Dede as a role model. She was a strong and devout Christian. She ran the race. She fought the good fight.
Although we are saddened that the world lost such a beautiful soul, we are joyful that Dede is now with the Lord, healthy in a heavenly body. She suffered for many years due to health issues and a stroke that paralyzed her right side. Our hearts are overjoyed that she can now sing, laugh, and dance, praising Jesus for all of eternity.
Governor McDonnell and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears presented a flag that was flown over the capitol to Pat Robertson as a gift of honor.
The celebration concluded with the sun shining down on the Shaw Chapel, the Regent Singers’ voices ringing out, and relatives as honorary pallbearers walking her out of the chapel one last time. It was time to say goodbye for now and to celebrate a life that was lived so beautifully.
She was a vision of grace and an exceptional role model to women worldwide. She was truly a Christian leader who changed the world. Although she has gone home to be with the Lord after a life so fully lived, her legacy will remain on Regent’s campus forever. From her vision of designing the Swan Terrace to the elegant chandeliers hanging in the communications lobby, her fingerprints are evident all over this campus and her work will be intertwined into the lives of many for years to come.
The campus was not only blessed by God with a beautiful day to celebrate Dede Robertson’s Christ-centered life but also by the vision, skills, and abilities he gave to Dede and the heart she used to serve those around her, leaving a legacy like no other.