On May 8, 2014, my dear friend and the co-founder of Gospel Justice Initiative, John D. Robb, lost his wife Peggy after 68 years of marriage. Peggy was a demur figure next to John’s towering stature. She was gentle, artistic and the peacemaker to John’s strong, strident, trial lawyer. They were a perfect pair – each drawing strength from one another as they learned to lean on Jesus. Anyone who knows John will associate him with justice. John was a lead figure in the fight for justice for all in America in the late 60’s and early 70’s and continues that work today. He is highlighted in the recent definitive history of legal aid in America written by Judge Earl Johnson, entitled To Establish Justice for All.
But as John fought for justice, Peggy understood justice. Justice is about restoring what is broken. Justice is about shalom – a deep peace based on restoration. Peggy was an artist with a passion for painting. She showed her work in 18 national and international juried art exhibitions, including Paris and China. Her bright works reflected her bright heart. As she said, “These works are intended to evoke a joy and spiritual uplift in the viewer.” They did. I was blessed to have her show me many of her works which still may be found in the Robb home. Peggy was a peacemaker. She had a gentle soul with an artistic flare. While I knew her for at least ten years, most of those she suffered from dementia or alzheimers. While she became confused she never wavered in her love for Jesus or for John – and in that order. She always loved seeing her six children, twenty grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Peace and Justice go together, just like Peggy and John. Both are hallmarks of Christ Kingdom. “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Isa. 9:7. I can envision Peggy peacefully painting the landscapes of heaven. I am grateful for the example of love Peggy and John had for one another. When Peggy had to move into an assisted care facility and eventually into hospice, John went with her. Love does. Love does all that is required. In an age of disposable love, it is encouraging to see a love that perseveres through good and bad, for better and for worse, over 68 years.
I am sorry I missed Peggy’s funeral. John wanted to honor Jesus and the family. Both happened so John was uncharacteristically quiet. One of John’s law partner’s accepted Christ. What a testimony to a life lived well for Jesus and for others. Our initial board pictured here with John, met on the day of the funeral as we prayed for our dear friend. We continue to pray as he misses the love of his life even as we rejoice with him in her homecoming after 68 years of marriage. 68 years! We would have much more peace and justice in this world if we could learn from Peggy Robb the secret of the faithful love she knew so well. That secret was in finding ‘joy and spiritual uplift’ in every situation. What a powerful legacy. What a great example to follow as we seek to go and do likewise.