Beloved radio broadcaster Rich Buhler passes to his reward

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He pioneered the spiritual talk format, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2010

Rich Buhler

By Dan Wooding

Southern California’s most beloved Christian broadcaster, Rich Buhler, died in an Orange County, California, hospital Monday evening, according to his son Keith. He was 65.

“Beloved friends and family, Rich is now face to face with Jesus. Last night (May 7th) at 10:30 p.m., in the hospital, our daddy completed his life’s course and enters now into the rest of our Lord,” Keith said.

A public memorial service  is planned for May 19 at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim.

His death follows a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Recently, he had grown weaker and weaker.

In his last interview before he passed away, Rich told me, “For the past several weeks I’ve been battling one thing after another, mostly infections. I started on a new chemo regimen in February and that was pretty brutal. It took a lot of my energy away. Then I have been hospitalized three times in the past two months.”

Buhler was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2010. He hosted his pioneering show “Talk From the Heart” on KBRT/740 AM in Costa Mesa, but did his final show Sept. 16, 2011, so he could focus on his continuing health issues, according to the Orange County Register.

His daughter Karin posted last weekend on www.CaringBridge.org that “the oncologist told Dad that he didn’t recommend doing another round of chemo.

“We had a really special family time with Dad on Friday night (May 4), and then yesterday (Saturday) he went on morphine for the first time to help with abdominal pain.”

Karin said that on Sunday “my sisters and I brought all of the grand-kids to visit Grandpa and that has been a special time. Even though Dad has been sleeping most of the day, he was able to wake for a few minutes to say ‘hi’ to the grand-kids which was wonderful.”

Buhler was an ordained minister, pilot, and had a 40-years-plus career in broadcasting. He lived in Anaheim Hills, California, with his wife Dianne whom he loved to call “Lady Di”.

Buhler and his wife’s combined family included 10 children and 12 grandchildren.

Rich got started on the air at the age of 17 for a local FM station and after graduating from college was ‘salivating’ with the opportunity to get into news. He was part of the embryonic days of all-news at KFWB and later originated the design of a system in which stories were written in triplicate to streamline the rewriting process, according to the Orange County Register.

He had a powerful spiritual renewal in the mid-1970s that changed his direction to a career in ministry.

After Buhler became an ordained minister, in 1980 he was asked to help put together a competitive news department for Christian formatted KBRT.” Later, he proposed a commercially aggressive, drive-time talk show and brought ‘Talk From the Heart’ on the air. It is credited with having introduced a new era in Christian Talk radio.

His daughter, Karise Buhler Buell, posted on Facebook, “Photo that I took of my dad speaking at the Anaheim Vineyard in Aug, 2010, the month after his cancer diagnosis. I love this picture; it sums up so much of what my dad was all about. I love you so much, daddy and already miss you, and can’t wait till we see you and laugh with you again.”

Shortly after Buhler was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his friends put on a “Life Celebration” at the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California, which took place on October 28, 2010.

Among those who took part were Barry McGuire, Pat and Shirley Boone, Warren Duffy, Tim Berends, Hermano Pablo, myself, and Ralph Carmichael. Also sending in written or spoken tributes were Jim and Shirley Dobson, Cliff Barrows, Franklin Graham and Los Angeles radio-TV personality Stephanie Edwards.

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry to hear about Cotton. Fond memories at Biola and watching him launch a most productive career and following him over the years. God’s hand on his family.

  2. I have been listening to Rich Buhler for many years. I was deeply sadden over the lost of our beloved christian brother Rich Buhler May 7, 2012. He has been a joy to have in my life and I am sure he has shine on many other individuals life. I will miss Rich contagious laugher that warmed my heart and soul daily. I also, loved the way he mentioned how much he loved his wife Lady Dainne. I am sure his family, friends, and radio listeners will miss him a lot. May he rest in the arms of our loving God. God bless and keep his family focus on you.

  3. Rich was an amazing guy, and always positive. You hadn’t lived until you were the recipient of one of his bearhugs. I was blessed to be asked to succeed Rich as the host of KBBI-FM’s “Saturday Signpost” program in 1967.

  4. I will miss Rich Buhler, his joy and wisdom. Not a Monday afternoon goes by that I don’t wish I could listen to Rich and hear him talk to the General.

  5. RICH AND I MET IN 1968 AS WE WERE CO-BROADCASTERS AT KBBI. TO SAY THAT I WILL MISS HIS BEAR HUGS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. HIS MINISTRY EFFECTED SO MANY. ONE PLEASURE THAT AWAITS THOSE WHO KNEW RICH IS OUR REUNION IN HEAVEN, WHERE WE WILL ENJOY HIS LAUGHS AND BEAR HUGS.

  6. Goodby cotton, i know JESUS welcomed you with open
    Arms….no more pain!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!

  7. OH MY MY YOU HAVE BEEN ON MY HEART… I STARTED MY SEARCH JUST MINUTES AGO FROM IOWA. HOW SAD SAD SAD TO FIND YOU HAVE PASSED ON. THANK YOU RICH. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU BLESSED ME –> TO THE VERY CORE OF MY BEING, WHEN I LIVED IN CALIFORNIA. IN 1982 YOU WERE THERE FOR ME AND ON FOR SO MANY YEARS FOLLOWING. GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY AS YOUR MANTLE FALLS ON THEM. BLESS YOU MAN WITH HEART! ~GEORGE

  8. I am sorry to say I just heard of Rich’s passing. Although I never met him personally, I loved his Talk from the Heart program and listened to it daily in its first years. Rich was given an unusual amount of godly wisdom which he gave away easily to his radio audience and he also had an amazing amount of spiritual insights into Christian living. I will forward to seeing him in heaven!!

  9. For some reason, I thought I would look up Rich online today, April 14, 2014. I had no idea that he had been ill and passed away two years ago. I listened to him every morning after the birth of my son in 1984. He was my “rock” through many hard times. I remember calling his program on KBRT many times and asking his advise. My son and I even met him once at a mission he was involved with. I am very saddened with his passing……He was more of a father to me than my own. I hope I will see you again someday in heaven.

  10. I heard a lovely re-broadcast of a Valentines’ Day program of Rich and his wife, Dianne, talking about the circumstances that lead to their union in holy matrimony. It blessed me to hear it for the first time today! Rich-est blessings to his wife, family, friends and loved ones!

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