(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) People in the area mourn the loss of a beloved mentor, friend, and religious leader in the community.
Following the death of Jimmy Albright, many are mourning the loss of a beloved pastor, professor, and friend.
"He's just one of the kindest people I've ever met and so it's a tremendous loss for us,” Sara Wilson, executive director of St. Joseph Museums said.
“It was like walking through a rainbow every time you saw him,” Dr. Ed Taylor, Missouri Western professor said.
Albright was a longtime Missouri Western professor.
"Personally I'll just miss hearing him come down the hall saying, 'Hey, Dr. Ed,' right? Which was always a moment of happiness for me,” Dr. Taylor said.
His teaching went beyond the traditional academic walls.
With guest lectures at museums that people describe as captivating because of his passion and experience.
"Dr. Jimmy did everything with so much heart and passion and enthusiasm and that was contagious," Wilson said.
His talks weaved artifacts and personal stories from the dozens and dozens of trips and excavations in the middle east creating a living breathing history.
"Behind me in the case, we have some of the objects that he's found on his excavations in the Middle East. He really understood the power of objects to tell stories and he really made archeology come alive because he was sharing something that he felt was so profoundly important and so when you talk to him and listen to him about his work. You knew that he found it important and inspiring and so it made you want to be interested in it and learn more about it,” Wilson said.
And as a deeply religious man, he found a way to weave his faith, archeology, and history into his teachings.
"Show you pictures of where he walked in the same places that Jesus did and then encourage you to go on the same trip so that you can walk and be and see all those same things and bring them to life. Nothing cooler than sitting on the Pier of the Sea of Galilee and have someone point and say, 'Right over there, that's where they fed the 5,000.' I mean goosebumps on making stuff like that real. Right? That's the strength in just about any spiritual leader that's out there is someone that can meet you where you're at and tell you they've walked that walk and then be able to turn to the page in the bible and say here's how you make it through that walk," Matt Paden, Wyatt-Park Baptist Church said.
Above all, they say they remember Albright as a kind man who left a mark on each of their lives.
"He was the kindest human I've ever had the opportunity to meet. He was a person who regardless of circumstance always found a way to help others around him see the light in any dark corner and that was pretty miraculous."Dr. Taylor said. "Much like a work of archeology that's what's going to live on and people kind of look back at our past, they'll discover that influence and impact is enduring I imagine.”
Wyatt Park Baptist Church will host Albright's farewell services at 10 a.m. on Thursday.