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Robert Lebert

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Robert Lebert 1938-2008 NORTH BENNINGTON Pastor Robert E. Lebert, 69, husband of Linda Lebert, a resident of Harvest Hills Drive and founder of Harvest Christian Ministries, died Saturday, May 17, 2008 at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center following a brief illness. Born on December 7, 1938 in Williamstown, Mass., he was the son of the late John and Eva (LaPlant) Lebert. He received his education in the North Adams schools and was a 1957 graduate of Drury High School. A veteran of the Vietnam era, Bob served in the Navy from 1957 until 1961. He later attended St. Joseph's College in Bennington where he graduated in 1965. Bob married the former Linda Ouhl in Bennington on Jan. 1, 1966. In earlier years Bob was employed at the Pennysaver Press and then as a part owner of Star Electric. He later purchased the Southern Vermont Appliance Center in Bennington which he operated for several years. In the early 1970's Bob and Linda founded Harvest Christian Ministries and began the broadcast of "This Is the Day" on the local cable channel. As the program grew it was also simulcast on WXXA in the Albany, N.Y. area. In 1981 both Pastor Bob and Pastor Linda became ordained ministers by the Independent Assemblies of God International. In 1983 they opened the original Harvest Christian Ministries Church on School Street in Bennington. In 1993 as the ministry grew they opened the current home of Harvest Christian at 945 East Main Street in Bennington. Fulfilling a need in the community, Pastors Bob and Linda opened the first Harvest House Soup Kitchen in 1986 at the corner of River Street and BenMont Avenue in Bennington. A second Harvest Kitchen was opened in North Adams in 1994. An avid sportsman all his life, Bob played football, basketball, baseball and golf while a student at Drury. He served as captain of the golf team while serving in the Navy and spent several years both coaching and umpiring baseball in the NorShaft Little League program. He most recently served as middle school basketball coach at Grace Christian School where he was also a member of the Board of Directors. Some of Pastor Bob's favorite times were spent playing cribbage with his friends at the Harvest Soup Kitchen. He will be remembered by all as being a "people's person". He leaves his wife, Linda Lebert of North Bennington; his children and their spouses, Laurie and Lee Burdick of Bennington, Melissa and Robert Freiling of Berwyn, Pa., Adam and Jill Lebert of Bennington and Aaron and Nicole Lebert of Edgewater, N.J.; six grandchildren, Leland, Meaghan, Ethan, Audra, Joshua and Adam Jr.; a great-granddaughter, Madison; a sister and brother, Virginia Boucher and John Lebert, both of North Adams, Mass.; several nieces, nephews and cousins. FUNERAL NOTICE: A celebration of Pastor Bob's life will be held from Harvest Christian Ministries, 945 East Main Street, Bennington on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. with the pastoral staff of Harvest Christian Ministries officiating. There will be no calling hours. Private committal services will take place at the convenience of the family at Grandview Cemetery in North Bennington. Should friends desire contributions in Robert E. Lebert's memory may be made to the Harvest House Soup Kitchen through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201. Guest book condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 19, 2008
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