Being a newspaper editor, my first thought was, "This is a hoax."

But the next posting brought tears to my eyes. In short, the writer said news of the death was the terrible truth and gave what details they knew.

Those e-mails were the first in what became a day of sadly consistent confirmations, each carrying their own measure of disbelief. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Rich’s death in area media over the weekend.

The truth hit me square in the face that Sunday evening when I arrived to put out the Monday morning edition of the five-day paper where I work. There, waiting silently on the wire, was a much-too-brief Associated Press story.

Just shy of 42 years old, Rich died as a result of an auto accident Friday, Sept. 19, in north central Illinois. The singer-songwriter, with more than 50 hit records in his career, including the popular church anthem "Awesome God," was on his way to a benefit concert in Wichita, Kan., when the accident occurred.

Unable to accept that Rich deserved only 4 inches of copy, I made a call to The Tennessean in Nashville and netted about 3 inches more for our readers.

Still, the overall lack of attention to his death is only fitting, his manager and friend said.

"In the industry, he was considered by many to be the greatest writer of our time," said Jim Dunning Jr. "I believe that.

"But if Rich had his preference, I think he’d prefer not to be remembered. Rich would prefer that the God he believed in be remembered. We need to honor him best by remembering his writing and by loving the God that he spoke about."


The Buzz Trexler Experience of the Reckless, Radical Love of God


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About Buzz Trexler

Buzz is a married father of two, managing editor for print/online at The (Maryville, TN) Daily Times and pastors Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa, TN. He is a 1981 graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he is a member of the Mass Communications Department Hall of Fame.


Inside you will find a collection of columns penned by Buzz on topics ranging from the death of Rich Mullins, to his battle with Hepatitis C, to asking the question, "Does God have a sense of humor."

CCM Interviews

Buzz talks with those who, as the late Larry Norman would say, "rock the flock." His interviews range from members of Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and Third Day, to David Crowder and more.


Follow Buzz as he travels with Vine International on two different medical misison trips to Guatemala, as well as one with Volunteer Medical Mission. In 1999, he also went to Estonia with a Volunteers in Mission team.

Blog: Gathering Wool

Blog: The Pastor's Buzz