NEWBERG — It was more than fitting that the memorial service for Roy Hiebert was held July 15 in Bauman Auditorium on George Fox University’s Newberg campus. For decades, thousands of students as well as faculty and staff at the school had been the focus of Hiebert’s God-motivated outreach.
Known to all as “Grandpa Roy,” Hiebert had long ago become a beloved campus institution. A kind-hearted man known for giving out flowers he grew at his nearby home, Hiebert endeared himself to all just by being a friend and offering a listening ear when needed. During the school year, he ate lunch on campus three times weekly — making himself available to students just as a loving grandfather would.
Hiebert died June 30 at age 92 in a local care center. He had broken his hip in a fall and succumbed to the stress of the injury and the subsequent surgery.
Hiebert retired as associate director of the university’s plant services department in 1987. He had left his position as a teacher and electrician for a missionary school in Ethipia to accept the job at George Fox. His routine of eating lunch on campus became more established after his wife died in 1992.
Heibert was named the university’s Volunteer of the Year in 1996 after spending more than 240 hours on the construction of the campus prayer chapel. He also was a founding member of “Greenroom” a volunteer student prayer and worship group, in 1985, and he received a Christian service award from the Northwest Christian Community Foundation for his encouraging involvement on campus.
News of Hiebert’s passing sparked hundreds of comments on the university’s Facebook site.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a statue of Grandpa Roy — and his flowers— sitting on a bench in the quad?” wrote one respondent. Others replied in full agreement.