J. Robert Selby Hele

October 18, 1952 ~ February 19, 2019

Born in: Los Angeles, CA
Resided in: Johnson City, TN

J. Robert Selby Hele, 66, of Johnson City, passed away on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at Johnson City Medical Center. Bob was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of the late Jewell Henry and Katherine Mary Ruppert Hele. He was a devout Christian and spent a lifetime devoted to the ministry, where he served as a director and liaison for Promise Keepers Men?s Ministry. He was also the proud owner of his own landscaping business and for five years was a train operator for the Denver light rail system. Bob was survived by his brother, David Hele (Detrah); a sister, Carolyn Hele; a sister, Janet Riehl (Derek); a brother, Brian Hele, all of California; as well as several nieces and nephews. A funeral service for Bob will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm in the Morris-Baker Dogwood Chapel, officiated by Bro. James Miller and Bro. Carter LeCraw. Following the service, the family will receive friends at an informal reception in the Morris-Baker Hospitality Room. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Bob?s memory to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Donations can be made online at https://billygraham.org/give/give-online/ or sent by mail to: 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201.

Memories Timeline


  1. Anonymous says:

    To JR’s family and friends – my prayers for the Spirit’s comfort and peace during this very hard time for you; and I join you in rejoicing that he is resting in the arms of his Lord. God be with you all.

  2. Anonymous says:

    J R was truly a humble person who lead a simple full life for His Savior and Lord. While it was simple it was always full speed ahead. I have been blessed to have known and worked with J R through the PK ministries and for many years after that. I?ll miss J R but looking forward to seeing him again in glory. He has left a legacy for many to follow, and I?m sure God told J R , ?Well done my good and faithful servant?.

  3. Anonymous says:

    JR PK Brother truly a Man of God and a Influencer in life and into eternity.

  4. Anonymous says:

    JR was a co-worker and a good friend and will be missed by all of us at PK who worked with him. My most vivid memory of him was the time he had to hospitalized and when I went to visit him he had me run to his house and get his computer because he had work to do. That’s the JR I remember, always making sure he completed his job no matter the situation. May God Bless his family and may you always cherish the memories you made with him. Roberta Guilliaume

  5. Anonymous says:

    JR?s life had many stages and events, ups and downs, heartache and joys. As I reflected on the small stage I was part of, I can confidently rejoice…..JR is now in the most joyous and magnificent stage of all ….eternal life! He is with the one he loved and called his Lord and Savior as you read this. I can only imagine, but I know he isn?t disappointed. JR lived for this new beginning, and is now renewed and vibrant and alive! Thank you Jesus for making it all possible. By simply calling out to you (Jesus) in humble agreement that we can?t manage our lives without you, that we are in need of your salvation, you promised and will provide the same eternal hope for each of us!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to hear about Bob’s passing. I knew him as “Stretch”when he participated as a student at Hoover High in two bicycle trips in 1970 with FCA and Campus Life–from Fresno to Mendocino and from Mexico to Oregon. Ben lester and I were the leaders of those to trips as staff members of Fresno-Madera Youth for Christ. I have pleasant memories of “Stretch”. I happened to see the obituary in the San Luis Obispo Tribune–I now live in Cayucos.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, JR, for showing me what a servant’s heart looks like.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Working with Big JR was quite a blessing as well as always full of humor. Doing things like working at Jim Parks house in Denver. We had big JR at 6? whatever tal, Jerry Garcia at 5? nothing tall, myself and Jim, I am sure the neighbors thought the circus had lost ot?s freak show. Then there where times of unloading and loading conference trucks. JR always worked hard and helped any way he could. The pipe and drape team loved him because he could put it up or take it down standing flat footed on the ground. In ministry, JR always had a listening ear and a sampathic heart. Men loved JR for his openness and honesty. He touched thousands for his Saviour. I am sure the last few days in heavean there has been a stream of people coming by to thank him for the words he spoke that changed their eternal address. JR loved his ice cream and custard. Any time we were together it included as much of one or the other that we could possibly eat. JR, I don?t say goodbye, I say till we see each other again. Thank you for your impact and influence on my life. To all of your friends and family, may the Lord and Saviour that JR worshiped and loved, give you peace and comfort.

  9. Anonymous says:

    …?not only how much but also how many people appreciated J R. Working at an outside conference with a man of God with a great sense of humor was truly a blessing. Seeing this giant of a man wearing his wide brimmed hat, for protection from the sun, made you smile since you knew he was close by if you needed his help. Even though we called him big J R, we knew that his heart was even bigger than he was. We thank our Heavenly Father to have been able to work with, laugh with, share with, pray with and be a friend of our brother J R. May the ?Heavenly Good? that was in our brother, continue to rub off on us even though he graduated to his Heavenly Home. J R would want that. He would say, ?Just give God the Praise for that!? Thank You Lord for J R?s example.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have fond memories of working with JR at PK. His humor and kindness was shared in each interaction. My favorite memory of JR was when he and I ended up flying home from a conference on the same flight. He was kind enough to share his airline perks since he flew all the time. The airline was showing Monsters, Inc., and boy did JR find it funny. He laughed out loud throughout the whole movie. I laughed just listening to him and to this day appreciate the sense of humor he had that allowed him to guffaw with reckless abandon. JR you will be missed! Thank you for serving Christ the way you have. My prayers are with JR?s family and friends.

  11. Anonymous says:

    J.R.,We loved him as a brother, our Big brother. Our friend ! A mighty man of God! He was a spiritual giant! ( and not just because of his height) He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in times of uncertainty and shared in times of happiness and joy. He was a ?Barnabas, an encourager?!He will always be by our sides and in our hearts! Many people around the nation were impacted by his life and example of ?servant leadership? at Promise Keepers conferences . Men who served alongside him on the EV team with his administrative skills and ?precise? details! The alter calls were our ?payday? And we rejoiced with him as we counted the decision cards to the Glory of Jesus Christ! Love is not an easy feeling to put into words, nor is loyalty, nor is trust, nor is joy. But J.R. was All of these! He loved his Jesus and he loved life and ALWAYS exalted Jesus Christ in his life! Last Tuesday he heard these words from his Lord and Savior, ?Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.? Pastor Art Promise Keepers

  12. Anonymous says:

    JR was a great workmate, lots of fun and I loved his commitment to Christ! I will always remember the hostess in a Cuban restaurant asking me as JR walked by, ?How many foot is he?? We laughed about that when I spoke with him last week! JR, my friend, you will be missed! Love in Jesus. John & Marlena

  13. Anonymous says:

    Praise to the Lord! J R Selby took struggles from his early adulthood and surrendered them and himself to the Lord. His life was transformed over time into a man of commitment, discipleship and prayer. I grieve the loss of a loyal prayer giant but rejoice at his arrival into heaven. We, Karen and I, can envision the welcoming of J R by our son, Joel, and his P K friend, Rod Marable, and the thrill of our Lord’s “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  14. Anonymous says:

    We knew J. R. through PK and ISI. He was a special friend for a number of years and we shall miss him. He truly served the Lord with his whole heart. It was fitting that you played, “Well Done” at his service for there is no doubt in my mind that he was greeted in paradise by shouts of , “Well Done!”May the Lord bring you comfort in your time of sorrow. Our deepest condolences.

  15. Anonymous says:

    There will never b another like u Gentle Giant ! WE thank and praise GOD for the awesome times we had in Colorado and Tn. GOD knew exactly what HE was doing with our paths / lives crossing. You definitely was a man of awesome character and not only walk the walk, but your walk matched your talked. We’ve never seen u unhappy or mad at anyone. You always had a peace within that you shared with others. The last words you shared with us in Johnson City, TN. was I’m not afraid. I’m ready if its HIS will. Rest on my friend! Our paths will cross again. Love u JR.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We met J R last September when his car pulled into our driveway as we were both outside in our yard. He stopped to ask us about the neighborhood because he was considering renting a house down the hill from us. We told him what we knew from over 28 years of living here and then he asked if we were Christians and said he was looking for a good church. We invited him to ours and he visited the next morning, a Sunday. Exactly one week later, a Saturday night, he knocked on our door and asked for help moving a mattress upstairs. While he was speaking, his speech began to slur and he sat down on our porch saying he did not feel good. Suspecting it was symptoms of a stroke, I yelled for our daughter, a registered nurse, who was visiting from Charleston, SC due to a hurricane evacuation. She began evaluating him while our son-in-law called 911. The paramedics arrived and after evaluating him, took him to Johnson City Medical Center. We visited him the next day in the ICU. He had suffered a stroke but had no lasting side effects. The surgeon told him that quick action saved his life. Both J R and my family knew God had planned it all because: ? J R was not in his house alone when it occurred. ? God alerted me to what was happening. ? Our daughter, who normally would not have been there, was visiting from SC. She and her family had just returned from spending the day in Knoxville. About three months later, J R texted me and said the surgeon just could not explain why there was no evidence of the stroke in a recent brain scan. We both knew exactly why. When I heard J R was dying from a brain tumor, I visited him at the hospital. His eyes were closed but he knew me when I said my name. He immediately assured me that God was in control of all that was happening. It was such a blessing to see him praising and trusting God in such difficult circumstances.

  17. Anonymous says:

    My turn! Big Bob – he was never “J.R.” to ME (even when he would leave a message on my cell phone; it was always from “Bobby Lee Hee-lee”) – I have shed more than a few tears since you Graduated last month! What were you thinking? I prayed that you weren’t alone when the Extra-Tall Angels came for you . . . crying now . . . you and I were the (almost) Original Mutt and Jeff; you at 6’10” and me at 5’7″; what a pair we were! I could say so very much, as we shared The Shadowlands for 48 years, since your senior year at Hoover High…but, I will add to all the tributes this particular thing that you would always say in any one of our many phone conversations (after asking what I needed prayer for): “You need the prayer and I need the practice” ! Buddy, I miss you and will be missing you until we meet again. Thank you for your steadfast faith, love, and companionship in the gospel, and for all your spellbinding stories and recountings over the years. You were – and are – truly one of a kind.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It has been some time since I have seen Bob (I only knew him as Bob). I went to high school with Bob. He was very friendly to everyone and funny! He would always greet you sincerely and with a smile. He had no enemies. Life is certainly a journey and reading what was shared about Bob here, he had quite a journey! God bless him and his many family and friends.

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