WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The founder and executive director of the Warren Family Mission has unexpectedly passed away.
Pastor Chris Gilger founded the mission in 1998.
“He was my boss, he was like a father figure in my life, he saved my life,” said Warren Family Mission Director of Public Relations Dominic Mararri.
On Tuesday, he was driving back from West Virginia, where he drove to bring back a person who needed help.
“Pastor Chris died doing something he loved. He went to West Virginia to pick up somebody that was struggling with addiction and was going to bring them back here to the Warren Family Mission,” Mararri said.
However, the person never showed up. As he was driving back, he pulled his car over near Ravenna and put his flashers on. Later, state troopers found him deceased in the car.
“I talked to the president of the board and he said he talked to Pastor Chris roughly around 5:45 p.m. and he said he was about 45 minutes away from home, which puts at that Ravenna time period. I believe the Ohio State Patrol notified the Family Mission around 12 a.m.,” he said.
Mararri says they believe he died from a cardiac health issue.
“I think about the Bible and I think about the 99 sheep. Jesus left the 99 sheep to go get the one, and this is what Pastor Chris did daily. He died living out being a servant for Christ,” he said.
Mararri says Pastor Gilger was a great man who helped many people and impacted many lives. He said they will all miss him very much.
His family is still working on funeral arrangements and will let the public know once they are made.