Preaching what?

After spending a summer covering several soldiers' deaths through the eyes of their tearful friends and family members, I know it's not easy to profile someone after their death. I can imagine the challenges confronting the Arizona Republic reporter who covered the death of a local street preacher.

Still, the opening paragraphs came across as a bit flat as he flippantly describes people's reactions to the street preacher.

Robert "Diz-Z" Disbrow may not have met the people who honked their horns and waved at him for years as they drove by at Stapley Drive and Main Street, but clearly he moved them with his antics and his dedication.

Disbrow, the self-appointed "court jester for the King of Kings," was a Mesa institution for years, acting as a street preacher.

He died July 3 from bone-marrow cancer.

Some dismissed Disbrow as a crackpot, but those who knew him say he was moved by his religious convictions and chose to express them in a unique way, which included carrying a large wooden cross on Christmas and Easter.

The story goes on about a Mesa businessman who created a Facebook page to raise about $500 in donations for a permanent memorial.

His friends and flock honored him with a memorial service Saturday evening at Pioneer Park.

A roadside memorial in his honor, with a wooden cross, a crucifix, candles and photos, has amassed on top of a Salt River Project irrigation gate at Disbrow's adopted corner.

Did this man go to a church? Was the memorial service a religious service? It isn't until the 12th paragraph that we learn what kind of street preacher he was.

A woman stood up at Disbrow's memorial service and told those in attendance that she was ready to kill herself until Disbrow told her that God loved her.

Boyce said more than 1,500 people joined Disbrow's Facebook page since his death.

He said Disbrow told him that he had become an evangelical Christian in 1989 after years of wasting his life on drug abuse.

The rest of the story is full of quotes about people who were impacted by the man, but none of them really paint a picture about who this man was. The man was only 56--Did he have family to talk to?

What's unfortunate is that the reporter never really captures what he was preaching about. I've been preached to in the streets by preachers yelling about homosexuality, the end of the world coming, etc. What was this man's message? If the story doesn't address this, it doesn't really answer the why question.

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