FORT RUCKER Ala. -- Numerous installation community members gathered at the Main Post Chapel Monday to mourn the loss of Zane Biddle, Fort Rucker's first full-time youth director, who passed away last week unexpectedly.

For five years, Biddle led Fort Rucker's Club Beyond, an extension of Military Community Youth Ministries, an organization that provides religious services to children at numerous military installations.

Friends, Family and co-workers recounted the impact Biddle, 40, made on them and the post community.

"What a great, Godly man. He (knew) God loves people, and he loved them too," said Chaplain (Col.) Stephen Cook, the installation and garrison chaplain."It's quite a loss, one that will be felt for a long time to come."

"He was a big man. He was 6-foot-5, but he had a heart bigger than that for everybody," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Claude Crisp, chief of operations and support for the installation chaplains office. "He was known for transforming some (who) were headed to jail."

Biddle's love for people and desire to help them derived from numerous sources, community members said.

"He was a Gospel-centered, Jesus-saturated man," said former Club Beyond student Tim Thomas, noting Biddle was very fervent in his faith. "What a privilege to have known, learned and sat under the ministry of this man. Little does he know the impact he made on my life."

Students said Biddle's love for them and his energy also aided his success and made an impression on their lives.

"He was a huge teddy bear, and any time you needed him, he was there," said Lindsey Franklin, who now lives at Fort Hood, Texas.

"He was full of life all the time," Ryan Goff, a Club Beyond student said. "He made me realize it's worth living my life for Jesus."

Crisp said that was where Biddle's true impact will be felt - the numerous students he told about Jesus.

Cook said volunteer staff will instruct and support Club Beyond youth until a new director can be hired.

"Some say the youth are the church of tomorrow, but they are the church of today," he said.
Biddle is survived by Julie, his wife of 14 years, his son, Jackson, and daughter, Zoe.
Biddle, a former Air Force airman, was saluted with military honors.

Page last updated Thu February 4th, 2010 at 10:05