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Jan 11

California mudslide victim identified as founder of Catholic school

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MONTECITO, Calif.) — The founder of a Catholic school was among 15 people killed in mudslides in Southern California this week.

Roy Rohter, the founder of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California, died Tuesday when heavy rain unleashed flash floods, mudslides and debris flow in the southern part of the state, according to the Catholic school’s headmaster, Michael Van Hecke.

A mudslide swept Rohter and his wife, Theresa Rohter, out of their home in Montecito. Rohter’s wife was rescued and hospitalized in stable condition, but he did not survive, Van Hecke told ABC News.

“Roy’s life has been in service to his good, loving and ever-forgiving God,” Van Hecke, a close friend of the Rohters, said in a statement. “Thousands have been blessed by the Rohters’ friendship and generosity.”

St. Augustine Academy posted a photo of Rohter on its Facebook page Tuesday with the caption, “Please pray for the repose of the soul of our founder, Roy Rohter — a giant gift to the Catholic Church and all things true, good and beautiful. Pray also for his wife, Theresa, the gentle giant of Charity and grace, and for his children and grandchildren. Thank you.”

“There is one thing Roy would want from everyone — prayers,” Van Hecke added. “He said so many times that after his passing, ‘Make sure everyone prays for my soul.’ We will, Roy!”

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