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Arvella Schuller, wife of Crystal Cathedral founder, dead at 84

Arvella Schuller, wife of Crystal Cathedral founder, dead at 84
Robert Schuller and his wife, Arvella, with daughter Carol Milner, walk out of the Edward Roybal Federal Building in November 2012. The three were present for proceedings related to the Crystal Cathedral's bankruptcy. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Arvella Schuller, the wife of the founder of the "Hour of Power" and Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, died Tuesday morning at UCI Medical Center.

Schuller, 84, was hospitalized after a short illness, said John Charles, the chief operating officer for Crystal Cathedral Ministries.

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In a statement, her grandson, Bobby V. Schuller, said she died "peacefully of natural causes."

Together, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller and Arvella Schuller were the driving forces behind the "Hour of Power" and the Crystal Cathedral church.

When Schuller started a drive-in church in Garden Grove in 1955, Arvella played the organ. When the small church grew into the Crystal Cathedral, she coordinated the music for the services and produced the "Hour of Power."

At one point, the audience for the television show was estimated at 20 million.

"She was the power behind the hour, you know," Charles said.

In 2011, the ministry sold its 10,000-paned church in Garden Grove to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in bankruptcy proceedings. The ministry moved to another church in Garden Grove and is now known as Shepherd's Grove.

Arvella is survived by her husband, her son, Robert A. Schuller, and her daughters, Sheila Coleman, Jeanne Dunn, Carol Milner and Gretchen Penner.

The family is planning a private memorial service.

Twitter: @nicolesantacruz

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