NEWTON, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Mt. Olive Lutheran Church was packed with people mourning the loss of a man they loved dearly, Robert Farley. He died unexpectedly in a home explosion on Tuesday.

A family friend who grew up with Farley described him as a leader of the pack.

“I can just remember when we were younger and watching those guys play whatever kind of sports that they were playing, that they were kind of the lead dog and Robert was one of those guys,” said Danny Hipps.

Hipps said Farley eventually progressed into a great athlete. But he’ll never forget the confident personality Farley had.

“I think that [Robert] showed compassion for a lot of other people while he was here, but really he would help people. He’s a very laid-back person,” Hipps said.

The Iredell County sheriff’s office confirmed Farley was the victim of a house explosion on Tuesday in Mooresville. No foul play is suspected.

“This is the first one we’ve seen like this, that actually exploded like this with this kind of destruction. This was a 6,300-square-foot home and there’s nothing left but maybe a part of the garage,” said Kent Greene with the Iredell County Emergency management

24-year-old Caleb Farley, a cornerback drafted by the Titans in 2021, and Robert’s son, who also lived at the home, was not home at the time of the explosion. Authorities said another person, described as a friend of Caleb Farley’s, was injured.

Fire officials found him leaving when they arrived, and his injuries were not considered to be life-threatening, but the blast concussed him. 

“I’m just glad people have come to celebrate the life of my father, because I know he was well respected in his community,” Caleb told Queen City News on the day of the explosion

And that same community showed up in droves for Farley’s homegoing service. But even in his death, Farley’s presence was felt in a poem printed on the back of the service program.

“Sons you know I love you so
Dad held you down and that’s on go
I won’t be here to talk you through
He’ll reveal the plans he has for you
Always trust and never leave him
Let him hide you and as you seek him
Remember all our talks and through the norm
I’ll know he’ll guide you through the storm.”

Robert Farley, A Note to my Family

“I think I’m happy he’s in a better place, as we all would be,” Hipps said.