Faith and Family: Sola coffee co-owner's legacy remembered

20 April 2022

— Weeks after celebrating the 10th anniversary of their business, Sola Coffee, John Luther buried his wife and business partner, Jeanne.

Jeanne was an active and loved member of the Raleigh community whose life completely changed after she was diagnosed with ALS in 2018.

“Unless the Lord heals me, ALS will end my days here on earth,” Jeanne said at her church last fall. “Presently, there’s no cure for ALS. It’s taken away my ability to walk, to move my hands and my legs. It’s taken away my ability to breathe and talk, but what has been the most difficult and sad for me, is that it has taken my ability to serve you.”

John Luther, owner of Sola Coffee in Raleigh

The Luthers were active members of their local church, John serving as a pastor. The pair saw their local business as a way to share love with others by fostering a positive work environment and participating in community fundraisers.

Many have been in awe of the Luther’s ability to stay positive and continue practicing their religion even after Jeanne’s diagnosis.

“My body is literally wasting away, yet Paul says, my inner self is being renewed day by day. There is this fight, this is where my fight is,” she said in October 2021.

Sally Luther, daughter of John and Jeanne Luther -- owners of Sola Coffee

“How do I not lose heart? Paul says my ALS is a light, momentary affliction. Honestly, three years of continuing losing my physical abilities has not been very light at all. And yet God says, he’s preparing for me an eternal weight of glory that dwarfs my three years of ALS.”

John said that the past three years have been the best of their lives, and calls it “joyful sadness.”

“When you know you are dying, you tend to be more intentional about life,” she told WRAL News last year.

After Jeanne’s diagnosis, Sola began raising thousands of dollars for ALS research through their annual Hot Mini 5k race. Last year, the coffee shop raised $162,00.

ALS patient hoping to run marathon in each state coming to run Raleigh 5K

John said he and the team at Sola are positive of where she is now — in heaven.

“By God’s grace, she is home. Her family is rejoicing in the midst of tears,” Jeanne’s obituary said.

John spoke with WRAL News a few weeks before Jeanne died. Up until her last weeks, he said she was still visiting the coffee shop. When she spoke, her voice was soft, he said, and she had a hard time eating.

But positivity still radiated from her and her presence at Sola was an inspiration to others to continue pushing through when times are tough.

“There’s going to come a day when we close because Jeannie died,” John said, weeks before her death. “We’re all going to go to the funeral. We’re going to rejoice in the midst of a ton of tears and then we’re going to open back up.”

After being shut down for a few days after Jeanne’s funeral, Sola Coffee reopened on Tuesday.

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