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John Crist

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JOHN CRIST John R. Crist, a retired sociology professor, died on Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at the age of 93. He died with loved ones by his side at Foulkeways in Gwynedd, PA were he resided since November 2006. John, the son of John Anthony Crist and Mary Kronenberg Crist, was born in Washington, Indiana and grew up in Cumberland, Maryland with four siblings. Raised Catholic, he became a Quaker in the early 1940s and was active with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) where he met his wife, Dorothy Varley Bingham, deceased in 1989. Over the years they volunteered with the AFSC on numerous projects and as summer work camp leaders. Initially having followed in his father's footsteps, John had become a chiropractor but early in his first marriage he decided instead to pursue an educational career with the result that each of their four children was born in a different state. He went back to school in 1944, graduated from George Fox College in Oregon, got his masters at the University of Iowa and his doctorate in sociology at the University of Missouri. In 1952 he moved to Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he originated a Family Life department and taught for 13 years. In 1954-55 he took a sabbatical year to study at the Menninger Clinic, and for years maintained a part-time practice in psychotherapy and marriage counseling. He moved the family to Oregon in 1965 where he became a tenured professor at Lewis and Clark College. There he led numerous off-campus student study groups, along with his wife, throughout the U.S and abroad. Calling himself a "learning facilitator" rather than a professor, he developed a reputation for innovative teaching methods, with some students remaining friends to the end of his life. As early as the 1950s John was a pioneer in organic gardening. He was also a skilled nature and art photographer, taking photographs while travelling the world: Western and Eastern Europe, the USSR, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, South and Central America, Mexico and Canada. In 1987, he married Margery (Marge) Frank who shared his passion for travel. John was also an intrepid hiker into his late 80s. A man of many interests and talents, he enjoyed woodworking, canoeing, swimming, sailing, square dancing and contra-dancing. John is survived by his wife, Marge, of Beaverton, OR, his children: Patience (Pati) Bingham, Constance (Conni) Crist, Peter and Jonathan, and his grandchildren: Tara Rose Crist, Alyssa Verner-Crist, Dylan Verner-Crist and Megan Verner-Crist; his brother, Charles Crist, and his sister, Mary Louise (Lou) Boyer. He was predeceased by his brother, Joseph (Joe) Crist and his sister, Rosemary Crist Harris. A memorial service will be held in the Community Center at Foulkeways in Gwynedd, PA on Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 2PM. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you consider donating to The Nature Conservancy at P.O. Box 6014, Albert Lee, MN 56007, or the Rodale Institute, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530-9320.

Published in The Reporter on Aug. 30, 2011
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