JOHN WOLF (1918 - 2019)

  • "What a great to be emulated...very hard to copy...."
    - John Johnston
  • ""Well done, good and faithful servant" Matthew..."
    - H C S
  • "John was always very kind to us. His witness was a..."
  • "I don't remember when I first met John but it was early in..."
    - Nancy Nichols
  • "What a fantastic colleague and brother in Christ. We served..."
    - Harold Leininger II

JOHN WOLF, 100, finished his incredible journey on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Born on Sept. 29, 1918, in Kansas City while his father, working for the YMCA, was training soldiers for World War I. John grew up in Great Falls, Mont., and Pocatello, Idaho, where his father was a YMCA Director. John graduated from Pocatello High School at the age of 16.. He graduated from Oberlin College, in Ohio. He received a divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, in New York City. In 1941, he married Carolyn Kelsey in New York City as World War II emerged. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a LT-Chaplain and was the youngest Chaplin in the Navy. His combat medals include Salerno, Italy and the Pacific Campaign when he was awarded a Bronze Star at Iwo Jima. He rarely mentioned the impact of the war for many years until his retirement, when he started lecturing on the Pacific Campaign and the impact of war on veterans, publishing his real-time war diary "Amen till Tomorrow." Following the War, he joined the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC). His appointments included churches in Vevey, Evansville, Martinsville, South Bend, Hammond, Fort Wayne and finally Valparaiso. In addition, John was the South Bend UMC District Superintendent for six years. He was appointed to multiple UMC General Conferences, always a voice for civil rights, women's rights and social justice issues. He received an honorary Doctorate from DePauw University, where he also served as Trustee. In retirement, he was chair of the Indiana Coalition Against Legalized Gambling where his "Quixotian" battle against big money was fearless. For his efforts, John received Indiana's highest citizen award: the "Sagamore of the Wabash" from Governor Kernan, for his efforts of social justice and his crusade against organized gambling.While in Fort Wayne, he was pastor of then new, First Wayne UMC. John hosted a weekly commentary show on WOWO. He is survived by his sons, John Jr (Vicki) of South Bend, Carter (Kim Gattle) of Indianapolis and Earl (Deborah) of Williamston, Mich., along with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Bessie Wolf; his loving wife of 71 years, Carolyn Kelsey Wolf, and all his oldest friends and shipmates. Service is 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, at First United Methodist Church, 103 Franklin St., Valparaiso, Ind. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to The Valparaiso Y Foundation or the Valparaiso Rotary Foundation.
Religious Service Information
First United Methodist Church
103 Franklin St
Valparaiso, IN 46383
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Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Jan. 13, 2019
bullet Bronze Star bullet U.S. Navy bullet World War II