The Rev. John “Jack” H. Houdeshel, 92, of Willow Valley Retirement Community entered the Church Triumphant Saturday, November 21, 2015. Born in Baltimore, he was the son of the late Chauncey and Naomi (Resh) Houdeshel. He was a graduate of Hyattsville (MD) High School, and Maryville (TN) College and went on to Princeton Seminary where he earned his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church, USA on November 25, 1949.
While at Maryville, he met Mary Evelyn (Skip) Jamison and they were married July 12, 1947. They shared 53 years of marriage before her death on May 21, 2001. With his preaching and teaching skills and her musical skills, they served churches on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, the Havre De Grace Presbyterian Church (MD), yoked Presbyterian churches in Ridgeway and New Haven, IL, as associate for Christian Education at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, IL, as organizing pastor of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Joppatowne, MD, and Stewartstown Presbyterian Church, Stewartstown, PA. In retirement, Jack served as interim pastor for numerous Presbyterian churches in southern Lancaster and York counties. In recent years he enjoyed being part of the fellowship at First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster.
He was active in the work of the Presbyteries to which he belonged over the years including being Stated Clerk of the Baltimore Presbytery and serving in several committee positions. He particularly was interested in those preparing for the ministry and mentored numerous young people. Additionally he felt it was important to volunteer in the community and served as chaplain for numerous organizations and as a reader for the York Society of the Blind.
He was gifted with musical ability and shared that from early church choir participation through the Maryville College Choir, Princeton Seminary Choir, choirs in the churches he served to recently singing with the Manor Choir at Willow Valley. Additionally he delighted in playing hymns on the piano daily in the Manor lobby after breakfast.
He is survived by his 4 children, Ruth Rugh and her husband Dave of Quilcene, WA, Kathryn Barr and her husband Carl of Stewartstown, PA, Steven Houdeshel and his wife Judy of Downingtown, PA, Betty Armstrong and her husband Gunnar of Elkton, MD and 8 grandchildren, Matthew Barr and his wife Marcie, Katelyn Tobin and her husband Pat, Kelsey and Christopher Houdeshel and Caedmon, Dara, Brendan and Tryg Armstrong. His brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Elaine Houdeshel of McAlisterville, PA also survive him as well as niece and nephew, Doris Watts and her husband Ed, and Will Houdeshel and his wife Tracey and their families. In addition to his beloved wife, he was preceded in death by two of his grandchildren, David Barr and Cairn Rugh.
A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 140 E. Orange St. Lancaster, PA on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. A time of visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. until the time of service. Interment will be in the Lost Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in McAlisterville, PA at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be sent to Stewartstown Presbyterian Church, P O Box 277, Stewartstown, PA 17363 designated for the Building Fund.