August 23, 1914 – October 1, 2009
Rev. John Olthoff, 95, cherished pastor, consummate preacher, fervent intercessor, and gifted musician, passed away following a sudden decline in health.
Olthoff was born and raised in Roseland, Illinois. He supported his family during the Depression years by working a high-pressure and dangerous job as a parking attendant in downtown Chicago.
In preparation for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church, he entered Calvin College in 1937 and subsequently attended Calvin Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1944 and the same year married Sara Sophia Groen.
Olthoff began ministry in Comstock Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. In 1950 he moved to Wellsburg, Iowa, to serve Second CRC. Next was Bethel CRC of Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1956. His last and longest charge was at First CRC of Oostburg, Wis., where he served from 1962 until his retirement in 1979.
Olthoff is fondly remembered by the congregations he served. His winsome personality and warm interest in people’s well-being gave him a ready entrance into their lives. His pulpit ministry seemed to bring people into close contact with Christ.
His parishioners remember his pastoral visits for the sincerity of his prayers. He considered song and music integral parts of worship. He and his wife, Sara, traveled widely, visiting 49 of the 50 states. Upon retirement the Olthoffs continued to live in Oostburg but performed interim services in ten congregations that had no regular pastor.
Pastor Olthoff was preceded in death by Sara and is survived by his children Harry and Nancy Olthoff and Mary De Pagter, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.