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Williams, John H.

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May 11, 1954 - June 18, 2021

Williams, John H.

John Herbert Williams passed away on June 18th, 2021 after a four month battle following a debilitating stroke in February. While impossible to capture in just a few words, John was a man who lived large and loved well, leaving his imprint on the hearts of all who knew him.

John was born on May 11th, 1954 to Herbert and Helen Williams of Kansas City, Missouri. A boy-scout and little leaguer, John grew up jumping fences and stirring up trouble with his childhood buddies. As a member of the Ruskin High School Class of 1972, John developed his love for music as a teenager, which carried over to his time in college. At Concordia University in St. Paul, he was known for pulling pranks with his best friends, performing in many stage productions with the Concordia theatre department, and playing guitar for the Can Band (aptly named for their favorite place to rehearse – the dorm bathroom). 

After graduation and a DCE internship in Afton, Minnesota, John partnered with Lutheran Youth Encounter to form Brethren with college buddies Bob Hoch and Doug Larson.  For over a decade, Brethren made a relationship with Jesus look “cool” by performing at conferences and youth gatherings for thousands of teens around the country. In 1981 John married the love of his life, Lynn Kroonblawd, with whom he had 4 children. John embraced fatherhood wholeheartedly by chaperoning school trips, coaching soccer teams, taking his family on RV and camping trips, and, most importantly, beautifully modeling what a life anchored in Christ looks like.

John served as a Director of Christian Education at three congregations in his career – St. Peter Lutheran Church in Afton, Minnesota, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Bethany, Oklahoma and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Kingwood, Texas. Through the years John got a reputation for finding kooky ways to bring students together and share the message of Christ, such as mystery dinners, frozen chicken bowling, lock-ins, summer trips, and endless games of medic ball; despite the more flashy events he organized throughout this career, John felt that his greatest professional accomplishment was the development of weekend-long community events that brought area youth of all denominations together to share in their passion for discipleship. 

John is preceded in death by his mother and father. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Lynn, his four beloved children – Sara, Kristen, Sean, and Erin, his favorite (and only) sister Jan Hallas, and the thousands of loved ones, friends, and former students in his youth ministry who continue to carry on his legacy of love and faith.

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Perry Lynum

October 21, 2021 12:03AM

I knew John when he was the DCE at St. Peter Lutheran in Afton, MN. John could warm any room. He told me a story that I will never forget. I think that John was in college, but he was traveling, when his car broke down in a small town (I believe that he was in Colorado) and was headed back home (KC). The mechanic told John that the part needed for his car would not be there until the next day. So, John was hungry, low on cash and his dad wired money Western Union. So John got this idea. He walked across the street to a bar/restaraunt with his guitar in hand. He offered to play music to the patrons, in exchange for a meal. After the night was over..the bar owner wanted John to stay on. The crowd loved him!. Through John's close walk with Christ, he trusted God, and with God's helpo, could turn lemons into lemonade. You will be missed by all of us.

Bradford Bray

July 10, 2021 11:13PM

John was a fun and good neighbor growing up in Ruskin Heights. He was always good to the little kid who grew up behind him. He climbed that fence a hundred times. I remember him a Lutheran Youth Rally in Overland Park, Kansas many years later. He seemed to be in his element. May love and good memories sustain and attend all who knew John and will miss him in the years to come. Sincerely, Brad

Martha Medley Proulx

July 10, 2021 12:55PM

John and I are cousins. His mother and my father being 1st cousins. Many memories of him coming to "the country" during our childhoods. All us cousins went full speed ahead jumping from top story of the barn, racing across the railroad tracks at the last minute to beat the train, sliding on not-safely-frozen pond. John was always in the mix laughing all the way. Being a city boy, he endured a lot of teasing from us country cousins. He usually proved us wrong for the teasing by showing he definitely could hang with whatever went on in the country.
I was happy to see John at a cousin reunion 2015 after many, many years, and appreciated him attending with his mom and sister, Jan. It is quite obvious from reading about all his wonderful accomplishments and youth service that his passing leaves a huge void for many. How fortunate for the lives he touched with his years of service. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Malinn Saxe

July 08, 2021 6:31PM

I cannot express the love and appreciation I have for John! I know he was so instrumental in the faith of our 3 boys as they went through the Youth at CTK. And I LOVED working over in the youth building so I could also hear his talks! What a great man of God who will be so missed! Much love and sympathy to the whole family.

Dan Pulter

July 06, 2021 3:51AM

Much love to Lynn, and to Sara, Kristen, Sean and Erin. John was there for me when my daughter was stillborn. What a powerful man of God he was. "Well done, good and faithful servant." Matthew 25:23. Go now to His rest.

Wally Krueger

June 30, 2021 12:18AM

it was fun watching John riding his bike or catching him parking his van at a store never his best moments but John was always a fun person to be with