May 11, 1954 - June 18, 2021
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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