April 23, 1918, Ohio.

January 17, 2000, Pinecraft, Florida.

Kempsville Amish-Mennonite Church Cemetery, Virginia Beach, Virginia.


John was the son of Joseph Stuckey Overholt and Hannah Wagler, and husband of Vera Marie Sommers.

As a child John was introduced to his father’s personal collection of Gospel songs and hymns, which was to have a marked influence on his later life. He and his twin brother Joe were early exposed to the Amish-Mennonite tradition of hymn singing and praising worship. An early career in Christian service led to a two-year period of relief work in Poland after World War II. During that period he began to gather many European songs and hymns as a personal hobby, not realizing that these selections would become invaluable to the Christian Hymnary (the largest Mennonite hymnal), compiled 1960–72, with 1,000 songs, hymns and chorales.

In 1965, Overholt married Vera Sommers, an accomplished soprano who was not to be outdone by her husband’s creativity, and compiled a hymnal of 156 selections entitled Be Glad and Sing, directed to children and youth and first printed in 1986.

During this later career of hymn publishing, Overholt also found time for Gospel team work throughout Europe, including visits to Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union and Romania.

In 1957, Overholt was called to Christian ministry and became co-pastor of a Beachy Amish-Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Florida.

  1. Awake, Thou Spirit of the Martyrs
  2. Come, Newborn Souls, Love’s Grace Display
  3. Come, ’Tis Jesus Gently Calling
  4. Come unto Me, Saith God’s Own Son
  5. Father Eternal, Great God of Creation
  6. For a Blest Today
  7. God, of Truth and Light Creator
  8. God Will His Righteous Judgment Mete
  9. I Am Unworthy to Suffer with Thee
  10. I Will Abide in Thy Dwelling Place
  11. I Will Delight in Singing
  12. I Will Press on to Perfection
  13. Jesus, Jesus, Life, the Fountain
  14. Jesus, Lord from Heaven
  15. Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God
  16. Let the People Praise Thee
  17. Lord God, to Thee Be Blessing
  18. Lord Jesus, I Love thee
  19. Lord, We Would Not Dishonor Thee
  20. Now Be Praise unto Our God
  21. O Come, Let us Worship Before Our Great Lord
  22. O Come Today to the Fountain
  23. O God, Do Thou Sustain Me
  24. O Soul, Do Not Delay
  25. O That a Thousand Tongues I’d Treasure
  26. O Thou Almighty Lord and God
  27. The Father, We Will Ever Praise
  28. The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ
  29. The Heavens Are Lowering Overcast
  30. Thee Will I Love, My Lord, My God
  31. There Are Two Ways in This Our Day
  32. We Are Pilgrims on the Earth
  33. When Christ with His True Teaching Came
  34. Who Christ Will Follow Now, Newborn
  35. Wonderful Redemption Full and Free
  36. Ye Must Be Born Again
  1. O God and Father, Thee We Bless
  1. Tender Love of Jesus