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.