1918–2000

Ap­ril 23, 1918, Ohio.

Jan­u­a­ry 17, 2000, Pine­craft, Flo­ri­da.

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

illustration

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.

Overholt’s wife Ve­ra, an ac­comp­lished so­pr­ano, 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 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. Father, We Will Ev­er Praise, The
  7. For a Blest To­day
  8. God, of Truth and Light Cre­at­or
  9. God Will His Right­eous Jud­gment Mete
  10. Grace of Our Lord Je­sus Christ, The
  11. Heavens Are Low­er­ing Ov­er­cast, The
  12. I Am Un­wor­thy to Suf­fer with Thee
  13. I Will Abide in Thy Dwell­ing Place
  14. I Will De­light in Sing­ing
  15. I Will Press on to Per­fect­ion
  16. Jesus, Je­sus, Life, the Foun­tain
  17. Jesus, Lord from Hea­ven
  18. Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God
  19. Let the Peo­ple Praise Thee
  20. Lord God, to Thee Be Bless­ing
  21. Lord Je­sus, I Love thee
  22. Lord, We Would Not Dis­hon­or Thee
  23. Now Be Praise un­to Our God
  24. O Come, Let us Wor­ship Be­fore Our Great Lord
  25. O Come To­day to the Foun­tain
  26. O God, Do Thou Sus­tain Me
  27. O Soul, Do Not De­lay
  28. O That a Thou­sand Tongues I’d Trea­sure
  29. O Thou Al­migh­ty Lord and God
  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