MOUNT VERNON — Pastor John Vickers Spahr Sr., a retired member of the Western PA Conference of the United Methodist Church, died at home in Mount Vernon Aug. 7, 2018.

Born Dec. 3, 1947, in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, Pastor John was raised in Tarentum, Allegheny County. He is a graduate of Tarentum High School, Heidelberg College and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He was ordained a deacon in 1971 courtesy of the Northern CA Nevada Conference, Bishop Charles Golden and an elder on June 15, 1975, by Bishop Roy C. Nichols.

First appointed as a student pastor to the Natrona UMC, he was appointed pastor to the First UMC, Youngsville 1974-1979; the McKeesport Highland Grove and Green Valley Charge 1979-1981; First UMC in Beaver Falls 1981-1984; Grace UMC in Punxsutawney 1984-1992; First UMC in Emporium and Moore Hill Charge 1992-2000; Grace UMC in Warren from 2000-2007, and Stone UMC, Meadville 2007-2011.

In addition to his pastoral ministry, Pastor Spahr served as a camp counselor and dean; a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Board of Directors of Wesley Woods and the Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. He served on the Conference Board of Education, chairing for two years; Conference Committee on Conference Sessions, chairing for four years and served as Legislative Floor Manager of the Annual Conference for 16 years.

He and his wife Janet, whom he married in 1971, served as a presentation team of Marriage Encounter-United Methodist. In addition to his church work, Pastor Spahr enjoyed camping, theater, music and reading.

Survivors include his wife, Janet; sons, John Jr. (Kelly) of Tiffin, Matthew of Mount Vernon; and daughter, Margaret Jeanne Spahr (Michael Kilhoffer) of Coudersport, Pennsylvania; grandson, John III; step-grandchildren, Zachary Mitchell, Seth Mitchell, Gabrielle Mitchell and Dina Mitchell; brothers, David (Delores) Spahr of Pittsburgh, Jim (Jackie) Spahr of Lakeport, California; and sister, Margaret Melinda (Denny) Scheid of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; sister-in-law, Dr. Jane Adams Spahr of San Francisco, California; brother and sister-in-law Dr. Charles and Judy Bungo; nephews, Jim (Rhonda) Spahr II, Chesterfield (Teresa) Spahr, David R Spahr IV, Zachary Scheid, Chuck Bungo; and niece, Judith Jeanne Bungo.

There will be no visitation. The family will celebrate John’s life with a service at a date and time to be determined.

The Lasater Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for the Spahr family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to: Esophageal Cancer Action Network (, United Methodist Committee on Relief ( or your local community hospice.

To express a condolence or to leave a memory, please visit


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