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Rev. John E. Catchem, preceded in death by his beautiful and beloved wife Janice, passed away on the evening of March 8, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. He died peacefully at home in the company of his family. He was 89.
John was born in Woodstock, KY on July 10, 1928, son of the late James Ervin Catchem & Sally (Abott) Denney. He was raised a genuine Kentucky hillbilly, and child of the Great Depression by his mother Sally and step father James Alexander Denney along side his brother Marion and sisters Dottie, Rosemary, Nancy, Charlotte, Essie and Lenzy.
John was a Korean War veteran, and was stationed in Germany as an army mechanic. While he served during wartime, he was always very humble and reserved in regard to his service, always paying mindful deference to the combat veterans who fought and died during the conflict.
In 1957, he moved to Linton and acted as pastor at the First Church of God until 1959, and also worked as a carpenter, building homes in the area. It was during this time he met his wife Janice, who he married in 1959. John served as pastor in other Indiana churches before returning to the Linton First Church of God in 1967, where he remained pastor until 1984. During this time, he and other church members constructed a new church in Linton.
Although he could have been ordained much earlier, it wasn’t until 1973 that he was ordained officially, believing that his works and the consensus of his peers would make him worthy of this honor, rather than a piece of paper.
As pastor, he flew with Project Partner doing mission work in Antigua and the Philippines where he ministered and aided in the construction of churches. He also flew to Guatemala in 1976 after an earthquake devastated the country aiding in its recovery and rebuilding efforts.
He helped establish the CICA Church Camp in Brooklyn, IN, as well as the Camp Challenge Youth Camp in Bedford, IN where he served on the Board of Directors.
John was a very active member of the community. He served in the Linton Ministerial Association. He was Civitan Chaplain, and was involved in the founding of the Linton Jr. Civitan. He was president of the United Way. He worked with the World Hunger Drives. He worked with former Mayor Risher in utilizing the band shell at the Linton Park for music during the 4th of July. During the Bicentennial Celebration on July 4th of 1976, he was honored by the Federated Clubs in Linton as Present Outstanding Citizen of the Community.
While John was known and achieved much in an official capacity as a minister and community member, it was his personal contribution to countless individuals over the years that defined the man that he was and how he will be remembered.
“His devotion to God was of a profound nature unseen in even the best of men. It was not a function of belief, or institution, brick and mortar, or ritual, or religion that my Grandfather was made. It was a transcendent expression of God’s love that he, as an instrument of God, channeled and translated and gave so freely and endlessly and equally to anyone that needed or asked. He understood something that has been seemingly lost or forgotten in the modern world. He understood that Christ’s message never ended, and that God writes new chapter and verse onto the souls of men with every act of kindness. We are a living continuation of Christ’s gospel. Of the many things my Grandpa taught me, that was the most important, and it's something he never said. It’s what I witnessed.” J.D.S.
He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer (Robert) Ringo of Linton and Jana (Todd) Cooksey of Lyons; grandchildren, Johnathan (Brandy) Stark, Josh Pittman, Jenalee Cooksey, Scott (Breanna) Cooksey and Jenica Ringo; siblings, James Marion Denney of Bloomingon, Dorothy Hindman of Edgewater, Florida, Rosemary Denney of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Georgia Schermer of West Chester, Ohio and Dori Ruckel of Florida; sister-in-law, Sharon Knoll and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Janice Sue Catchem; sister, Nancy Turner.
Funeral service will be held at First Church of God in Linton at 1:00 pm on Monday, March 12, 2018, with Rev. Kendall Hendrickson and Rev. Bill Berry officiating. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Linton, with military graveside rites by the American Legion Post #22 of Linton.
Visitation will be held at Welch & Cornett Funeral Home on Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 2:00-6:00 pm and at First Church of God from 11:00 am until the time of service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Children of Promise or Hope Hill Children's Home and Equine Center though the funeral home.