John Spaulding ’56

Reverend Dr. John Henry Spaulding was born on October 30, 1933 in Delray, Michigan, to Ivabel and Henry (Daddy Hank) Spaulding. He passed away on Friday, February 14, 2020.

His older brothers were Robert Bruce Spaulding (Margaret) and James Mason Spaulding (Jean), now deceased. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, graduated from Hope College, Holland, Michigan, with a B.A. in Philosophy. He graduated from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister and served the Presbyterian Church, USA more than 63 years.

He married Patricia (Patti) Burrus, in 1957, while in Seminary. Their children are Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Spaulding-Rodriguez, Bruce John Spaulding (Kallie), and Ruth Ann Laws (Michael). Three handsome young men are grandsons, Alexander (Alex) Spaulding Laws, William (Will) Bruce Spaulding, and Samuel (Sam) John Spaulding.

John always a seeker of knowledge and truth, graduated with a Masters of Theology from Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, and a Dr. of Theology degree from Pittsburgh Seminary. When he retired in January, 2001, he completed work to be a Spiritual Direction Leader, a Certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator, a Teacher of the Spirituality of the Enneagram, a Dream Leader, and a program of study for Mandalas, a Holistic Reflection of the Self. His first parish was as a student in Zenda, Wisconsin, then moved to Chicago, Illinois. For 35 years he was pastor of the Jefferson Presbyterian Church, Jefferson, Louisiana, while also serving the Gheens Presbyterian Church in Lafourche Parish. After retirement, he continued to serve Gheens and began to serve Carolyn Park Presbyterian Church in Arabi, Louisiana. For a period of time, he was Moderator of the Chinese Presbyterian Church, often preaching, as well. He preached at the Berean Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church.

He had a great love of history, and was a member and served as a long-time Treasurer of the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest. He also served on the Board of the Presbyterian Historical Society, helping plan conferences for churches to learn how to record and celebrate histories of churches. In an interview for the Picayune he said, “I suppose you could call me old school. When people ask me to serve, I can’t say no. The call from God to serve as a minister comes from the people I serve. There is a voice within me and I try to respond to that voice with service. I want to be obedient to that voice.” Surely, the Master will say, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

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