The Breeze-Courier (Taylorvill, Ill.)
Rev. Dr. John Garver, 88, of Savoy, IL passed away at 5:35 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2011 at Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana.
Rev. Garver was born January 13, 1923 in Decatur, IL to John Milton and Grace Greenwood Price Garver. He married Patricia (Patsy) Patrick on July 5, 1947 and was blessed with 48 years of love and happiness until Patsy died of cancer October 2, 1995. Their marriage was blessed with the birth of two sons, John Patrick Garver and David Paul Garver. Rev. Garver had eight grandchildren (Ryan, Andrew, Stephen, Matthew, Paul, Mandy, Joel, and Melissa) and five great-grandchildren (Aiden, Colton, Lincoln, Andrew, and Madalyn). He kept albums of all of the children, their letters and photos, and provided wonderful memories for them to remember him by. He loved all of them dearly.
Dr. Garver graduated from Decatur High School as Valedictorian; he enlisted in the Army Air Force in WWII while a student at Millikin University, and served his country from 1943-1946 as an aircraft armorer for fighter pilot training. While attending First Baptist Church in Abilene, TX. God called him into the ministry. Upon discharge from the service in 1946, he returned to Millikin University and later attended Shurtleff College to study Greek. After he graduated there, he moved to Boston to receive his ministerial training at Andover Newton Theological School. He served as a Youth Pastor at Wakefield Baptist Church, his first experience in the ministry - little did he know that he would be serving for 50 plus years after that! Rev. Garver was selected by the faculty to be the class speaker at his seminary graduation and then began his work in the ministry. He was ordained on July 1, 1951 by his home church, First Baptist Church of Decatur, IL.
He served as the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Marengo, IL for six years, the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylorville, IL for eight years, and the Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Quincy, IL for 21 years. When Rev. Garver retired after 35 years of pastoring churches in 1986, he moved to Champaign, IL and was an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Champaign in Savoy for 15 years, and after 50 years of ministry, he retired in 2001. For 30 years, he was a Trustee of Judson University and was honored with a Doctor’s Degree. Highlights of his experiences include a two-week preaching mission to Haiti, a Holy Land Odyssey Tour, and being selected as one of the first Merrill Fellows at Harvard Divinity School for a three-month study of church renewal. Rev. Garver has written, edited, and published eight books, which he gives away as part of his ministry to others. Over 2,000 copies of “Comfort in Sorrow” have been given away.
Rev. Garver is survived by his sister Mrs. William (Betty) Berte of Palo Alto, CA, his brother-in-law William and their three children: Carol, Marjorie (Mrs. Jerry O’Kane) and Andrew.