Former First Wayne Street UMC pastor Rev. John Wolf died January 9 at the age of 100.
Services are scheduled for January 18 in Valparaiso, IN.
Rev. Wolf was the first pastor to serve the merged First Wayne Street United Methodist Church. He graduated from Oberlin College and received his divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, studying under theologians Paul Tillich, Harry Emerson Fosdick and his advisor, Reinhold Niebuhr, a great influence on his lifetime ethics. With Niebuhr’s counsel, he left pacifism and enlisted in the US Navy as the youngest chaplain in the Navy to serve the troops in World War II.
Among other combat medals, he was awarded a Bronze Star at Iwo Jima.
Following the war, he became a member of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church where he served churches in Vevey, Evansville, Martinsville, South Bend, Hammond, Fort Wayne and Valparaiso. He also served as the South Bend District Superintendent for six years.
Rev. Wolf was always a voice for civil rights, women’s rights and social justice issues. He received an honorary doctorate from DePauw University and was named a “Sagamore of the Wabash” for his efforts for social justice and his crusade against organized gambling. He is survived by his three sons and numerous grand and great-grandchildren.