With a smile on his face, having shed the constraints of this world, Pastor John William Ekhardt was embraced by his Lord on September 11th, 2021. His spirit was escorted to Heaven while he was surrounded by his wife and children. He will be so dearly missed by his family and friends. Very few people have lived and loved with the sincerity and integrity that was displayed in the life of Pastor John. In return, John was loved fiercely by scores of friends from across the country and by the family that was so dear to him.
John was born on February 2nd, 1953. He was the youngest child and the only son of the late William Ekhardt and Enes (Giacomelli) Ekhardt. John had two sisters, Sarah Lockhart (Al) and Enes Flora (John), both of whom preceded him in death.
John is survived by his wife, Elaine Louise (Oshaben) Ekhardt, whom he adored for 49 full and fruitful years. John and Elaine have faithfully served the Lord in a full-time capacity for the majority of their time together. Their love for and dedication to each other is only surpassed by the love which they shared for their Savior.
John is also survived by his five children who he loved more than words can sufficiently express: his first-born child and his only little girl, Stephanie Lynn Christon (Jamie) of Gamaliel, KY; his first-born son, William Edward of Gamaliel, KY, who selflessly served as John’s primary caregiver in John’s waning months; his namesake, John Joseph (Kayla) of Glasgow, KY; his world-traveling son, Edward Andrew (Janine) of Knoxville, TN; and his baby boy and old pal, Joshua Mark (Sheila) of Glasgow, KY. John was incredibly proud of the genuine, compassionate, and driven people that his children grew up to be. Because of his great love for them, John raised his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who they all fervently serve to this day.
Being a father to these five was the greatest joy in John’s life, rivaled only by that of being a grandfather. He loved each of his seven grandchildren with an unconditional and steadfast love. From oldest to youngest, his grandchildren are: Mia Elaina Carver, age 12; Lauren Mattie Ekhardt, age 11; William Anton Ekhardt, age 9; Audrey Alma Christon, age 9; Ella Claire Christon, age 8; John Evan William Christon, age 6; and Pop’s little buddy, Elias Grant Ekhardt, age 2. He is also survived by several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his nephew, William “Bill” Flora, who he regarded as a brother.
John was born in East Liverpool, Ohio. He attended Beaver Local High School, Class of 1971. He first matriculated at Youngstown State University, where he met his cherished Elaine. After the Lord redirected his career path, John attended Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, graduating with a degree in Ministry. He was passionate about his daily study of the Word of God and he devoted his life to ceaseless prayer. He never once wavered in his faith, even in the face of the most trying circumstances. He loved watching classic movies with his family. He was proud of a neatly trimmed lawn and a meticulously hand-washed vehicle. He enjoyed a good slice of pizza, peanut butter cups, and ice-cold root beer. In addition to the Ohio State Buckeyes, he was a longsuffering Pittsburgh Pirates fan as well as a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan. John was a talented bassist and gifted orator. Recordings of hundreds of his sermons and weekly devotions can be accessed at www.rlcgamaliel.blogspot.com
. John was proud of his roots in eastern Ohio and he also loved his adopted community of South Central Kentucky, especially the people of Monroe County, who he tirelessly served while working as a Family Support Specialist for the Department of Family and Children, wherefrom he retired after 14 years. Before, during, and after his 14 years with the State of Kentucky, John taught the unadulterated Word of God at Redeeming Love Church in Gamaliel, KY. Prior to his 23 years as the pastor of Redeeming Love Church, John and his wife Elaine were the Youth Ministers at Christian Assembly in Industry, PA. Throughout his life, John also worked in the steel mills of the Ohio River Valley, as a vice president of the Central Federal Savings & Loan, and briefly in sports journalism and high school education. He was a hard worker on the job and at home, until this illness slowed him. Though he was briefly limited physically, he never stopped loving or studying the Word. Pastor John delivered his final sermon less than one week before he met his Savior. If he were here right now, he would urge you to embrace the directive found in II Timothy 2:15 (King James Version): “Study to shew thyself approved, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” He would also encourage you to be certain of your eternity by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
At a date to be announced later, the family will be holding a memorial service. If you have pictures or stories of John that you would like to have included at the memorial, please send them to:
We hope that you will consider joining us in remembering and celebrating the life of husband, father, grandfather, and friend, John W. Ekhardt.
Thanks for smiling at us, Dad. We sure do miss you.
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