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Home >> >> The 464th in WWII >> The Last Sortie >> Chaplain John H. Eastwood

The Last Sortie

[Photo] Chaplain John H. Eastwood in his tent at Pantanella.

Chaplain John H. Eastwood

13 February 2007

[Photo] Chaplain John H. Eastwood and his bride, Shirley, on their wedding day.
John and Shirley Eastwood

   Dr. John H. Eastwood was called home on 13 February, 2007. He died peacefully at ninety-five years of age. John had remained active, even after his open heart surgery four and a half years prior to his death.
   John was born, and grew up, on his parentís farm in Pawnee, Neb. It was there that he confessed his faith in Christ and joined the Mission Creek Presbyterian Church.
   He graduated from Tarkio College in 1935. After graduation, John traveled to Assiut Egypt where he taught English for 3 years. When he returned to the States, John attended Princeton Seminar and received his degree in Theology in 1941.
   John's first ministry was in Minden, Neb., where he met Shirley. John and Shirley were married in 1943 at her parentís home near Souix City, Iowa.
   John enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the 464th Bombardment Group in Italy. As the Group's chaplain, he ministered to the servicemen who flew the bombing missions in the WWII European theater. John was deeply affected by this time and never hesitated to share the love and honor he felt for the men who knew the cost of service.
   At the end of the war John accepted a calling as minister at the First United Presbyterian Church of Monmouth, Ill., where he also taught at Monmouth College.
   In 1949, John and Shirley adopted 6 month old twins, Mark and Martha. At the same time the couple brought a grandmother and her two grandchildren, who were part of a family escaping from Soviet dominated Latvia in Northeastern Europe, into their home. The grandmother and grandchildren resided with the Eastwoods for the next 2 years.
   In 1953 the family of 4 moved to Hammond, Ind., to minister at Covenant Presbyterian Church. This community was on the upswing, and the Lord used John to infuse it with his love for people through the message of the grace of Jesus Christ.
   In 1958, John and Shirley adopted two more children, David and Rebecca. During his years of service, John touched the lives of many people.
   After retiring at 85, he remained active in every way. He enjoyed his life with Shirley, their 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. John kept bees, organized a congregation, preached and compiled two books of his sermons. John and Shirley remained active with the congregation that they came to serve in 1953.
   His love for all of this had its roots on the farm in Pawnee, Neb., where he grew up. From his Hammond home, he sold the fruits of his beekeeping labors. This was just one more way that people came into contact with John Eastwood. He had a heart for people, not just the people of the church, but all people. He didn't hesitate to approach strangers, whether in the familiar setting of the church building or on the outside.
   These words of kindness came from a young man that John saw become a pastor...
       The book of John contains these words, "There was a man sent from God whose name was John" and indeed that man was sent to Hammond a long time ago, but will live forever with His Savior.
       The book of Genesis says "There were giants in the land" and today we are one giant less in our world.
     I have no memories of the important days in my life without John Eastwood. As a true man of God, Pastor knew how to share the good and bad times, and be an encouragement through them both.

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