John Washburn

Category: Obituaries
Created on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 15:11
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 John E. Washburn, of Newport, Vt., who once served as pastor at Sitka’s United Methodist Church, died Feb. 11, 2013, in Burlington, Vt. He was 71.
A service celebrating John’s life will be held on Sunday, July 21, at 4 p.m. at St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church, Juneau.
John was born Dec. 12, 1941, in San Luis Obispo Calif., the son of John J. and P. Aline Washburn.
John received several science fair awards during his high school years and had dreams of a career in aeronautics or nuclear chemistry. But his career path changed during junior college after a life-changing conversion experience.  Consequently, he completed his undergraduate studies at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.,  and went on to graduate from the San Francisco Theological Seminary  in 1970 with a doctor of ministry degree.                                                                               
John was associate professor of Christian Education at Scarritt College in Nashville, Tenn., and later was on staff at churches in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Okla., and Shreveport, La.
His sense of adventure led him to Fairbanks and, while on church staff there, he was ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church in 1987.  He subsequently served as pastor at Anchor Park United Methodist in Anchorage and at Sitka United Methodist.
In 1988 he left the ministry and  founded Software Sharing Ministries and spent many years developing computer software for churches and church schools.
Everyone who knew John experienced his disarming wit and sense of humor. He challenged the status quo and had a huge heart for the underdog.  
John met Sheryl (Reinke) Johnson in Sitka, and they were married on July 22, 1988. They also lived in Tacoma, Wash., Sterling, Colo., Juneau, Moscow, Idaho, and Newport.
John is survived by his wife Sheryl of Newport; sister Jeane (Chris) Avilla, of Union City, Calif.; and nephews, Jim and John Harrison, also of California.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to St. Brendan’s, 4207 Mendenhall Loop Road, Juneau (for their Christian education building fund or Galley ministry), or to the charity of your choice.
Condolences may be sent through the funeral home website at or to 395 Memphremagog Views, Newport, VT 05855.