On Saturday morning, Pastor Howard and I had the privilege to conduct the funeral service for long-time member, John Wilbur. The attendance was tremendous and was of great encouragement to the family. The following information comes from the handout that was distributed to family and friends who attended the service.
John Clinton Wilbur was born on November 12, 1936, in Johnson City, New York, as the fourth child of Earl Clinton and Gladys Doane Wilbur. he came after two boys were lost during pregnancy following John’s older sister, Lois. Raised on a small farm in northern Pennsylvania, John learned his hard work ethic at a young age by helping with all of the daily farm chores.
After losing is mother at age 11 and being raised by his sister, who was five years older, and saddened father, life became difficult. John’s mother knew the Lord and faithfully served Him right up until the time of her death. His father was a preacher but became discouraged when he couldn’t support his family and stopped serving the Lord when John was only three. Praise God, a hired hand on the farm took John to church where he accepted the Lord as his Savior in his early teen years.
At the age of 17, John lost his fingers in a farm accident and a year later contracted Bulbar Polio, which almost took his life. After graduating from Harpursville Central high School in 1955, he began working at Demerees Garage as a parts runner. It was then that a friend invited him to a birthday party where he met Winona. They soon fell in love and he made the second best decision of his life. They were married on September 28, 1957.
John and Winona had seven children in nine years, taking the verse, “be fruitful and multiply”, to new heights. The work ethic that he had learned on the farm helped him to provide for his large family. The Wilbur family visited Tucson in 1972 at the invitation of close friends, Dick and Pat Kishbaugh. They attended Tucson Baptist Temple both Sundays during that visit and quickly fell in love with TBT, as well as with February’s weather. They began making plans to relocate their family, and in February of 1974, made Tucson home and joined TBT.
John’s playful personality and easy going manner made most people very comfortable, and he could easily put a smile on their face. He enjoyed bantering back and forth, making up strange names (George Brown) and teasing others. he made sure to welcome newcomers and they would soon look forward to what name (Lucy Jones) he might call them.
The Lord entrusted John with various health issues, the last being cancer which quickly spread throughout his body. His family could not be more proud of him, as he faced his new battle with the measure of grace the Lord gave him, keeping his smile and cantankerous nature to the very end. The Lord promoted him to Glory at 11:30 on Friday night, May 11, 2012. We can imagine the Lord called to Gladys and saying, “Come meet your son at the pearly gate”, as they were able to enjoy their first Mother’s Day together in 65 years.
John and his infectious smile will be missed at TBT. John never missed a service and I do wonder, WHO will replace John at TBT? Who will stand in the gap?