Obituary For Reverend Dr. John P. Ragsdale, Beloved Pastor And Servant 2024




Remembering the Life and Legacy of Dr. John P. Ragsdale




Remembering the Life and Legacy of Dr. John P. Ragsdale

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, the Reverend Dr. John P. Ragsdale, a revered missionary, educator, and servant of God, passed away peacefully at the age of 85.

A Life Dedicated to Service

Born in South Africa on September 7, 1938, to missionary parents Paul and Frances Ragsdale, John’s life was marked by service to others.

He returned to the United States in 1955 to attend Eastern Pilgrim College, where he met his wife, Shirley Wensel. Together, they pursued a life of ministry, marrying in 1959 and welcoming two daughters, Wendy and Crystal.

Dr. Ragsdale earned a Doctor of Education degree from Lehigh University in 1969, equipping himself for a career that would span education, missions, and church leadership.

Missionary Journey to Zambia

From 1964 to 1972, Dr. Ragsdale and his family served as missionaries in Zambia, Africa. During this time, they dedicated themselves to spreading the gospel and empowering local communities.

Their service in Zambia laid the foundation for a lifetime of global impact.

Leadership and Education

After returning from Zambia, Dr. Ragsdale served as a missions’ professor and Vice President for Academic Affairs at United Wesleyan College in Allentown, PA. He eventually became President of the college, leading it to new heights of excellence.

In 1990, he joined the Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown, PA as Director of Development, where he played a vital role in securing resources for the institution’s growth.

Dr. Ragsdale’s passion for education extended beyond the classroom. He actively supported the Seeds and Water Collective, a faith-based organization founded by his nephew, Rev. Aaron Thomas. The organization provides education and resources to marginalized communities around the world.

Global Impact through Ministries

In 1994, the Evangelical Congregational Church elected Dr. Ragsdale to serve as the Director of Global Ministries for the denomination. This role allowed him to expand his influence worldwide, supporting missionaries and empowering churches in various contexts.

Even after his retirement in 2005, Dr. Ragsdale continued to serve actively. He accepted the call to pastor First Evangelical Congregational Church in Reading, PA until its merger in 2012.

Throughout his life, Dr. Ragsdale dedicated himself to equipping and inspiring countless individuals. He preached, taught, and mentored, sharing his knowledge and passion for the gospel.

Legacy and Remembrances

Dr. Ragsdale leaves behind a legacy of faith, service, and impact. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and a cherished friend to many.

He is survived by his wife, Myrtle Wieand, his daughters Wendy and Crystal, his siblings Rachel, Carol, Ruth, and Jim, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dr. Ragsdale’s passing has been met with deep sorrow and a profound sense of loss. His life and work have touched countless lives, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

Visitation and Memorial Services

A visitation for Dr. Ragsdale will be held on Thursday, May 30, 2024 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Bean Funeral Home, 3825 Penn Ave, Sinking Spring.

Friends and family are invited to a visitation from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. followed by an 11:00 a.m. worship service and giving thanks for John’s life on Friday, May 31, 2024 at Zion Evangelical Congregational Church, 57 N. Church St, Mohnton, PA.

Entombment will take place privately on Saturday, June 1st.

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Global Ministries Community of the EC Church, 100 W. Park Ave, Myerstown PA 17067 or to the Seeds and Water Collective, 7657 Carriage House Way, Zionsville, IN 46077.

Dr. John P. Ragsdale’s life was a testament to the power of faith, service, and love. His legacy will continue to inspire and empower individuals and communities around the world for years to come.



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