In Memory of




Obituary for John L. Horst

John L. Horst - Associate Professor Emeritus, Millersville University, World Traveler, Horst Family Genealogy researcher, Awesome Grandpa

John Landis Horst was born at home in Ephrata, PA on Jan. 10, 1923 to Titus S. and Mary (Landis) Horst. He passed away peacefully on November 25, 2019 at Garden Spot Village, at the age of 96.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Carolyn. He is also survived by a daughter: Susanne Horst (Eugene) Brenneman of Kinzers; and 3 sons: David K. (Vonnie Lausch) Horst of Akron; Mark J. (Luanne) Horst of Ephrata; and Dan R. Horst (Diane) of Lititz; and daughter-in-law Dawn Horst of Lititz. John was also survived by the following grandchildren: Nathan (Tina) Brenneman of Strasburg, Cristy (Doug Albert) Brenneman of Dallas, TX : Rebecca(Jay) Lammey of Lancaster; Peter (Becca) Brenneman of Philadelphia; Heather (Patrick) Currie; Heidi (David) Hynd of Brisbane in Queensland in Australia; J. Ryan Horst of Lebanon; Stephanie (Eric) O’Conner of Salt Lake City UT; Mark James Horst of Groveland, FL and Amanda Horst of Pittsburgh and granddaughter in law, Amy Wiek (Shawn Weit) of Lititz. He was very proud of his great-grandchildren: Karli and Madison Brenneman, Keeton Konzelmann, Titus and Roscoe Brenneman, Alexander and Quinn Currie; Hudson Hynd; and Olivia and Tanner Weik; Naomi and Abe O’Conner. John was also survived by his sister Martha Kurtz Gascho of New Holland and brother T. Glenn Horst of Akron.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son Jonathan L Horst in January 2019, grandson, Dale Weik and a brother Ray E. Horst.

After graduation from Ephrata High School in 1941, John enrolled in Eastern Mennonite University but was drafted in 1943. As a conscientious objector, John spent the war years serving in Civilian Public Service in Mulberry, FL area where he served on a Public Health hookworm control project. His unit was assigned to serve in an impoverished black and white community where they constructed and installed a large number of sanitary toilets throughout the community. When the war was over John completed his enlistment by serving as a Seagoing Cowboy. Seagoing Cowboys tended livestock on ships sent to war ravaged countries during 1946 after the hostilities ended. John went on 4 tours transporting impregnated cattle and horses to Germany. This Seagoing program has evolved into the Heifer Project.

After completing this Seagoing cowboy service, John took his beloved middle-aged, Aunt Anna on tour through southern United States, ending in California. Anna decided to fly home to get married, leaving John in California. After doing several jobs, he ended up teaching at a school in Earlimont, CA where he met a fellow teacher, Carolyn Peterson. They were married 6 months after they started dating.

John completed his studies at Eastern Mennonite during summers, finally graduating in 1951. In 1961, he took his family of 7 to Boulder CO to obtain his MBS at University of Colorado.

The family than moved to Akron, PA where John taught science at Ephrata High School, before moving to teaching Biology and eventually Techniques of Science Education at Millersville University. When he retired from Millersville University in 1988, he was awarded Associate Professor, Emeritus status.

John spent many semester breaks in Switzerland, researching his Horst ancestors. He learned to speak PA Dutch in his grandparent’s home, and German in high school. He was fluent in German and used those skills as a young man during between the seagoing cowboy breaks, as well as his numerous trips to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

He loved to travel and meet people of many cultures. John and Carolyn spend 6 months on a sabbatical, visiting Universities all around the world, on a special ticket that provided air transportation as long as they traveled only east.

After retirement, John and Carolyn became snowbirds and loved spending winters at their cottage in Pinecraft Community in Sarasota, FL. John taught his children to love to camp, hike and travel. Hikes often included a science lesson, looking for fossils, lichens or looking for trap-door spiders. A hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with Susie and Jon in 1964, included a discussion of the time periods of the rocks, and discovery of various lizards.

John was a member of the Akron Mennonite Church. He quietly shared his faith by example.

A viewing will be held Friday, November 29, 2019, from 1 to 2 pm, at the Akron Mennonite Church, 1311 Diamond St., Akron, followed by his funeral service at 2 pm, with Chaplain Marian Harnish officiating. Interment will take place in the adjoining church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Mennonite Disaster Relief, c/o Mennonite Central Committee, P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA, 17501 or the Heifer Project at

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Inc., Akron/Ephrata.