The Rev. Dr. John Robert Kilgore Sr. 93, of North Platte, formerly of Wallace, passed away Aug. 15, 2019, at Centennial Court, North Platte.
John was born April 12, 1926, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to John and Rita (Russell) Kilgore. He attended Lancaster Public Schools before entering the U.S. Army Air Force.
Following his discharge, John continued working on his education. From a young age, John sought God. It was while working at a Catholic social services dormitory for girls where he came to realize his call to the pastoral life. He would enter the Eastern Baptist Seminary, and subsequently, the ministry, as a United Methodist pastor. He served several churches in Pennsylvania before God called him to what seemed like an unlikely place in 1971 — Wallace.
John pastored the United Methodist Churches of Wallace, Grainton and Elsie for nearly 15 years. It was also at Wallace where he met his bride, Jeanette Hasenauer-Dawson, and the two were married on Dec. 2, 1972, at the church.
In 1985, the family moved to Dundy County, where John pastored the churches at Benkelman and Max. John had a heart for the people, which led to a series of retirements, and “un-retirements” to serve those without a pastor. He would go on to serve the churches at Maywood, Wellfleet and Haigler for these reasons. In 2017, John and Jeanette moved to Centennial Court in North Platte.
John embodied the idea of a community pastor. When it was time for a branding, there was John Kilgore in the thick of things. When it was harvest time, John might be driving the grain cart for a parishioner. When Wallace needed emergency services, John led the effort to get an ambulance and help train the EMTs. His ministry wasn’t restricted to a church office; his pulpit was out amidst the people of his community, who he loved. He was a good neighbor, a pastor, husband, father, fireman, EMT, sheriff, mayor, carpenter, teacher, harvester, truck driver, poet, leader of scout ministries and servant of God and His people. While training EMTs, John often taught about the “golden hour” when a trained person could make a substantial difference for the one in need of care. Thank you, Pastor John Kilgore, for all the golden hours you gave, making an extraordinary difference in the lives of those around you, for being the city boy who found a home in Wallace, and for being the hands and feet of Christ in the communities you served.
John was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law, Gary Pella; grandson, Matthew; brother, Harold Kilgore; parents-in-law, Herbert and Eunice Hasenauer.
Survivors include his wife, Jeanette, of North Platte; son, John (Kay) Kilgore Jr. of Maryland; daughter, Peg Kilgore-Pella of Missouri; sons, Michael (Fredda) Kilgore of Ohio, Pastor Tony (Kathryn) Dawson of York and Dr. Troy (Heather) Dawson of Neligh; 15 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren and many other relatives and good friends.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for later designation. Online condolences may be shared at bullocklongfuneralhome.com.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the Wallace United Methodist Church with Pastors Tony Dawson and Charles Nayamakope officiating. Burial will be at the Wallace Morning View Cemetery. Bullock-Long Funeral Home, Grant, is in charge of arrangements.