Rev. John Peter Meyer 1932-2019
Rev. John Peter Meyer
Rev. John Peter Meyer, 86, died of cancer on May 8, 2019, at his home outside Woodford. He was cared for by his family, a wonderful team from Monroe Clinic Hospice and by pastors, Andrew Ewings and Nathan Strutz of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Monroe, where John was a member. A funeral service was held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15 with visitation from 10-10:45 a.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church, 1603 16th Ave., Monroe. Rev. Andrew Ewings and Rev. Nathan Strutz co-officiated. Burial took place at Miller Cemetery in Wiota.
John cherished his Savior, taking care to teach and preach God's word clearly and simply, and living his life by it. He was a kind, supportive, down-to-earth father, uncle, and grandfather, who modeled how to respect and love their neighbors as themselves. While sad to have lost him, his family is happy he is now united with his loving Jesus in the heaven he devoted his life to shepherding other Christians toward.
John was born on July 9, 1932, the son of Louis and Gertrude (Waidelich) Meyer. He grew up in Sterling and Allegan, Mich. John's father and both of his grandfathers were Lutheran ministers, and his own education prepared him for the same calling. He attended boarding school in Saginaw at Michigan Lutheran Seminary High School (class of 1950), received a B.A. in 1954 from Northwestern College in Watertown and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Thiensville in 1958.
John earned money for school picking fruit alongside migrant farmworkers in Michigan orchards and in a canning factory. One summer he worked on a conservation crew cleaning up a river. As a seminary student, he cleaned houses in a wealthy Milwaukee-area lakeshore neighborhood.
John's life took a bright turn when, as a young seminarian, he moved to Madison to serve as the very first vicar of Calvary Lutheran Student Chapel at the University of Wisconsin. While holding a session of an inquire class there, he caught the attention of a red-haired nursing student from Wiota, Barbara Jane Eastwood. On July 26, 1958, at Calvary chapel, John and Barb began a loving, egalitarian marriage that would endure over 60 years. Together they washed the dishes, cleaned the house and raised eight self-reliant children who kept their dad company while he worked from home in the parsonage 'study.'
John was a minister of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), first in the vegetable and dairy farming communities of Friesland (Trinity) and Dalton (Grace) from 1958-1967, then 1967-2000 in the northwoods of Rib Lake (St. John's) and Spirit (Zion). In 2000, after he and Barb retired and moved from Rib Lake to Woodford, John often filled in for WELS pastors on vacation.
As a rural Wisconsin pastor, John was humble, kind and easy to get along with. He laughed easily and always enjoyed visiting with parishioners and neighbors who shared his other vocation, gardening! He grew every kind of northern vegetable, plus raspberries and apples, inspiring many of his children as well as 4-H youth to follow suit. He and Barb canned, made jams and filled the freezer with sweet corn, squash and green beans. He is perhaps best known for his love for and production of all kinds of pickles, sauerkraut and for making delicious coleslaw.
Young John Meyer was an excellent basketball player. He indulged his own children on the backyard court even when his back and knees knew better, maintaining a commitment to the two-hand set shot 'til the end. He also apprenticed the whole Meyer clan into his card-playing family, sheepshead, anyone?
John loved reading, especially historical novels. He was a devoted fan of the Badgers and Packers and of Wisconsin Public Radio. A long weekend watching TV sports might end with Masterpiece Theater and the Metropolitan Opera.
John served on the boards of the Rib Lake Public Library and Hope Hospice, where he was also a chaplain. After retirement to southern Wisconsin, he and Barb became active with Home and Community Education (HCE) and the Lafayette County Democrats. He was on the Miller Cemetery Board and was the county coordinator of HCE's Wisconsin Bookworms, a read-aloud program providing books to young children.
John is survived by his wife, Barbara; his children, Stephanie Eastwood of Woodford, Christine Meyer of Wiota, Philip (Jennifer Topping) Meyer of Portland, Ore., Kathryn (Timothy) Smith of New Ulm, Minn., Carolyn Meyer and Peter (Shannon) Meyer of Madison, David Meyer of Davenport, Iowa and Jennifer (Jerod) Schroeder of Greenfield; his grandchildren, Elsa (Ryan) Hull, Maisie and Gabriel Topping, Jonathan, Benjamin, Peter and Eric Smith, Alex Meyer, Cullan and Duncan Meyer and Abbie and Adam Schroeder; and his siblings-in-law, Carol Meyer, Basil and Barbara Eastwood and Elton Eastwood
John was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Louis Meyer.
Erickson Funeral Home in Argyle is serving the family. To share online condolences visit www.ericksonfuneralhome.com. A memorial fund has been established in John's name.