John Buswell was the beloved husband of LaVon Witmer Buswell and the loving father of Elizabeth and Kathleen. He was born in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1928, to Helen Spaulding Buswell and James Oliver Buswell, Jr., who was then president of Wheaton College.
Both John and LaVon graduated from Wheaton College in 1949 and were married that year. John completed a Master of Divinity from Faith Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, all the while pastoring in Philadelphia and Trenton. From 1963 to 1974 John served as Dean of Students and Professor of Practical Theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. There John and LaVon raised their two daughters, while LaVon taught in private school and directed the choir at Covenant Presbyterian Church. In 1974 John completed the Ph.D. in Education at Saint Louis University.
Following his love of the pastorate, in that year John joined the pastoral staff at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and then from 1980 to 1991 served as senior pastor of Seminole Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida. During those years Elizabeth married Rodney Stortz, and Kathleen married Niel Nielson – and the era of grandchildren began.
January 1, 1991, marked the beginning of John and LaVon’s life in Quarryville. John served as Chaplain of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community, where they loved ministering together and LaVon also directed the QPRC choir. Their lives were marked by regular family gatherings in summer and at Christmas, with eventually six grandchildren making their appearance—three sons to Kathleen and Niel, and three daughters to Elizabeth and Rodney.
In 1999 John and LaVon celebrated both their 50th anniversary and their retirement, moving to St. Louis for the next seven years. They enjoyed being close to Elizabeth’s family and were privileged to encourage and help during Rodney’s cancer that took him home to be with the Lord in 2003. Those years brought joyful weddings of grandchildren and the beginning flow of great-grandchildren that now number 14 in all. John took great delight in each new child, baptized many of them, and prayed with thanksgiving for God’s blessing from generation to generation.
John and LaVon have enjoyed the last ten years together as residents of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community. Even in retirement John enjoyed ministering to all those around him. His daughter Elizabeth was diagnosed with a brain disease and preceded him to heaven by one month. We rejoice that John now lives in the presence of the Lord Jesus whom he loved so dearly and proclaimed so faithfully.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, at 3:00 PM, in the Ellingsworth Auditorium of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community, in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.