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John Savoia

d. March 9, 2019

Hillsboro – John Savoia, 91, passed away March 9, 2019 at Parkside Home in Hillsboro.  He was born June 5, 1927 in Piermont, New York.  He married Lola Stratman December 11, 1981 in Hillsboro.  Survivors include: wife, Lola Savoia of Hillsboro; sons, John S. Savoia of Boston, MA, Timothy Savoia of Fresno, CA;  daughter, Ruth Savoia Restrepo of Austin, Texas; step sons, Robert Kim Washmon of Leadville, CO, Gregory Washmon of Hillsboro; step daughters, Terri Todd of Whitewater, Cynthia Fleming of Hillsboro, Janis McIntyre of Edmond, OK; sisters, Anna Lepori, Connie Dillon, and Etta Pippi; 13 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.  Predeceased by his first wife Daphyn Savoia in 1981 and a daughter Deboria Savoia Beman in 2016.  Celebration of Life Service 11:00 a.m. Thursday, March 14, 2019 at Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro.  Memorials to M.B. Missions in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063.  Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com

Life Sketch Taken From the Funeral Bulletin

The year was 1927, a hot June day, when Jeremiah and Erminia Savoia received their fifth child, John Salvatore Savoia, into their hearts and home.  In his early years the family lived in a home with only electricity and running water, no bathroom, no heating, no parlor, no comforts, just the necessities.  The outhouse was in the backyard perched on the edge of a creek.   A large coal stove was on the first floor of the three-story house.  It was the only heat in the house and was used for cooking.  In 1938 the house was destroyed by fire which started in a neighbors house.

John began his spiritual walk, around the age of 9 or 10, through his mother’s weekly bible classes for the children living in their neighborhood.  After his first year of high school John quit school. His desire was to be out in the exciting world.  John couldn’t explain how he felt, but he was seeking to become a more worldly person. During this time, John knew that God was seeking and drawing him to Himself.

With the consent of his parents John joined the navy, at the age of 17 during World War II. He served in the Philippines.  He was drawn to the Filipino people and tried to learn their language.

After his military service he returned home where his mother was attending CMA Simpson Memorial Church, in Nyack, NY.  He began attending church sporadically and later joined the youth choir and attended Sunday School.  One night, at the Sunday night evangelical service, he had a break through. He went forward to the alter, committing his life to Jesus.  He was born again, in the spirit. God began a new work in his life.

John said God called him to be a Missionary.  He envisioned himself returning to the Philippines.  He enrolled at the Nyack Missionary College in 1944 with the help of the G I Bill.  He completed his GED and received his high school diploma.

While attending Nyack Missionary College he met and fell in love with Daphyn Smith, who was attending the college.  They were married July 2, 1949.  John graduated in June, 1951 and on July 4ththeir first child, Deborah, was born.  Their first missionary assignment was on the Texas border where they were sent as volunteers, self-supporting missionaries.  This was a preliminary requirement, after which they would become foreign missionaries in two to three years.

Their first mission was in Brownsville, Texas.  Son Johnny was born in Brownsville in 1953.  John was an independent missionary during this time.  In Edinburg, Texas John met Alvin Neufelt who introduced him to the Mennonite Brethren Mission.  John and Daphyn met many MB Missionaries while in the Edinburg, TX area.  John then joined the Premont, Texas MB Church.  Their first Mennonite Brethren assignment was to “la Casita”, a community in Starr County, north of Mission and Garciasville, Texas. In 1956 they relocated to La Grulla, Texas.  In 1957 Tim was born, then Ruth in 1958.

John felt the desire to serve God in Colombia.  In 1959 he applied to M.B. Seminary in Fresno, CA to prepare for that service.   In 1961 the family went to San Jose, Costa Rica to become more proficient in the Spanish language.  1962 found them beginning their twenty years of service in Colombia, South America.  In 1968 Daphyn was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.  Daphyn went to meet the Lord in May 1981 in Hillsboro, KS.  John grieved inwardly throughout Daphyn’s condition and suffering.  When she passed John was at peace knowing she was with the Lord she loved and served.

God knew John needed a help mate. Shortly after Daphyn’s death he met and courted Lola  Washmon, a widow who lived across the street in Hillsboro.  They were married in December, 1981 and began a new chapter in life.

John cited in his memoirs the proverb “Cast your bread on the waters and it will return to you again”.   After the death of Lola’s first husband she gave his jacket, to the EtCetera Shop. The jacket returned to her three years later with John in it.

John and Lola began their first assignment in 1982 in Guadalajara, Mexico where John served as interim pastor for a year, while Lola learned Spanish.  In 1983 they were re-assigned to Colombia where he was a church planter and evangelism missionary. He was also assigned the responsibility to be a pastor to pastors and was named to the Colombian National Elder’s Team.

After seven years of service in Colombia it was time for them to leave Colombia and allow other capable national leaders to carry their work forward.

They then went to Queretaro, Mexico, leading a group of young Christians and new converts with the vision of planting a church.  They turned that over to a national pastor in 1992 and retired from active missionary service.

They moved to Edmond, Oklahoma where they joined the Memorial Road M. B. Church. In 1996 they moved back to Hillsboro, KS where their live together began.

Survivors: Children – John (Irene) Savoia, Boston, MA; Tim (Carla) Savoia; Fresno, CA; Ruth Restropo, Austin, TX.

Siblings: Anna Lepori, Piermont, NY; Etta Pippi, Sparkill, NY; Connie Dillon, Sparkill, NY

Step-children – Terrie Todd, Whitewater, KS; Cynthia (Roger) Fleming, Hillsboro, KS; Janis McIntyre. Edmond, OK; Kim (Nicole) Washmon, Leadville, CO and Greg (Donna Spoonemore) Washmon, Hillsboro, KS.

Grandchildren – Richard Beman, Jay (Erin) Restrepo, Marcos Savoia, Jack (Lucy) Savoia, Rachel (Brooks) Patterson, Caleb Savoia, Faith Savoia

Step Grandchildren – Shawn (Mike) Vondenkamp, Jessie (Jake) Wiebe, Monte Dalke, Mikki (Seth) Larson, Benjamin Washmon, Kris (Stacy) Baker, Whitney Darcy

Nine step-Great Grandchildren and three great-great step-grandchildren.

Deceased: Brother – Jerry Savoia; Sisters – Teresa Bossice, Michael Savoia, and Myra Bicknell. Daughter – Deborah Beman; Son-in laws – Richard Beman & Alberto Restropo; Step-grandsons – Darrin Jost, Kory Baker & Vince Nikkel.

An Invitation from John:

My beloved brothers and sisters

Is God speaking to you today to follow Him more fully?  Has He moved you by His spirit to commit your life to Him in more active service?  He is faithful-He will see you through.

The Lord knows the way through the wilderness.  All we have to do is follow Him.


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4 thoughts on “John Savoia

  1. My older brother, “Jackie.” He evoked admiration , even as a youngster! He was a popular and gregarious man. For me, a good role model,foremost , in observing his devotion to His Lord and His calling on his life, He loved his children so very much and his only concern was that they walked with God. In reality that was his concern for his entire family and the people he had the privilege of ministering to. He was a loving caring and considerate son, husband, father and a loving brother to his 8 siblings. For that and so much more, I thank My Lord.

  2. “Juanito” (“little John”) is home. His legacy of love for the Lord is fixed in the hearts of those of us who had the privilege of knowing the Lord through Juanito’s teachings and testimony. We thank the Lord for his life and are consoled in the certainty of seeing him again after the Lord comes back. Is HIS promise!
    Carlos D. Corredor

  3. John or Jack as our family called him, was the one who stole
    our sisters heart and was the first “in-law” to our family when he married Daphyn. We soon took him in as “family”!
    We were proud of them both as they served as missionaries!
    We know how much Jack loved the Lord and desired for others to come
    and know Jesus as he did!
    He looked forward to the day of his home going and finally his longing has become a reality!
    To those still here……rejoice in the hope of seeing your dad/ grandfather again if you too have received the Lord and love him as Jack did!
    Aunt Mary

  4. Yes, John’s family was so blessed to be able to be a part of our brothers funeral via Live Stream. It was such a blessing for his 85,87 and 96 year old sisters . Also for many other family members. We were there in spirit. Thank you so very much.

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