The Reverend John Halsey Spruhan went to be with the Lord on February 5, 2022, at the age of 71 due to heart disease and complications of COVID-19. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, to John Galey Spruhan and Beatrice Teresa Halsey Spruhan on September 13, 1950. He attended school in Detroit and later graduated from Plymouth High School, just outside of Detroit.
It was there that he met his future wife Judy Bennett, and they would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this May. John received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and his Master’s of Divinity from North Park Seminary in Chicago. He also attended Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, for one year of Anglican studies.
After ordination as an Episcopal Priest, Father John served in churches in Chicago until 1997. In 1997, he and his wife Judy (also a priest) were called to the Rosebud Episcopal Mission in Rosebud, South Dakota, spending the best years of their lives among the Lakota people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota). They retired to Salem, Virginia, in 2010.
John was well-known in the Salem and Roanoke communities due to his many interests and his leadership roles in several community organizations. He served as the President of the Friends of the Salem Library (FOSL). He was awarded the FOSL’s Volunteer of the Year Award for the many hours he spent sorting and manning the tables during the library’s’ annual book sales, usually in the religion and philosophy sections.
In January 2002, he received the Astronomical League Outreach Award for introducing the hobby of astronomy to others. He was also active at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, serving as the head of the Outreach Committee for several years, volunteering for Social Club and Family Promise. Until the COVID pandemic began, he volunteered regularly at Mrs. Dorsey’s Clothes Closet. He also led weekly religious services at the Virginia Veterans Care Center.
Father John was predeceased by his parents and a friend he loved as a sister, Nancy Smith Huffman. He is survived by his wife Judy, daughter Lydia, son Paul and his wife Bidtah, grandchildren Bahe and Tazbah Spruhan, and his two rapscallion cats, Catseiopeia and Connemara.
A private committal service was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on February 11, 2022. Due to concerns regarding COVID-19, a service to celebrate the life of Father John will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Friends of the Salem Library, c/o the Salem Library, or to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Outreach Committee.