John Jacob Oberholtzer

Photo of John Jacob Oberholtzer

John Jacob Oberholtzer


     John Jacob Oberholtzer, a retired farmer and former Upper Leacock Township supervisor, died Dec. 16, 2019 at Landis Homes after a brief illness. He was 97.

     Oberholtzer, husband of the late Rebecca Stoner Oberholtzer, had farmed since he was a young man along Newport Road in Upper Leacock Township, milking 25 cows. He later became one of the first high-volume broiler farmers in Lancaster County, raising 60,000 at a time.

     Oberholtzer chaired the Upper Leacock Township supervisors for 18 years. He also maintained township roads and plowed snow, retiring when he was 70.

     He was a 1940 graduate of Upper Leacock High School and earned a degree from Lancaster Bible College.

     Oberholtzer joined Groffdale Mennonite Church when he was 14. He served in many capacities, including council chair, Sunday school superintendent and teacher, Bible school director, and mentor. He started the church bulletin.

     Oberholtzer and his wife, Rebecca, married March 13, 1946. They drove to California on their honeymoon. The couple enjoyed entertaining at their farmhouse and hosting international guests of Mennonite Central Committee.

     Oberholtzer served on the boards of Tabor Community Services, Menno Housing and Camp Hebron in Dauphin County.

     He was a long-time member of the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority and the Lancaster County Housing Authority.  He belonged to the Lancaster County Poultry Society and the Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association, serving as public relations director.  Born in Stumptown, he was the son of the late Elmer and Alta Oberholtzer.

     Surviving are two sons, David M. of Ronks, and Dr. J. Carl, spouse of William J. Freshwater of Still Pond, Maryland; two daughters, Ruth Ann, wife of David Buch, of Ocean City, New Jersey, and Beth M. Oberholtzer, wife of Jeff Hawkes, of Lancaster; eight grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by sisters Esther Brubaker and Erla Culp.

     Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service honoring John Jacob’s life at the West Bethany Chapel at Landis Homes, 1001 East Oregon Road, Lititz, Pa. 17543 on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11:00 am. Family and friends will be received at the West Bethany Chapel before the services from 10:00 am to the beginning of the service. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Landis Homes Caring Fund, 1001 E. Oregon Road, Lititz, Pa., 17543.

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