John Stacy was born to help others
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 9:00 PM
Although Reverend John Stacy spent his early days in Ohio, he calls Crawfordsville his home. When I queried him on where in Ohio, several towns were mentioned, after which he explained that he was the second child of four in a pastor's family who moved around. Evidently he planned not to repeat the nomad portion but the pastorship was indeed part of the plan as he spent 40 years as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Crawfordsville.
I found the most interesting part of his life is something I can't imagine experiencing. He spent nine months in a tuberculosis sanitarium. Every two months was an evaluation with a half hour more awake time granted plus a privilege or two if improvement was shown. Twenty-three and a half hours of sleep was required when he entered and upon his release, he was able to stay awake 11 hours. While there, the man next door said if John was going to be a preacher, he might as well start there. The good Catholic doctor OK'd one night/week, but warned , especially John, that they were there to rest and not overdo!
After the "TB San" experience, John graduated from Wittenberg University where he had met Hazel. He had been asked to teach a class on the south side of Springfield, to 5th-6th graders. Hazel was asked to teach the other class. Since he had a car and they were the only two going from the university, he offered to pick her up, "And I've been picking her up ever since."
Quite a big year for John was 1958. He graduated from Hamma Divinity School; was ordained, served his first church and was married October 7th in the beautiful college chapel since it was free. They got off to a great start and here it is 55 years later.
Hazel was organist for Christ Lutheran and has taught music in their home for over 35 years. He played trumpet in high school and sang tenor in a college quartet. Daughter Beth played the piano for the Southmont choir and is a music therapist. Husband, Doug Clapp and Beth have two children, Melodie and David and live in Idaho. Mark Stacy, John and Hazel's son, lives further west. Mark, a great singer, got his degree as a hydro-geologist in Wyoming and went through Ft. Collins, Colo. when returning to school. He loved this peaceful community which is where he and wife Jennifer are raising two daughters, Katharine and Sarah.
At John's first call, where he stayed four and a half years, he began working on community ministry, which he so loves. With only two churches in the small town, he worked with the other minister creating a good youth program. Next, came his chance to become a Crawfordsvillian with a two-point parish. Christ Lutheran which was a mission congregation then, plus Phanuel Lutheran in Wallace. Later, St. James Lutheran near Darlington was added. However, with only 12 people attending every other Sunday with the youngest being 55, they soon chose to disband. In order to assimilate the folks who were absorbed into Christ Lutheran, the Advanced Youth group began, basically the first support unit John created.
John Stacy has made a huge impact upon our community by jump-starting several programs. Someone who inspired him as well as recruited him for "years and years and years" was Charlotte (Chris) Hotopp Zachary. As a minister, trained surgical nurse and school teacher, her assignment was to give the Milligan Memorial Church a reason to exist. Becoming aware of area families with children needing shots, diabetics who had to pay a taxi to go get insulin and many more medical problems, Chris knew some of the nurses worked only part time. Deciding to get them together, the Well-Baby Clinic began, along with the Christian Nursing Services. About the same time Frank Little was developing the FISH program for those needing food. Other programs were added, Meals on Wheels, Hospital Ministry, and the Children's Clinic which ultimately became the Dr. Mary Ludwig clinic.
One of John's most touching moments was when the church members gave him a 50th anniversary ordination celebration. A quilt with notes and memories from various friends and professional leaders was very special as he has served in some capacity for 12 different congregations with someone from each on the quilt.
Upon his retirement in 2002, he had completed 40 years at Christ Lutheran but today is still preaching in interim capacities. John Stacy was truly born to aide others in many ways and I enjoyed hearing about his life.