Pastors' Memoirs

John Leegrand Hoke, 1926 – 2004

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We were married 54 years, and our Lord blessed us with two sons, one daughter, four grandsons, one granddaughter, two great-granddaughters, and two great­grandsons (the latest born March 1, this year).

John received his call to the ministry while working as a shipping clerk for the Southern Bakery in Charlottesville, Va. When he awakened me at 2 a.m. with the question, "What would you do if I told you that I wanted to be a Methodist minister?" I simply said, ‘What took you so long?" Then I pledged my support.

At the suggestion of the district superintendent, John served Gentry Methodist Church in Boonesville (outside of Charlottesville) for three years. In 1964, he was appointed to the West Mecklenburg Charge (consisting of four churches) in Chase City, Va. We were expecting our third child. John also began college and seminary in preparation for full-time ministry, completing his education in 10 years.

Other appointments included: four years at the Pamplin Charge of four churches; four years at Andrew Chapel and Edgewater in Montross, Va.; Dayton Methodist Church in Dayton, Va., where he was instrumental in completing the merger of the Methodist and Brethren churches (five years); seven years with South Covington United Methodist Church in Covington, Va. (our hometown). Alleghany United Methodist Church was a part of this appointment for several years before South Covington became a station church.

As John approached age 65, he looked toward retirement. After serving Oxford United Methodist Church in Suffolk, Va., for three years, he retired in 1991, completing 29 years of ministry in the Methodist Church.

Following retirement John served as a visitation minister for three churches successively in the Norfolk District where we lived in clergy housing for eight years, returning to the Shenandoah Valley in 1999 to live out our remaining days. We chose Dayton United Methodist Church as our "home" church where my membership remains.

— Helen G. Hoke



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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