Dec. 5, 1919 - Dec. 5, 2007
Louisiana United Methodism was blessed for 88 years with the lively personality, passionate voice, and purposeful life of John Koelemay. John grew up in Nederland, Texas, son of Lawrence and Myra Cooke Koelemay. He attended Lamar University and graduated from Centenary College in 1940.
After graduation, John was playing the cello in a string quartet at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport. He met a Shreveport girl named Helen Chadock at First Church, and they were married in December of 1940. This joyful union was blessed with four children: Kathyrn Koelemay Dicharry, John Douglas Koelemay, and twins, Maurice Koelemay and Maurine Koelemay Creed and 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
John served numerous appointments in Texas and Louisiana during his ministry career. Among them were Marble Falls UMC, Baton Rouge First UMC, Gilbert UMC, North Highland UMC, Many UMC, and Gentilly UMC. John also was the Chaplain at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in New Orleans. John enjoyed an active retirement beginning in 1983. John took the lead in helping reform the apportionment system in the Louisiana Conference to make it more equitable for all churches in the Conference.
John and Helen enjoyed numerous family gatherings and vacations. A favorite destination was Santa Rosa Island on the Florida gulf coast. John was an accomplished musician, and he played cello, violin, and the timpani in the beginning formation of the Shreveport Symphony.
Helen said, “I believe God had his hand on John’s shoulder from a very young age. He was dedicated to the church, loved the ministry, and loved people. It was a joy to serve with him.”
On his headstone is engraved one of John’s favorite verses of scripture, Micah 6:8; “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” We remember and celebrate one who lived out this biblical truth in so many ways.
Jerry G. Hilbun