John Samuel Loehr, 82, passed away on Thursday, October 22, 2020, at his residence in Greenville, Texas. John was born on July 16, 1938, in Litchfield, Illinois to Elmer and Martha Karnahan Loehr. He graduated from Carlinville High School before coming to Texas to attend Texas Tech University. There he met Kay Sutherland whom he subsequently married on August 23, 1963, in Uvalde, Texas. He and Kay lived with their family in Black, Friona, Muleshoe, Clovis, Uvalde, Cameron, and Greenville, making cherished friends in each place. John was fortunate to have survived a brain tumor at the age of 20, which could have easily taken his life given the place and time in history. Perhaps because of this, or perhaps in spite of it, he dearly cherished people and relationships and lived the remainder of his life as an unabashed “people person”…living out each day as if it was a bonus! He was a friend to many, often including complete strangers he would seek out or encounter by chance. He loved to tease and poke at friends, but did so in a way that you knew it was being done with love and respect. Contrary to his German heritage and upbringing, he was not afraid to show affection and he adored and quickly adopted the “kissing cousins” way of Kay’s Sutherland clan.
John proudly graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock with a degree in Agricultural Economics in 1963. John was passionate about agriculture and spent his entire career in the industry. After early jobs with Plank Farms and Western Ammonia company in the Texas panhandle, he became a “John Deere Man”, where he spent the remaining 40 years of his career managing John Deere dealerships in Uvalde, Cameron, Terrell, and Mineola, as well as owning and managing his own dealership in Greenville for a time.
John was a devout Christian and actively involved in Methodist churches, occasionally preaching sermons as a layperson and serving in leadership roles including the Methodist Administrative Board. He was also passionate about the Kairos Prison Ministry, and most of all loved being involved with church choirs in Uvalde, Cameron, and Greenville.
John valued community and selflessly volunteered and meaningfully served throughout his life. He was an active member of the Lions Club for over fifty years in Uvalde, Cameron, and Greenville, and served as President of both the Uvalde and Cameron clubs, both of which acknowledged him as “Lion of the Year”. He traveled to Tokyo, Japan to attend the 61st International Lions Convention. Following his father’s example, John served as Trustee and President of the Uvalde School Board. He was also active with the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce and served as President. He participated in 4-H and FFA as a youth, and supported both organizations throughout his adult life. He was a founding member of the Cereal Crops Research Group, supporting TAMU-C Agricultural programs for over 30 years. He was also commissioned an “Ambassador of Goodwill” by Texas Governor Dolph Brisco.
John cared deeply for his family and friends and cherished opportunities to visit with them and reminisce about good times…sometimes with the slightest of embellishment. He was a gifted musician who loved to sing and to play his baritone ukulele and banjo. He was the “Pit Master” who, with his team, barbecued hundreds of briskets and turkeys for Kavanaugh’s annual “Round-Up” and Christmas dinners. John was a craftsman, who loved to create things with his hands. His woodworking projects created many treasured family heirlooms, including candlesticks, cradles, cutting boards and nativities.
Throughout John’s life, he diligently worked with his hands and gave of his heart. He valued the dignity of hard work and respected all people. He led by example and showed his friends and family how to better love and serve their families, communities, strangers, self, and the Lord. Most importantly, he showed them how to serve graciously, laugh whole-heartedly, and to never miss a chance to say a genuine “I love you”. John and Kay demonstrated what a lasting, loving, and sacrificial marriage looked like through many seasons and challenges, which will continue to serve as a model for his family and friends.
John is survived by his wife of 57 years, Kay Sutherland Loehr; children, Cherie Loehr Paul (Brad), John Erik Loehr (Kelly), Charles M. “Chuck” Loehr (Kelly), and Amanda Loehr Thompson (Mike); sisters, Rebecca Ann Loehr and Mary Loehr Metz (Arnie); brother-in-law, Pete Konneker; sister-in-law, Eloise Sutherland; 12 grandchildren, Ryan Paul (Val), Katie Paul Song (Eddy), Taylor Loehr, John August “Augie” Loehr, Garrett Mitchell, Matthew Loehr, Allie Loehr, Evan Loehr, Emma-Kate Loehr, Caroline Thompson, Hazel Thompson, and Audrey Thompson; great-granddaughter, Quincy Joy Paul, and dozens of nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Martha Loehr; mother-in-law, Lilla Sutherland; sister, Rachel Loehr Konneker; and grandson, Tyler Mitchell.
A small graveside service will be held Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in Montell, Texas with a Celebration of Life Memorial to be held at Kavanaugh United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 31, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Kavanaugh United Methodist Church Choir (2516 Park Street, Greenville, Texas 75401), First United Methodist Church of Uvalde Choir (301 North High Street, Uvalde, Texas 78801), the Tyler Mitchell Memorial Scholarship Fund (8820 West Boone Prairie Road, Franklin, Texas 77856) or another charity for which you are passionate.