John Sherwood DeBow went home to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ, January 14, 2021. He was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 21, 1947 to Margeret and Tony DeBow. John has three surviving siblings: Maggie Anderson, David DeBow, and Scott DeBow.
John was a great student and won awards for his salesmanship at an early age. He graduated from Eagle Point High School in White City, Oregon in 1965. He attended the Nazarene College in Pasadena, California where he met his future wife, Ruth Dunham. They were married March 5, 1966 and had two children, Sheri and Wes. John joined the Army and served two years in Nuremburg, Germany and one year at Ft. Lewis, Washington as a Chaplain’s assistant. After the service he returned to Pasadena City College and studied Art and Sign Arts. John started a sign business that he maintained for fifty years. As his business grew, he earned a pilot’s license and he loved to fly!
In 1973, during the Jesus Movement, he surrendered his life to Christ and sensed a call to become a pastor. John then enrolled in L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angeles, California, graduating in 1979. While in Bible College John and his young family went to help in a Youth Bible Camp in the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky for two summers. After graduation he was appointed as pastor to the Napa Foursquare Gospel Church. He ministered there for forty-one years. Shortly after moving to Napa, John and Ruth traveled to Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Rome with a Professor and group from the Bible College. This trip caused the Bible to come alive for them! John also made mission trips to Colombia, Cambodia, Haiti and many trips to Mexico with the youth of his church. John had a heart for the poor and needy and was kind and generous to all. He was very involved with the ministry for the developmentally disabled community in our city. John was a people lover.
His family expanded in 1979, one month after moving to Napa, when his youngest brother Scott came to live with them at eight years old because their Dad had passed away. This was actually John’s first funeral as a pastor.
John’s children married and produced eight grandchildren. Sheri DeBow is married to Terry Letson. She has five children: Drew Wigington, Jeremy Wigington, Elli Wigington, Luke Letson and John Letson. Wes DeBow married Regina Guidotti. They have three children: Tanner DeBow, Chase DeBow and Dallas DeBow. The oldest grandson Drew married Julie Butel and gave John his first great-grandson, Eli.
The entire family made over thirty annual trips to Pismo Beach Dunes at Oceano, California as a traditional fun summer outing.
John was a unique personality with abundant wisdom, wit and a zany sense of humor. He loved to collect things from fine art to trailers, Hummel’s to guitars. You name it he collected it!
In 2002 he planted a vineyard and became a wine maker. His life was full and happy!
In 2011 John was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma cancer. He responded well to treatment and with many prayers was declared cancer free. The doctors decided he needed a transfusion every two months to keep the cancer from returning. He did so for the next nine years and always had a great attitude and trust in God.
John loved to paint and in his later years he devoted more time to his oil painting that can be viewed at John DeBow Fine Art on the web. He loved his family and lived to serve them and the Lord. John was patient, kind, generous and a passionate man with a great sense of humor. He often said his heart’s desire was to, “paint, pray and preach”. We all look forward to seeing him again in heaven.
There will be a Memorial Service April 21, 2021 at Tulocay Cemetery at the Veterans Wall at 2pm.
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