Retired Bishop Vander Horst Dies

Episcopal News Service. April 24, 1980 [80147]

Marietta, Ga. -- The Rt. Rev. John Vander Horst, 68, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, died at his home here on April 19 following an extended illness.

Bishop Vander Horst was born in Orange, N.J., Jan. 12, 1912, and was educated at Baltimore's Gilman School, Princeton University, St. Stephen's House at Oxford, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. He held honorary doctorates from his seminary and the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.

Ordained deacon in 1938 and priest the following year in Maryland, he first served there at St. John's, Ellicott City. He was rector of St. Paul's in Macon, Ga. from 1942 until 1945 when he moved to Philadelphia's Church of the Good Shepherd. St. Paul's, Chattanooga, called him as rector in 1951.

Consecrated Suffragan Bishop of Tennessee in 1955, he was elected Coadjutor in April 1961 and became seventh diocesan bishop that August upon the death of the Rt. Rev. Theodore N. Barth.

The Bishop suffered a slight stroke in January 1973 and placed jurisdiction over the Diocese in the hands of the then coadjutor, Bishop William E. Sanders, for the ensuing year, after which he returned to full activity. He retired at 65 in January 1977. Since then, he and Mrs. Vander Horst had made their home at 267 Whitlock Ave. SW, Marietta.

Burial was from Christ Church, Nashville, where Bishop Sanders celebrated a Requiem Mass April 22, assisted by Suffragan Bishop Fred Gates. The Rev. Canon Eric S. Greenwood served as master of ceremonies. Presiding Bishop John M. Allin pronounced the commendation at the conclusion of the Eucharist. Interment was at historic St. John's, Ashwood, where several other Tennessee bishops are buried.

Bishop Allin said of Bishop Vander Horst, "He had a high vision of his Church's mission and a clear image of the role of the bishop in fulfilling that mission."

Survivors are his widow, Helen Gray Lawrence Vander Horst of Marietta whom he married in 1940; sons John, Jr., of Owens Mills, Md. and Allston of Centerville, Tenn.; daughters Helen (Mrs. Peter G. Keese) of Durham, N. C., and Ella of Nashville; two grandchildren; and two brothers and one sister.

Memorial gifts are being made to the Vander Horst Scholarship Fund established last year at St. Paul's, Chattanooga.