August 31, 1938 ~ July 11, 2021

John Osborn Gooch

John Osborn Gooch of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, passed away July 11, 2021. Memorial services are currently pending.

Dr. Gooch was born August 31, 1938, in Mexico, Missouri. After graduating from Wellsville (Missouri) High School, he attended Central Methodist University (CMU) in Fayette, Missouri and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He returned to Missouri where he was ordained as a United Methodist minister and filled pulpits in Shelbyville Circuit; Memphis-Downing; Scotland County Larger Parish (which he helped form and served as the first lead pastor); Bethel (Pond); and Green Trails. He served on the Board of Ordained Ministry and on the Commission of Archives and History, editing Towards the Setting Sun. He was active in youth ministry and began to write church school material. He also earned his PhD in Historical Theology at St. Louis University. He was also a gifted teacher, teaching classes at St. Louis University, Eden Theological Seminary, St. Paul School of Theology, Perkins School of Youth Ministry, and his beloved high school students in many congregations.

He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to be an editor at Board of Education and Youth of the United Methodist Church. Following retirement there, he continued to write books and articles (many on youth ministry) and family stories. Two of his recent books of import were Circuit Riders to Crusades: Essays in Missouri Methodist History and Playing with the Big Kids: Central Methodist University, 1982 – 2010. After moving to John Knox Village (JKV) in Lee’s Summit, Missouri he continued to teach Church History classes to fellow residents.

John joined Rotary while in Nashville, Tennessee and became very active after moving back to Missouri. He was a District Governor in 2006 – 2007 and was quite active with Rotary International Foundation work.

John was preceded in death by his father, Cortes Gooch; his mother, Gertrude Hulse Gooch; his brother, Gerald Gooch; and many cousins.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Beth Hammond Gooch; daughter, Nina Gooch (and Erica French); son, Carl Ollivier-Gooch (and Kelly Ollivier-Gooch); and granddaughters Kaitlin Ollivier-Gooch (and Kayla Carleton) and Jada Ollivier-Gooch (and Isaac Sandri); and many, many cherished family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like any memorial contributions to go to: CMU for Beth Hammond Gooch and Rev. John Gooch, Class of ’59, Hall of Sponsors Scholarship – 3334 [Central Methodist University, Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, 411 Central Methodist Square, Fayette, MO 65248]; Woods Chapel UMC education ministry in Nicaragua [4725 NE Lakewood Way, Lee’s Summit MO 64064]; Rotary International Shelter Box program [Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, P.O. Box 785, Lee’s Summit, MO 64081]; or JKV Foundation [400 NW Murray Road, Lee’s Summit, 64081].