John Monson Rovenstine



            To an orphaned father, and an orphaned mother, John M. was the third son born to Jacob and Mona Rovenstine, homesteaders in Baca, County, 3 miles south of Campo, Colorado, on June 2nd, 1915.

            Some of the earliest and deepest impressions on my father’s young mind were the  whispering sands, a song that came out with that title in 1955 and had special meaning to him. He lived “the dirty thirties”, and buried in those dark days a brother Charley, who had been called to preach and died at the age of 18. Also he lost a brother 7 years old named Burley.

            Many young couples, like the young Rovenstines, with enterprising ambitions, left the comforts of homes back east to try to find a better life as sodbusters and homesteaders in Eastern Colorado.  Families lived together sharing holes dug in the ground which were covered with boards until they could afford their own sodhouse.   Broomcorn was the cash crop in those days, and everything depended on this one commodity.  There was no Medicare, Social Security or gov’t assistance.

            As families moved into eastern Colorado, so did the need for churches to be established.  It was the Pilgrim Holiness church that my father loved, and his life was dedicated and destined, for the growth, preservation and honor of this institution.

            Early in his adult life he made a contract with the Lord, whom he said he talked to in a very personal  manner underneath the mulberry trees that his father planted to prove up his claim.  He later would go back to this grove of trees and renew his covenant.

            Many of their neighbors also were active in the church, and soon he was feeling a call to serve the Lord and go to a Bible School in Colorado Springs.  It was his father’s failing health, and the onset of a depression  gripping the nation that forced him to go back to Campo and till the fields of his father.

            He would pray and wait for the rains that never came, and at last his father, in poor health, would sell the family farm, and move to the city, to find a better life for himself and his family.

            It was a mutual friend, Walt Dunivan, that suggested John M. write a lady of Hutchinson, Kansas, which after one visit, and hundreds of letters led to a simple wedding ceremony on May 2, 1937, during a regular evening church service.  This marriage to Aleda Clair Warmerdam was blessed with 6 sons and one daughter.

            Here is a list of John M. and his some of his accomplishments on earth.

·        All of his life he was faithful to his wife, and gave an example to all of his children in this category.

·        Never once did any of his children see him intoxicated.

·        Blasphemy, cursing, or abusive language was never known to have crossed his lips.

·        He never had a court appointment for fraud, embezzlement, failure to pay his loans, an/or falsely accused by his kinsmen.

·        He worked as a baker’s helper, a welder, a carpenter, a school bus driver, wheat harvester,  upholsterer, salesman, preacher, janitor, aircraft manufacturer, plumber, painter, deliveryman for a mattress factory, milkman, land measurer, cottonhower,   meter reader, landfill attendant, secretary, sanitary technician, funeral director assistant, father, husband, friend and a dozen more titles.

·        He loved the sports that his kids and grandkids played.

·        He prayed every morning on his knees after breakfast, and made his children living at home do the same.

·        No one really understood what he saw in the Book of Psalms, but there was something there that touched his life deeply.

·        He played guitar, sang at the jail, got petitions signed to outlaw whiskey in Finney County, supported radio preachers. Every night he watched the weather at 10:10p.m.  (He did better at weather forecasting than those famous weathermen!).

·        He loved watching storm clouds, (he said that the weather was the only thing that changed in Campo, Colorado!), and he pushed for changes in his beloved Wesleyan Church. 

·        He once served on the “Resolutions Committee” back in 1962 in Kansas, but never was recognized by his fellow ministers as one who understood the times and seasons.

·        All of his sons and his daughter join today to honor him, the man who gave us our genes, and who lived a life we all want to follow.

·        He wrote many letters to his children, (his penmanship was good!) Especially well penned are the letters he wrote to Aleda  during their courtship.



We cherish his memories, his life, his faith and the example that he gave us all.


            John M. departed April 12, 2001, born on June 2, 1915 in Campo, Colorado, the last of his generation to have gone on.  Waiting for him on the other side yesterday was his father John, his mother Mona, his older brothers Elvin, Charley and his younger brothers Burley and Ray. 

            He is survived by his wife, Aleda Clair, 6 sons, Wendell Otis, Loren Dee, John Timothy, Mark Wesley, Charles Joseph, Thomas Dale, and one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Smith.

            He had 27 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.  His story like a sheaf of broom corn is now standing in the field, mature, full of days, and beautiful.


This poem, by Lord Tennyson was found in my father’s personal belongings before he died.


            Sunset and Evening Star,   And One Clear Call for Me!

            And may there be no moaning at the bar,   When I put out to sea,


            But such a tide as moving seems asleep,  Too full for sound and foam

            When that which drew from out the boundless deep  Turns again home.


            Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark!

            And may there be no sadness of farewell,  When I embark:


            For though from out our bourne of Time and Place  The flood may bear me far,

            I hope to see my Pilot face to face   When I have crossed the bar.



Name: Johnny Rovenstine
Army 1945 Baker, Delivered papers, gasoline pump, made donuts, mattresses, garden, aircraft, welder, painter, pastor and ambulance driver. 

Early Life
SE Colorado

Young Family
Hutchinson, Ks

Golden Years
Hill City, B’ville Okla.

My favorite songs
Supper Time
I’ve got a mansion

John Monson Rovenstine Obituary