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Friday, June 2, 2023
10:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)
Friday, June 2, 2023
2:00 - 2:30pm (Central time)
On Friday, May 19th, 2023, Reverend Dr. Jerold "Jerry" Wesley Vogt passed away at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, KS with loved ones having been in prayerful attendance throughout his final journey. Jerry was a steadfast husband, father and family man. He believed in his loved ones and was a force of goodness in their lives. In the last days of his life Jerry spoke words of encouragement and love to family members, friends, and caregivers. His wish was that of hope and joy for those he loved. Pastor Jerry was preceded in death by his lovely wife Christine (Willis), parents Clayton Wesley Vogt and Marjorie Lowell Vogt (Maluy), and an older, infant brother Richard Sheldon Vogt. He is survived by 2 sons, Sheldon Vogt (Paula), Clifton Vogt (Brianna), and daughter Sharla K. P. Vogt; sister Celia Franz (Jerald); grandchildren Jon Vogt (Maria), Abigail Vogt, Easton Vogt, and Maggie Vogt; great grand children Chaska "CJ" and James.
Jerry met his wife Christine Willis at Friends University in Wichita. He stated later that their soulful connection was a blessing to his ministry. She shared that their union also strengthened her ministry in music. Christine and her parents should have known right away that Jerry was serious about service and spiritual matters since he took her to a church revival for their first date, a focus of some humor to younger family members. This choice of date was not lost on Christine's father, however, as he was a minister as well. Christine's parents Milton and Pauline liked him from the start. Little time passed before they were married and they had expanded to a family of five; Sheldon, Clifton, and Sharla born within 3 years. Jerry was the primary cook/grocery shopper while Christine was the shopper/decorator/educator and sounding board for Pastor Vogt's ideas and intellectual pursuits. It was Jerry's love of history and travel that led the Vogts on many trips across the US and overseas.
Ultimately, Reverend Vogt would make his way back to familiar ground. His last dwelling was at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, KS, a place he proudly called his home. Jerry had a special knack for blooming where he was planted and felt Schowalter was a gift as it reconnected him to persons he knew from the earliest times of his life. Early years of Kansas residency and important places included Moundridge, Newton, Halstead and Hesston.
It was in Moundridge that Jerry faced some of the most difficult and tragic experiences of his life. While a small child, he acquired polio and was successfully treated at Wesley Hospital in Wichita (with parents commuting back and forth from Moundridge). The treatments were painful, and he often consoled the tearful nurses when they had to place hot woolen fabric on his tiny, frail legs. A more serious event was to come. While Jerry was eleven years of age, and his sister Celia seven, they lost their grandfather to a massive heart attack while he was in Texas. Their father Clayton Wesley Vogt chartered a plane to reach Jerry's mother but Clayton was killed when the plane crashed enroute. Time proved that these experiences shaped his way of thinking and relating to others. It made real to him empathy, what pain means at its most personal and visceral level. Empathy has been the hallmark of Jerry's interactions with others. This week, Jerry's family members have received verbal and written testimonies to his empathy and love-in-action. One person wrote:
"I met Jerry during the lowest point of my life. I had felt invisible and was trying to find a church community. He made me feel seen, as he not only remembered my name after our first encounter, but also what I had talked about. It is easy to love our children and relatives. It is remarkable however, to meet someone you've never known before and to love them unconditionally. To not only ask how-are-you and expect a canned reply, but to experience the other person's concern and relate to it as if it were your own. His many accomplishments in life stem from this humanity and capacity for empathy. The work he did was all with the goal of improving the lives of others. He opened a door to his family and his life to a stranger, and I will forever be grateful for his hand that reached to pull me out of the darkness. You cannot see or remember who you do not care about, and he cared about the whole world."
Pastor Vogt "cared about the whole world" for over 60 years by the time he retired as a United Methodist Church (UMC) minister. He had provided leadership at multiple church appointments, had been an effective District Superintendent, and served as a dedicated teacher. He was a graduate of Friends University, Candler School of Theology at Emory, and Phillips University. Valuing education, he mentored numerous ministerial candidates and modeled the importance of continued learning. His life was active, purposeful, and focused on loving others. Rev. Vogt led congregations in the towns of Furley, Pratt, Wichita, Lindsborg, Garden City, Burdick, Herrington, Wichita again, Garden City again, Leawood and back to Wichita. His last congregational setting was at Chapel Hill UMC in Wichita, a church he helped to found. It was at Chapel Hill where he ultimately embraced his retirement and was designated Pastor Emeritus. Tirelessly, Jerry served on various committees and boards at local, state, national and international levels. He will be remembered for his profound sense of compassion, his ability to listen, his humor, strength during adversity, wise leadership and counsel, for his wit, for seeking justice, and his humility.
We give thanks for the life of Jerold Wesley Vogt, the family man, the minister, and the true friend.
■ "Celebration of Life" memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorials have been established with:
200 W. Cedar St.
Hesston, KS 67062
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
1550 N. Chapel Hill St.
Wichita, KS 67206
Good Shepherd Hospice
301 N. Main St., #300
Newton, KS 67114