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Pastor John Heberling

Obituary of Pastor John V. Heberling

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John V. Heberling, a retired minister and longtime Santa Cruz County resident, passed away peacefully at home on December 27th, 2022 with his wife, Liz Heberling, by his side. He succumbed to complications from cancer and was 89 years old. John certainly had a Pastor’s heart, dedicating over sixty years to the ministry. Even though he officially retired in 1998, he was active in serving the congregation at Santa Cruz Community Church, teaching, preaching, singing in the choir, and enjoying fellowship with his brothers and sisters in Christ. John was a great Bible scholar and loved studying the Scriptures. For those who met him, John was the embodiment of the fruit of the spirit. He lived these virtues every day as examples of how to show the love of Jesus to everyone he encountered. Outside of the ministry, family was the most important thing to John. He was proud to be involved with his kids, grand-kids, great-grandkids and the many bonus kids and grandkids who thought of him as family. Whether watching a football game together, attending an important event, or just a phone call, John was always a consistent and constant presence with the right word of wisdom or witty pun for the moment. John was an extraordinary man who would, in humility, politely disagree with anyone he heard say so. Born in 1933 in Missouri to William and Mary Heberling, John spent much of his childhood in Pennsylvania before moving to Central Point, OR. He became interested in ministry and attended San Jose Bible College, where he met Marlene Isbell, whom he married in 1955. After a brief ministry in Santa Rosa, John moved his family back to southern Oregon and John became the minister at the Central Church of Christ in Medford, OR. He served there from 1960 to 1978 and had a very successful ministry. After leaving the Medford church, John moved his family to Santa Cruz, CA, and became the pastor of First Christian Church of Santa Cruz, where he served from 1978 to 1984. He then became an associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Santa Cruz, now Santa Cruz Community Church. After Marlene’s death in 1995, John found comfort and a new joy in sharing his home with his son, daughter-in-law, and new granddaughter. Through the church, John met Liz Dunfield and they married in 2011. They built a life together filled with love, partnership, and adventure. In their years together, John and Liz traveled extensively, including trips to Europe and along the East Coast. John became a great dad to her kids and a grandfather to Liz’s grandkids. John was predeceased by his parents, his two older brothers, and his first wife, Marlene. He is survived by his second wife, Liz Heberling, and his sister, Jane Hamilton. He is also survived by his four children, John G. Heberling, Mary Jo Winslow, Melinda Jacobsen, and Jerry Heberling, as well as his four grandchildren, Kate Kraft, Marlie Heberling, Rebecca Heberling, and David Winslow, and also his great-grandchildren, Mira and Shane Kraft. He is also survived by his three step-children with Liz, Steve Dunfield, George Dunfield, and Debbie Siemsen-Naumann, and his four step-grandchildren, Brian Dunfield, Beth Dunfield, David Siemsen, and Jonathan Siemsen, all of whom he considered as his own kids and grandkids. A celebration of life for John will be held on February 18, 2023, at 2:00 PM, at Santa Cruz Community Church, 411 Roxas St., Santa Cruz, CA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the East Africa Christian Mission, PO Box 1612, Medford, OR, 97501.
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Celebration of Life

2:00 pm
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Santa Cruz Community Church
411 Roxas Street
Santa Cruz, California, United States
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Pastor John Heberling

In Loving Memory

Pastor John Heberling

1933 - 2022

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