Pastor Lester J. Karschner
Pastor Lester J. Karschner, 94, went to meet his Lord, in York, on All Saints Day, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009.
Born February 18, 1915 in Muncy, PA, Lester was the fifth of eight children born to George W. Karschner and his wife, Jennie Biddle Karschner. In 1919 the family moved to a farm near Twin Hills between Muncy and Montoursville. Having completed his elementary education at the Baxter School, he enrolled at Muncy High School, graduating in 1932, magna cum laude.
In 1937 he received a BA from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, and then enrolled at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree and later received the Master of Sacred Theology degree. Susquehanna University, where he served on the board of directors, conferred the Doctor of Divinity degree on him in 1973.
He served as pastor of the four-church Newry Lutheran Parish from 1940 to 1949 and became pastor of the Abbottstown – East Berlin Parish where he continued serving until 1963 when he became pastor of Zion Church, Hollidaysburg, PA. In 1977 he retired from Zion and moved to Hanover. He served as Visitation Pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church until 1991 when the Karschners moved to the Lutheran Retirement Village at Kelly Drive in York, PA.
On June 5, 1940, he and Elizabeth Shimer, daughter of Aaron and Florence Shimer of Hazelton, PA were married in the old chapel at the seminary. Mrs. Karschner taught at Penn Hall, Chambersburg, the elementary school in Newry; and commercial courses at Hollidaysburg, Biglerville and New Oxford High Schools.
The Karschners’ son, Richard, and his wife, Grace are both Graduates of Susquehanna University. Grace is the daughter of Brigadiers Richard and Dorothy Simington, who were both Corps Officers in the Salvation Army. Richard is a retired Supervisor of Music and Director of Bands for the School District of Upper Dublin, Fort Washington, PA and currently directs the 130 year old Quakertown Community Band.
In addition to his son and daughter-in-law, Pastor Karschner is survived by three grandchildren, Kathryn Karschner of North Wales, PA, Kimberly Ross of Riverside, CA and Kristina Thillet of Charlotte, N.C., mother of great grandchildren Miguel and Josephine. His sister, Edith Sampsell lives in Williamsport, PA.
He was preceded in death by his wife and siblings; sister Louella Griggs, and brothers Leonard, Clyde, Ernest, Harry and LeRoy.
A service was held on Wednesday at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hanover.
Family and friends are invited to view Pastor Karschner on Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. at Grenoble’s, 121 S. Main St., Muncy. The casket will be closed while friends are received on Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. at Grenoble’s, where a brief memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., followed by a graveside committal service at Muncy Cemetery. Officiating will be Rev. Beverly Cotner, pastor of St. James Lutheran (White) Church, Muncy, where Pastor Karschner was a son of the congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be presented to St. Matthew Lutheran Church “Organ Fund”, 30 W. Chestnut St., Hanover, PA 17331 or Lutheran Social Services, 1050 Pennsylvania Ave., York, PA 17404.
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