He Humbly Served Jehovah
“IT’S NOT so much where you serve but whom you serve that is truly important.”John Booth was fond of saying those words, and he lived by them. His life course on earth, which ended on Monday, January 8, 1996, left no question as to whom he chose to serve.
As a young man back in 1921, John Booth was searching for purpose in life. He taught Sunday school at the Dutch Reformed Church, but he resisted the idea of training to become a minister because he felt that clergymen led selfish lives. When he saw a flier for a talk entitled “Millions Now Living Will Never Die,” he wasted no time in sending away for the literature it advertised. Captivated by what he had read, he was soon bicycling 15 miles [24 km] to meetings of the Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known. He was baptized in 1923 and began preaching from door to door in the region of Wallkill, New York, where his family had a dairy farm.
Brother Booth entered the full-time ministry in April 1928. He preached in his home territory and in the rural South, trading Bible literature for food and lodging. He had to brave such hazards as gun-brandishing owners of illegal alcohol stills, one of whom shot and wounded John Booth’s pioneer partner. In 1935, Brother Booth was appointed a traveling overseer and began visiting congregations and smaller groups around the country. He organized assemblies and helped the brothers and sisters to persevere despite opposition. Standing up to angry mobs, taking a stand in court, and suffering imprisonment all became common occurrences for Brother Booth. “It would take a book to give details of those exciting times,” he once wrote.
In 1941, Joseph F. Rutherford, then president of the Watch Tower Society, assigned Brother Booth to work at Kingdom Farm, near Ithaca, New York. There he served faithfully for 28 years. His love of the ministry undimmed, he was delighted over the years to associate with thousands of students of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead for training missionaries, which was situated there at Kingdom Farm until 1961. In 1970, Brother Booth was asked to serve at Watchtower Farms in Wallkill, New York, and so found himself in the same area where he had begun pioneering some 45 years earlier.
In 1974, Brother Booth was appointed a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. He served faithfully in that capacity until his death at 93 years of age. John Booth was beloved for his profoundly humble and kind Christian personality. Until his health and strength failed him, he was faithfully preaching from door to door and on the city streets.
While those who served with him mourn his passing, they find comfort in the Bible’s promise regarding such anointed Christians, that they are resurrected to heavenly life and that “the things they did go right with them.” (Revelation 14:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54) A new environment to be sure, but one in which John Booth will be able to serve Jehovah forever!
[Picture on page 32]
John Booth 1902-1996
[Picture on page 32]
HERALD-AMERICAN, ANDOVER 1234
76 Jehovites Jailed in Joliet