John Howard Hagenbuch, Danville PA – August 18, 2021
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). After experiencing a massive heart attack on July 16, John shared these words of the apostle Paul with family members, healthcare workers, and others. Over the next month, his body grew weaker, but his faith remained strong, right to the time God lifted him, as he slept, from his earthly dwelling to his heavenly home.
John Howard Hagenbuch was born on March 11, 1936, in the home of his parents Luther Hagenbuch and Carrie (Beaver) Hagenbuch, in rural Danville, PA. Part of a farming family, John was the youngest of six siblings all of whom preceded him in death: James Hagenbuch, Luther Hagenbuch, Jr., Fred Hagenbuch, Mary (Hagenbuch) Noll, and Glen Hagenbuch.
John was the loving husband of Anna “Marty” (Hood) Hagenbuch of Ashland, PA, who he met while she attended nursing school at Geisinger Medical Center. The two were happily married for nearly 63 years and together had four children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Their children and their spouses are Barbara (Hagenbuch) Alestalo and Eric Alestalo of New Windsor, NY; Deborah (Hagenbuch) Seibert and Jeffrey Seibert of New Oxford, PA; Beth (Hagenbuch) DeLuca and Massimo DeLuca of Kennett Square, PA; David Hagenbuch and Lili Hagenbuch of Mechanicsburg, PA.
John attended Danville High School and later earned his GED. On August 30, 1958, he married Marty and they moved to an apartment on East Market Street in Danville. One of John’s first jobs was for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as an operator of large excavating equipment, including his favorite, the grader. However, John wanted a different kind of challenge, so he answered a newspaper ad about selling specialty advertising, or promotional products—items imprinted with organizations’ names, logos, and other information.
In sales, John found his occupational passion. His love for people, strong interpersonal skills, and sharp business mind made him a natural. Because of his success, he decided to leave his state highway job to sell full-time, and in 1962 he started his own business, J & G Advertising, which later became John-David Advertising.
John grew John-David Advertising into a thriving business that employed 8-10 people, served clients throughout the state and across the country, and sourced products from around the world. However, the favorite part of his work was always selling: He loved interacting with people and helping meet their business’s needs. His customers also really appreciated him for his warm personality, great sense of humor, and foremost for his integrity. Many regarded him not just as a trusted business advisor but as a friend.
However, business was not the most important part of John’s life. One thing he cared about much more was his family—Marty, their four children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. He was always very interested in their lives and cared about each of them. Even during his final days, he talked with them, asked about them, and prayed for them. John worked very hard throughout his life to graciously provide for and bless his family in many ways, and his family loved him, not simply because of what he did for them, but for the person he was.
John also gave selflessly to many, many others beyond his family. He and Marty supported financially a variety of impactful nonprofit organizations, most of them faith-based. He also gave very generously of his time, including as a long-time member of The Gideons International, as a board member of the Montrose Broadcasting Company, and as a member of First Baptist Church of Danville, where for a half-century he taught Sunday School classes, led Bible studies, and served as a trustee and deacon.
John’s motivation for serving was never to be seen or recognized by others. Just as likely as finding him in one of the preceding leadership roles, he could be found holding Bible studies in prisons, leading church services in nursing homes, and lending a hand to a friend or stranger in need.
John loved “God’s Word,” the Bible, and he wanted more than anything to follow its greatest commandments: to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40). From the time he came to faith in the early 1970s, until the night God called him home, he followed those instructions and lived for Christ. Although his passing is a loss for this world, for him it is gain.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of John’s life to be held on Monday, August 23, 2021, 11:30 AM at First Baptist Church 12 Brookside Drive (off 642 East) Danville PA with his pastor, the Reverend Dawes J. Dunham officiating. Burial will be private.
The family will provide flowers. Memorial contributions may be made to The Gideons International 490 Queen Street Northumberland PA 17857, Montrose Broadcasting Corporation PO Box 248 Montrose PA 18801 or First Baptist Church of Danville.
Arrangements are under the direction of Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 42 West Mahoning Street Danville PA 17821.