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             Monday, November 18 2002  



John Lythgoe in a 1950's photo in his Air Force uniform.

Where are they now?
Gospel singer John Lythgoe

Long-time Jackson Township resident John Lythgoe was born November 11, 1936, the son of John and Hannah (Graham) (Schoop) Lythgoe. John's step-brother Lewis Schoop recently moved to Gettysburg, and his step-sister Jane Griffith lives in Johnstown.

John is a 1954 graduate of the former Ebensburg Cambria High School and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to '56, which included a tour of duty in Korea. He graduated from Vale Technical School in 1984 after completing a course in insurance adjusting and in 1986 he attended the Shell Research Center, in Houston, Texas, to study motor oils and hydraulics.

Married to the former M. Laverne Krug of Munster since June 25, 1960, John and Laverne are the parents of six grown children: John, Jr., Dumfries, Virginia; Reva Evans, Germany; Mark, Eagle Rock, Virginia; Lyle, Roaring Springs; Daniel, Roanoake, Virginia, and Georgia, Ebensburg. The Lythgoes' children have blessed them with 15 grandchildren, 10 boys and five girls.



Besides John, on right, the Masters include his daughter, Georgia, and Eric Snyder.

John's retirement in 1998 from U.S.Steel, where he was a journeyman pattern maker, and from Agway Energy Products, where he was a sales representative, gives him time to pursue his love of gospel music.

"I started singing when I was four years old. My mother would take me to Women's Christian Temperance Union meetings and I would sing for them, and I started to play the trumpet when I was eight," he says. "Before I was a gospel singer, I  spent 16 years as a night club musician, but in 1970 I turned to the Lord and was saved. Then I changed my tune." While in the military, John played the bugle in the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps., and later went on to play for many drum and bugle organizations, gradually progressing to a higher level of performance and achievement with each new organization.



Lavern Krug Lythgoe and John, front left, with family members.

Over the years, he has organized and performed with several gospel groups, starting with a group called Brotherly Love. In 1974 he sang with a group called the Christian Diplomats with fellow Jackson township residents Jim Lambing and Homer Gay. 1981 found him performing in a group called Free Indeed, again with Jim Lambing and with Lorene Stiles of Blacklick Township rounding out the group. His currrent gospel group, the Masters, was formed in 1985 and is comprised of John, his daughter Georgia, and Eric Snyder of Seward.

The Masters perform 200-250 concerts a year. "We travel in a motor home bus all over the eastern United States," John says. "We sing at benefit concerts, county and state fairs, reunions, civic functions...anywhere people want to hear good gospel music, and we perform indoors or outdoors." The group has performed on public broadcasting television and at charity telethons. "The Lord has given me a versatile voice. I can sing lead, tenor, baritone, or bass, but tenor and bass sometimes requires a month of practice." When asked how long he plans to continue singing, he says, "I'll probably die on stage."

John's family moved to Jackson Township when he was 13 years old, and he has memories of a kinder, more gentle time. "My favorite memories are of being able to walk into someone's yard and have them befriend you. You knew your neighbors on a personal basis, and it didn't stop with the neighbors; the whole community knew each other. It's different now; everyone's too busy to bother with each other."

His hope for the future; "We have to get closer to God...to prosper and have peace of mind, and to thrive.


If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

Signs across America

 

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Thought for today

The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.

—David Brinkley

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