RIP: The Very Rev. John Everitt Booty

Posted Apr 23, 2013


The Very Rev. John Booty. Photo/Courtesy Duane Dale

The Very Rev. John Booty. Photo/Courtesy Duane Dale

[Episcopal News Service] Scholar, teacher, poet, priest, beloved husband, father, and grandad, the Very Rev. John Booty died at age 87 April 17 at his home in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. He goes joyfully to join his son Peter who died in 2010, and he leaves behind as witness to his love his wife of 62 years, Kitty Lou, his daughter Carol and her husband Ernie, his son Geoffrey and his wife Helen, Peter’s wife Diane, his daughter Jane and her husband Todd, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren, all of whom gave him much happiness.

John was born in Detroit, Michigan, on May 2, 1925,  earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, and began his life of service to the Episcopal Church as a curate at Christ Church, Dearborn, Michigan. After earning a Ph.D. from Princeton University, John joined the faculty at Virginia Seminary as Professor of Church History, taught at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served as Dean of the Seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. A life-long scholar, John was a Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he served as Historiographer of the Episcopal Church. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Virginia Seminary and the University of the South. Also a gifted writer, John had numerous books published, including “The Church in History, Reflections on the Theology of Richard Hooker,” “John Jewel as Apologist of the Church of England, Meditating on Four Quartets,” and “The Christ We Know.” Secular scholars as well as ecclesiastics respected him, and all who were blessed to know him celebrated him.

John Booty was a man of warmth and humor who loved reading, gardening, and tea on the porch. He struggled at times in life and shared himself freely through his writing and preaching as he brought countless disciples to the Gospel. His last days were populated by loving family, devoted “care angels,” lively memories of his past, and his abiding faith in life everlasting. We are grateful for his life with us, and we rejoice that he has gone to God.

A celebration of John’s life will be held this summer at St. Andrew’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, Tamworth, New Hampshire.


Comments (11)

  1. The Rev. Carlton T. Russell says:

    John Booty was director of my curriculum conference — a class for first-year seminarians — at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge in 1980-81. Although I was a “delayed vocation” student and a commuter, and thus not a part of the EDS community in the way that resident students were, John was as pastoral toward and supportive of me as he was of all his other students. I count it a great blessing to have known John and to have benefited from the other-directedness and compassion of this learned and wise, but also kind and deeply spiritual servant of God..

  2. I thank God for knowing John Booty and his family in Cambridge. He was a teacher, mentor and friend to me and many others. Above all, he was a good man.

  3. The Rev. Joan Grimm Fraser says:

    John Booty was an inspiring professor and Senior Tutor. We were so blessed to spend time with him and his family at ETS. May he rest in peace…thanks be to God.

  4. The Rev Sherrill Page says:

    I had the privilege of being a student at Sewanee with John Booty. he was a wonderful professor with a delightful sense of humor & a brilliant mind. my prayers are with Kitty Lou & the rest of his family

  5. bob diaz says:

    Kitty lou we are sorry to hear about the passing of john.what a great parents joe and jan send there condolinces to you and the family as well.

  6. The Rev. Sandra Boyd says:

    I am another of those many privileged to have had John Booty as my academic mentor in 1977-8 at EDS in Cambridge. I’m also remembering fondly a visit to John and Kitty Lou sometime in the 1980s at their lovely home in Center Sandwich. My prayers are of thanksgiving and for comfort for Kitty Lou and John’s family in the assurance that John is in the loving arms of God.

  7. Pegram Johnson III, PHD says:

    Much saddened to hear of John’s death. In the early 1960s at Virginia Seminary we were inspired by John Booty, Charles Price, John Woolverton, Murray Newman, all young men getting started in their careers. These were balanced by senior professors Mollegen and Stanley. These were stimulating times, even for one who thought he knew it all already. I was wrong. I didn’t. The roster for a heavenly faculty is almost complete.

  8. Diane Pearsall Ehrlich says:

    I happened to see an article about the Rev. John Booty in this month’s issue of NH Episcopal News. I wondered how common a name Booty could be. So I just had to look up the obituary of Rev. Booty remembering that the father of one of my favorite “bosses” was an Episcopal Minster. There I found that Geoff Booty was indeed the son of the Rev. Booty….. I remember fondly the great leader that Geoff was. If you see this Geoff, I wish you and your family all well!

    1. Geoff Booty says:

      Hi Diane. I randomly came across this posting while doing a Google search to check key words on my web site. Thanks for your kind words. I hope all is well with you and your family. Geoff

  9. The Rev. Dr. Linda Lowry, F.O.C.D, Chaplain, Major USAF Retired says:

    The Church has lost a great man! Dr. Booty was a wonderful inspiration to me and so many other seminarians while we were studying for the priesthood at Sewanee. He will be greatly missed! May he rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him. May God comfort all who mourn and give them the blessed assurance of everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Good-bye John+. You will be greatly missed. I hope to see you again in the Kingdom to come.

  10. Stephen Voysey says:

    John Booty was my senior project / thesis advisor at Episcopal Divinity School in 1976-1977. What a special man in so many ways – intellectuallly, pastorally, liturgically – and most of all a deep soul with a warm and engaging spirit. God bless his family and many friends as we celebrate his life.

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