John Oliver McMurren unexpectedly went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016; he was surrounded by his loved ones. John was born to Samuel and Dorothy on May 20, 1952, in Baker, Ore. After his dad’s untimely death, Dorothy and her three boys moved to Hood River, where she married Jiggs Kotila. Soon after, they were joined by his “favorite sister.” He graduated from Wy’east High School in 1970.
It is impossible to think of John without the love of his life, Victoria, whom he met and married in 1975 in Long Beach, Calif. For almost 41 years, they were partners in every sense of the word, their deep love evident to anyone who met them. He was devoted to his two children, Ian and Leah, both of whom counted him as an incredible father, confidant and friend.
He attended Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif., earning a BA in religion and a minor in music. He became a licensed minister in 1983 and ordained as an Assembly of God Minister in 1987. In 1999, he earned a Master’s Degree in Religion: North America Missiology.
He was committed to follow the call God placed on his life, wherever it led. He was a youth pastor at Calvary Assembly of God in Lomita, Calif., from 1980-1983. He moved his family to Renton, Wash., in 1984 to accept a job as an Associate Pastor at Fairwood Assembly of God. After two years in Washington, he moved back to California to take an associate pastor position, which led to his becoming senior pastor at Hawthorne Assembly of God, where he served for six years. From 1995-1998, John was the youth and singles pastor at Calvary Temple in Auburn, Wash. From 2001-2003, he served as the children’s pastor at Victory Foursquare in Marysville. In 2007, John became the music and campus pastor at Brooklake Community Church in Des Moines, Wash. In the years following, he served in various roles — most recently, he was the pastor and director of Brooklake’s Thursday Chapel services. With Victoria right by his side, they enjoyed serving Brooklake’s family by being a part of the speaking team and leading worship, which was a delight to his heart.
John’s greatest loves in life were Jesus, family and music. Those closest to him knew him as a passionate conversationalist and compassionate friend. He was widely known for his playful humor and sharp wit. He was an incredible musician/songwriter, writing over a hundred songs, as well as two musicals, one of which was performed on two separate occasions. He loved writing and playing music with his son and daughter.
He recently developed a great affection for baseball and robots. He was a man who knew how to love, and he loved us very well.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Dorothy, step-dad Aatos “Jiggs” Kotila and nephew Jordan Kotila. He is survived by his wife Victoria, son Ian (Rebekah), and daughter Leah France (Andrew), grandchildren Sebastian, Cavan, Annelie and a soon-to-be-born grandson, brothers David (Patricia) and Michael (Carol), sister Linda Kotila, aunt Joanne Reed, and by many cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews, beloved friends, and his faithful dog Cooper.
A memorial service honoring John’s life will be held Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m. at Brooklake Community Church, 629 South 356th Street, Federal Way, Wash. (An optional viewing will be available on site from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
His burial will be held on Tuesday, March 8, at 2 p.m. at Mountain View Memorial Cemetery, 1235 Tucker Road, Hood River. Family and friends kindly invited.
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