Johns, Otis N. (1889-1975)

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Otis and Margaret Johns. Scan courtesy Mennonite Church USA Archives-Goshen HM 4-303

An able bishop and leader among Ohio and Pennsylvania Mennonites (Mennonite Church), Otis Nathan "O. N." Johns was born 1 June 1889 at Goshen, Indiana, the son of Bishop Daniel J. Johns. He married Margaret Rickert of Columbiana, Ohio on 24 December 1910. He farmed until he was ordained a minister on 8 April 1923 to serve the Canton, [Ohio] Mennonite mission. On 19 July 1925 Johns was ordained bishop of the Beech congregation near Louisville, Ohio. He moved to a farm, as a means of self-support, in the spring of 1926 and served the Beech congregation for 35 years--years of activity and progress. Being an energetic bishop, he served the church at large in a variety of ways: on the constitution and by-laws committee for merging the Ohio Mennonite Conference and the Eastern Amish Mennonite Conferences (1927); as secretary of the merged conference for its first 22 years; on the conference ministerial committee for years; as bishop with oversight, at one time or another, of 28 congregations in Ohio and Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania congregations that later became the Atlantic Coast Conference); as secretary of the Mennonite Publication Board (1927-1949); as teacher or principal of winter Bible schools; on the executive committee of the Ohio Christian Workers Conference (1924-1938); as counselor to Ohio conscientious objectors during World War II; and as chaplain at Hartville Manor Nursing Home. He retired from church responsibilities in 1960. The children of O. N. and Margaret Johns were Gladys Krabill, Velma Miller, Lois Yoder, and David Johns. He died 23 April 1975.


"Johns, Otis N." Gospel Herald 68 (20 May 1975). Reproduced in MennObits. "Gospel Herald Obituary - May 1975."  Accessed 10 March 2006. <>

Springer, Nelson and Klassen, A. J., compilers. Mennonite Bibliography, 1631-1961, 2 vols. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1977: II: 462.

Warkentin, A. and Melvin Gingerich, compilers. Who's Who Among the Mennonites. North Newton, KS: Bethel College, 1943: 131.

Author(s) James A Steiner
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, James A. "Johns, Otis N. (1889-1975)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 7 Aug 2020.,_Otis_N._(1889-1975)&oldid=113444.

APA style

Steiner, James A. (1987). Johns, Otis N. (1889-1975). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 August 2020, from,_Otis_N._(1889-1975)&oldid=113444.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 466-467. All rights reserved.

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