John J. Overholt was born to an Amish family of limited means in the state of Ohio in 1918. As a child he was soon introduced to his father's personal collection of gospel songs and hymns, which was to have a marked influence on his later life. With his twin brother Joe, he early was exposed to the Amish-Mennonite tradition of hymn singing and praising worship.
An early career in Christian service led to a two-year period of relief work in the country of Poland following World War II. During that interim he began to gather many European songs and hymns as a personal hobby, not realizing that these selections would become invaluable to The Christian Hymnary which was begun in 1960 and completed twelve years later in 1972, with a compilati… Go to person page >