John Wesley Annas
Daily Commercial - Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013
John Wesley Annas,
Jr., 108, of Leesburg, died Sunday, April 7, 2013. Beyers Funeral Home and
Orlando Sentinel, The (FL) - April 20, 2013
Deceased Name: JOHN WESLEY
JOHN WESLEY ANNAS JR., 108, Leesburg, died April 7. Beyers Funeral
Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) - April 21, 2013
Deceased Name: John
Wesley Annas Jr.
April 7, 2013
John Wesley Annas Jr., 108, of Leesburg,
Florida, died Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Arrangements by Beyers Funeral Home and
Crematory, 1123 W. Main Street, Leesburg, FL 34748.
Lenore Weatherly Bayus married John Wesley Annas, 17 Dec 2007,
Morrison Uited Methodist Church, Leesburg.
Rev. John W. Annas was born 1 Oct
1904 in Massachusetts and died Sunday, 7 Apr 2013, Leesburg. They lived
821 Lake Port Blvd, S-510, Leesburg
Lake County’s oldest resident believed in living life fully. He eloped at
age 103 and amazed local folks and Boston University officials for his ability
to recite Abraham Lincoln’s speeches from memory.
The Rev. John Wesley Annas died April 7 at age 108. A memorial service and
celebration of his life will be hosted 9:30 a.m. Monday at Morrison United
Methodist Church in Leesburg, with a reception to follow. Attendees will be able
to take home “Christmas Poems,” a booklet of poems that Annas penned and
published from 50 years of Christmas sermons.
“The night before he died, he was very sweet,” said Annas’ daughter,
Margaret Barnes, 78, of New Hampshire. “He said, ‘Margaret, I don’t have long,
and don’t feel badly when I go because I am going to a very happy place, and I’m
going to be fine. I know that you love me and that you have been here for me, so
don’t ever feel bad.’”
He told his family that he wanted them to be happy and celebrate his
Annas’ wife, Lenore, who turned 90 on April 11, had been the one who had
been hospitalized and was undergoing rehabilitation. Her husband would make
daily trips to visit his bride of 5 1/2 years.
“He wanted to see her the first thing in the morning to kiss her, and then
he had to go back again before he went to sleep to kiss her goodnight,” Barnes
said of her father’s desire to see Lenore. “He adored her. He didn’t want to
The pair met at Lake Port Square where they would talk about God, Abraham
Lincoln and their love for poetry and intellectual books. They quietly married
Dec. 17, 2007, and chose to elope after family and friends told them that
getting married at their age was a silly idea.
The lovebirds chose to follow their hearts.
“This was definitely God’s leading,” Annas said in 2010, before he quickly
recited a Robert Browning poem from memory to his bride: “Grow old along with
me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our
times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows by half; Trust
God: See all, nor be afraid!”
“I’m going to miss everything about him,” said Lenore, who loved her
husband’s faith and optimistic attitude. “He had a tremendous sense of humor and
was always gung ho. People would look to him for that; he was very gracious to
John Annas III, of California, said he talked to his father each weekday
morning on the telephone and it was not unusual for his father to encourage him
to go out and “be a blessing to others during the day.”
Growing up, Barnes and her brother remember that their father expected them
to know about the newspaper’s headlines of the day, current events, along with
reciting prayers and scriptures.
“When dad was little, he couldn’t go out to play on Saturdays until he
recited scriptures, so he learned very early to memorize,” Barnes said. “He had
Two months ago, Annas recited for the 80th and his last time, portions of
John Drinkwater’s play, “Abraham Lincoln,” in a one-man show of playing
different characters, including Lincoln and his wife.
The first time he gave the presentation was in 1928 for a class at Boston
University School of Theology. In 2012, several officials from BU came to
Leesburg to honor the college’s oldest alum and to hear and film Annas in action
with his Lincoln presentation. The officials were amazed.
“He was just stunning, and it was just the classic teaching style that
began in the 1880s that he brought to life,” Ted Karpf from BU said at the time.
“To be able to do it for 40 minutes from memory was just phenomenal.”
“John lived life to the fullest,” said the Rev. John Harrington, senior
pastor of Morrison United Methodist Church, where Annas faithfully attended. “He
never lost his sense of humor. He always had a quick wit and an incredible
command of the English language.”
Barnes remembered her father telling her that he hopes he inspired
“He said he would have wanted to have been a great preacher, but he hoped
that he was remembered as a great minister,” she said. “He ministered to
everybody and recited poetry to everyone that he said hello to, even when I took
my father with me to the mall when I was buying lipstick.”
Three days before Annas died, Barnes said she took her father to the doctor
to have his pacemaker checked, when he proudly told his age and recited
“The doctors came over to me later and asked, ‘What kind pacemaker does he
have?,’” Barnes said, noting her father continued to amazed people right up to
his last days on Earth.
Annas is also survived by his oldest son, Lincoln, 81, of California; 10
grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
1910 United States Federal Census: Cumberland, Providence, Rhode
John W Annas 38, b. Maine
Emma L Annas 29, b.
Russel D Annas 7
John W Annas Jr 5, Birthplace: Rhode
George D Breeman 5, nephew
1940 United States Federal Census: Corning, Steuben, New York
East Second Street
John W Annas Junior 35, Birthplace: Massachusetts,
Christian L Annas 39
Lincoln L Annas 8
Orlando Sentinel - LOCAL
Retired Leesburg minister hits 108
LEESBURG — Theodore Roosevelt was president when John Annas was born
in 1904. The retired Methodist minister, who has seen many presidents come and
go during his long life but especially admired Abraham Lincoln , celebrated his
108th birthday last week. Lake Port Square, where he lives with his wife,
Lenore, put on a birthday bash for Annas. "He's a great inspiration," said Vera
Durden, director of sales and marketing. Annas, who has done performances from a
play on Lincoln, recited four poems during the celebration.
Eldest Elder: A visit with Rev. John W. Annas
visiting General Conference, Upper New York Annual Conference Benefits
Officer/Director of HR Vicki Putney took advantage of her time in Tampa, Fla.,
to visit with the oldest member of the Upper New York Annual Conference, the
Rev. John W. Annas.
He and his wife, Lenore – they were married
when he was 103 – live in a complex in Leesburg, Fla. Rev. Annas was quick to
note that she took a real leap of faith to marry him at such an advanced
When asked if he is able to maintain a daily habit of reading
the Bible, Rev. Annas responded that Lenore Annas reads to him. With the extreme
magnification he needs, it takes half an hour to read just one chapter himself.
Lenore Annas is so vital to his well-being, he said, and he is thankful for her
Rev. Annas is a poet, and uses his computer
(equipped with a magnifier) to record his poems. He happily recites his poems
This past Presidents Day, Rev. Annas recited from
memory an act from a play about Abraham Lincoln, a piece that takes almost half
an hour. He is scheduled to do so again in the near future. Those recitals
likely warrant a good afternoon nap afterwards!
The couple has
compiled a collection of his Christmas poems into a booklet that they had
printed to give as gifts. The dedication reads: "This publication is dedicated
to my wife, Lenore, without whose help these poems would not appear in print ...
and whose daily life manifests the Spirit of Christmas."
was interested in the progress of the new conference; he and Lenore use their
computers to keep up with email. He shared that he prays for Bishop Marcus
Rev. Annas has lived 40 years in retirement, and said he
is very grateful for the life and support that has been provided by The United
Methodist Church; truly appreciating his health insurance and Conference pension
When asked about his fondest memories of ministry in
Upstate New York, Rev. Annas, after contemplating just a moment, talked about
his ministry at First United Methodist Church in Buffalo.
church had added a gymnasium, and one day, five young men appeared and said they
wanted to join the church. Rev Annas told them he realized they wanted to play
in the gym. He made them a deal: If they took a prep course, in six months, they
could decide if they wanted to join the church; in the meantime, he and they (he
joined them in their games) would play (in the gym).
On a Sunday
many months later, the church welcomed 31 new members, including these five
Rev. Annas reminisced about how the members of Buffalo
First often had two working adults in their families and a keen desire to start
children's ministries. They stepped out in faith and hired Bethany King as the
After the war, members of his church rallied
around the Religion and Labor Foundation; he was friends with some of the very
prominent members of that movement. But that foundation, later, stopped calling
meetings because they felt they had been infiltrated with people who had
ulterior motives in opposition to the principles and mission of the Foundation.
He chuckled at the recollection of these exciting times.
all stood together before leaving for a walk around the grounds, Rev. Annas
offered a prayer, for Putney, for Bishop Matthews to have the empowering wisdom
for his work; for General Conference and for the Kingdom of
Vicki Putney is benefits officer/director of Human Resources
for the Upper New York Annual Conference.