We are all deeply saddened by the news of the death of Jonathan Andrew Voorhees. He died at his home in Kent, Connecticut on July 28, 2018. Jonathan was born in Turlock, California to Albert and Nedra Voorhees on August 12, 1966, the youngest of their three sons. He was educated in Turlock schools, graduating from Turlock High School in 1984. He received degrees from University of California, Santa Cruz, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and Wesleyan University. He was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Utah and served schools and parishes in Utah, Oregon, Virginia and Connecticut, as well as being commissioned as a chaplain in the United States Army Reserve. He is survived by his wife, Amy, their two daughters, Beatrice and Althea, all of Kent, Connecticut, his mother, Nedra of Turlock and his two brothers, Paul of Turlock and Kevin (Jennifer) of Marina, California. He will be dearly missed by his aunt, Beryl Simkins (John), his uncle, Jeffrey Sahlstrom (Sandra) and his cousins: Mark Kirkes (Dana), Lynn Kirkes (Carol) and Zachary Sahlstrom (Christie). He is preceded in death by his father, Albert and his grandparents H.R. and Vera Sahlstrom.
Jonathan began his priestly work at an Episcopal school, Rowland Hall-St Mark’s, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he discovered his love of working with teenagers in a school setting. He was a chaplain, a teacher, a coach, a friend-—all roles he cherished in his relationships with his students. He joined the faculty of Oregon Episcopal School where he taught happily for several years until he moved to Virginia to begin work at St Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville as assistant rector and chaplain to the Episcopal students at the University of Virginia. Though he enjoyed his time in Thomas Jefferson’s territory, he later discovered his real place was at Kent School in Kent, Connecticut. He fell in love with New England and its changing and challenging seasons in this school perched right next to the Appalachian Trail as it traverses through northern Connecticut. He was the chaplain, a teacher of English and Theology, a coach of basketball and soccer and friend to all. Here he found his home.
Jonathan was a reader of all kinds of literature, a writer, an avid journalist, a movie connoisseur, an earnest sports fan (he never gave up on the Giants), an astute observer of the world as is illustrated in his many sermons which he posted for all to read and consider on his blog. He was never without a book or a pad of paper. Many a day or night could be spent in insightful conversation with Jonathan. Over coffee or a glass of wine, it was time to be cherished.
He was a letter writer in an age which lives by the tweet or text. He simply had more to say and consider. He was a hiker, but also a motorcyclist. He loved the contemplative time but also the speed and the freedom of an empty road. He loved his family and viewed their accomplishments with pride and enthusiasm, he enjoyed every moment spent with them. He embraced all of the varied aspects of his life.
A Celebration of Jonathan’s life will be held at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 915 East Main Street, Turlock, California on August 18, 2018 at 1:00PM. Remembrances in Jonathan’s memory can be made to The Kent School Scholarship Fund or the National Audubon Society in Sharon, Connecticut.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, amen.