John Elwood Althouse, 75, EHS grad, Army vet, heavy machinery mechanic, train lover

By on March 1, 2017

John Elwood Althouse, 75, of Ephrata Township, died Feb. 23, 2017 at the home of his son, Michael John, in Palmyra.

Born in 1941, the son of Harvey Shimp Althouse, Sr. and Arletta May Fry Althouse, he graduated from Ephrata High School in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army for three years, 1959-62, including two in Germany.

On Feb. 14, 1966, he married the former Gail Smith and they settled first in New Holland and later in Ephrata Township. His work included that of a heavy machinery mechanic, residential excavating, and doing snow removal in winter.

He had a passion for trains, canals and cars. He knew the name of every U.S. railroad, where it went, and what it became in future mergers. He especially loved to trace the historic Pennsylvania canal system. He could identify any car he saw by make, model, and year.

He is survived by his son: Michael John (May); a granddaughter: Brittany; a brother: Neil; three sisters: LaVonne, Inez Hare (Curtis) and Joan; and nephews and nieces.

His wife, Gail, predeceased him in 1998. Two brothers, David Lee and Harvey Jr., also predeceased him.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 4, at 11 a.m., at Bergstrasse Evangelical Lutheran Church, 9 Hahnstown Road, Ephrata, with the Rev. Herbert Lohr officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Interment will be private in Bergstrasse Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery at the convenience of the family.

Arrangements by the Stradling Funeral Home, Inc., Akron/Ephrata. To send the family online condolences, please visit

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