Obituary for John Washington at Bagwell Funeral Home (2024)

Mayor John Arthur Washington Sr.

Today we lay to rest my husband, our father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, godfather, and a dear friend to many. As we remember the amazing life of our loved one, we come together to celebrate John A. Washington Sr.

John Arthur Washington Sr., “Foots” the son of the late Reverend Dr. Peter Washington, Sr. and Reverend Dr. Mary “Mother” Washington, was born on February 28, 1943, in a house on Mitchell Avenue, in Penns Grove, New Jersey. He went home to be with the Lord on Monday, January 15, 2024, at the Inspira Medical Center in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

John is one of eighteen brothers and sisters, and spent many years of his life traveling with his family, the Washington Family Gospel Singers, spreading God’s Word through song.

He attended the Penns Grove, Carney’s Point school system and was a graduate of Penns Grove High School class of 1962,

John met and married his wife of 43 years, Rhodette Crews in January 1981, and from that union they were blessed with one son, John Arthur Washington, Jr.

In 1963 John was employed by General Motors Corporation. In 1975 he was elected to be a union official representing the employees at the plant. He worked his way up through the ranks and became the Bargaining Chairman of the union in 1984 (Local 435 UAW). In 1992 he was promoted to international servicing representative to service the employee in Delaware. John represented many other corporations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland during his employment at General Motors until his retirement from Local 435 (UAW) and (UAW) international union after 29 years of service. John also worked at Lou’s Sunoco gas station on Shell Road in Carneys Point with Lou Pagnotto for many years while employed at General Motors Corporation.

In 1964 John joined the New Jersey Army National Guard. He worked his way up from a private to a First Sergeant. He held many positions while there including Corporal 114th infantry division in Salem New Jersey and Battalion intelligence Sergeant 3/102 armored division in Vineland New Jersey. This is only two of his many promotions. He received over 60 certificates of schools completed in the military including Professional Development and Training Management Systems.

John retired from the National Guards in 1992 after 28 years of service. He went on to receive over 80 other certificates and rewards throughout the community for his service. He was also an active member of the NAACP organization, and the Salem County Coalition.

John was one of the Founding Members, and on the Board of Directors as General Treasurer at the St. Matthews Alpha and Omega Pentecostal Church in Penns Grove, New Jersey under the

leadership of Overseer Reverend Dr. Peter Washington, Sr. and Reverend Dr. Mary “Mother” Washington, now known as Worldwide Outreach Restoration and Deliverance (W.O.R.D.)

Church under the leadership of Senior Pastors, Apostle Freddy Washington Sr., and Bishop Dr. Pamela Washington, where he served on the Board of Directors, Ordained Deacon – Deacon training, and Men’s Ministry. He also served at Shiloh Baptist Church also in Penns Grove, New Jersey, under the leadership of Senior Pastors Reverend William Tuff, and Reverend Patricia Tuff, where he was an Ordained Deacon – training Deacons, and served as the Minister of Music for 26 years.

In 1985, John became a Councilman in the city of Penns Grove where he served faithfully for 19 years before being elected as the first Afro-American Mayor of the Borough of Penns Grove in 2004. His Inauguration ceremony was held at the Penns Grove High School in Penns Grove, New Jersey. He served for four consecutive terms (16 years). He spent many long hours and drove many, many miles trying to obtain resources for the improvement of the town of Penns Grove. He spent many years overseeing the police department as the Police Commissioner, the Ambulance Squad, and the Fire Company.

Every year for 37 years we could see John at the Music Ministry & Arts Workshop, with the founder, Bishop Freddy Washington Sr., behind the concession tables cooking those hot sausages, hot dogs, etc. with all the trimmings, every night and at the concerts.

He served the Bagwell Funeral Home for many years, leading numerous funeral processionals, to the various resting places, blocking various traffic locations with his van globe light turning.

He spoke words of condolences to many families at the funeral services of their loved ones, as well as played the piano for many church funerals throughout the entire region.

There is so much more that can be said about John’s accomplishments, his awards, and his service. He knew the true meaning of the word Serve. He served his family, his community, and the church, with his whole heart. As he takes his rest, we can imagine the Lord saying to John, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

He leaves to cherish fond memories his faithful and loving wife Rhodette Washington, his son, John A. Washington Jr., three grandchildren, Camryn Washington, John Washington III, and Jeremiah Washington; five brothers, Andrew Jacob Washington (Nancy), Apostle Freddy Washington (Pamela), Gary C. Washington, P. George Washington (Georgette), and David J. Washington; four sisters, Mary E. Willitt, Arnetta J. Washington, Eleanor I. Washington, and Carolyn Ballard (Franklin); one aunt Carolyn Robinson; four goddaughters, Blessing Watson, Michelle Alexander, Ann Witherspoon, and Sharon Mays (Eric); one godson Eric Mays (Sharon); and a host of nieces, great nieces, nephews, great nephews, cousins, and many, many friends.

Lovingly Submitted,

The Family

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Obituary for John  Washington at Bagwell Funeral Home (2024)
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