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John A. Mote, Methodist pastor

By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

5:23 PM EDT, October 17, 2011

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The Rev. John Anson "Jack" Mote, retired pastor of the old Wilson Memorial United Methodist Church, died of pancreatic cancer Oct. 4 at his home on Camano Island, Wash. The former North Baltimore resident was 91.

Born in Piqua, Ohio, he was a graduate of what was then Western Maryland College who had served in the Army during World War II. He opposed the war on moral grounds

"In 1944, when he asked to be released from the Army as a conscientious objector, Mote was a 24-year-old attendant at Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania. He had been in the Army nearly two years. 'To compromise with conscience is to lose it,' he wrote in his letter requesting separation. 'To lose conscience is to destroy one's individual consciousness of God,'" said a 2002 article on his World War II years.

After the war he went to St. Nazaire, France, to do relief work with the American Friends Service Committee. As a member of the Quaker Transport Unit, he helped to move French families out of war-damaged homes into their new residences.

He also participated in the construction of a school in the town of Le Chambon, where the French villagers had enabled 5,000 refugees, most of them Jewish, to escape from the Nazis by taking them into their homes and pretending that they were family members.

After returning to the United States, he earned a degree at Duke Theological Seminary. Mr. Mote served numerous United Methodist churches in the Baltimore Washington Conference during his 59-year ministry. A former pastor of the old Wilson Memorial Church at Charles Street and University Parkway, he also served in Hamilton, Parkville and at the Caroline Street United Methodist Church in Southeast Baltimore. He was also an associate pastor of the Mount Vernon Place and Hiss United Methodist churches.

Active in civil rights, he and his daughters attended Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. He also marched with Dr. King in Selma, Ala.

Family members said he often worked in the congregations struggling to retain memberships as families moved to suburbs and elderly members died.

He often worked with the elderly and conducted seminars on coping with aging. He was also a resident of the 4300 N. Charles apartments and fought the Calvert School's purchase of them for a campus expansion. He retired in 2000 and moved to Camano Island in 2007.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 13 at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, 2200 St. Paul St.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Maxine Raines; three daughters, Deborah Rice of Baltimore, Karen Wilson of Camano Island and Susan Smith of Mebane, N.C.; and three grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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