John Nunnikhoven, 87, of Chester

John A. Nunnikhoven 87, died at his home in Chester on Monday, April 1, 2024.  Born March 11, 1937 in Burlington, Iowa, he was the eldest child of Antonie A. and Margaret L. (Spence) Nunnikhoven.  He attended Iowa State University and Monmouth College graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and a minor Chemistry.

On April 18, 1958, John married his childhood sweetheart, Betty L. Miller in New Sharon, Iowa.  After graduation, John began his career in the field of computer sciences as a system analyst with U.S. Steel.  He and Betty settled their growing family in the suburbs of Chicago as John’s career took him to other major corporations, including Amico International Oil, Standard Oil and International Minerals & Chemicals.  During a family vacation to New England in 1967, John and Betty fell in love with the village of Weston.  After searching for a job in New England, John was hired by American Can Corp. and the family moved to Connecticut.

After nearly 20 years with corporations, in May 1979, John and Betty purchased the Colonial House Inn & Motel in Weston.  They operated the inn for more than 23 years, expanding the breakfast, adding evening meals and hosting thousands of houseguests.  During their time at the inn, each of their children and two of their in-law children worked in the business. It was a point of pride for John.  In 2002, John and Betty sold the Colonial House to their daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Jeff Seymour.

Raised as a Christian, John’s spirituality reignited when he experienced the Weston Priory.  Many of their houseguests would come to visit the Priory and became personal friends and mentors to John and Betty.  With his curious mind, he was always reading and studying theological writers.  He saw an ad in Christianity Today for a year-long extensive course in Christian world-view and apologetics with Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship. In 2005, John and Betty began a new journey in prison ministry as John’s last career started.

For more than 19 years, they ministered in the local prisons offering spiritual guidance and support.  They occasionally provided interim housing and re-entry support for former inmates as well as hosted Church at Home for their “guys.” He became an ordained minister in 2013 through The Church at Prison and was a founding member of the Fellowship of Ailbe.  Throughout the years, John volunteered at the Gill Home in Ludlow, singing his favorite hymns to the residents there and sharing childhood stories intertwined with the gospel.  For the last six years, John was an active member of the Ludlow Baptist Church.  He enjoyed reading, fishing, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, but most of all enjoyed spending time with his family.

He lives on through his beloved wife, Betty, their three children, Antonie J. (Heidi) Nunnikhoven, David J. Nunnikhoven and Kimberly A. Seymour (Jeffrey); their six grandchildren: Sandy, Marieka, Alexis, Libby, Sam (Tess) and Jack (Lauren). He is also survived by  siblings Joe, Marcia, Thomas and Steven;  his sister-in-law, Thelma (Miller) Mosander; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.  John was predeceased by his parents, brother-in-laws, Paul and Delbert, and sister, Nelda.

A memorial service will be celebrated at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13  at the Ludlow Baptist Church, 99 Main St. in Ludlow,  followed by food and fellowship.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ludlow Baptist Church, Church at Prison in Jericho or the Fellowship of Ailbe.

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