Cover photo for John Selby Homer, PhD.'s Obituary
John Selby Homer, PhD. Profile Photo
1940 John 2021

John Selby Homer, PhD.

March 2, 1940 — December 11, 2021


John Selby Homer, Ph.D., 81, of Olivet, Michigan passed away on Saturday, December 11, 2021 in a car accident in Charlotte, Michigan.

John was born on March 2, 1940 to Arthur and Florence (Selby) Homer in Hinsdale, Illinois. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Western Michigan University and his Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Economics from the University of Hawai’i. He has been teaching Economics and various interdisciplinary studies at Olivet College for the past 42 years.

John married Joan Garthe on December 22, 1980. He and Joan were active members of Olivet Congregational Church.

John is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Joan Garthe as well as his children: Anna (Rusty) McBride of Whitehall, Michigan, Arthur (Autumn) Homer of Battle Creek, Michigan, Elizabeth Homer of Washington DC, Andrew Homer of Bellevue, Nebraska, and Katherine Homer of Olivet, Michigan. He is also survived by his grandchildren Sean McBride, Sam McBride, Kirby Homer, Gavin Homer and Easton Homer as well as his sister Mary (Richard) Blackney of Florida.

Dr. Homer’s passion was teaching and the connections he made with students. He touched 1,000’s of lives through the years with his caring personality and his ability to make students feel seen and heard. Dr. Homer was a leader in throwback educational practices and was very well known for requiring his students to hand write essays, always in cursive. He felt it aided in content retention and upon finishing one of his classes it was very hard to argue the point. All of this was done in the age of software that will correct your grammar and spelling.

Dr. Homer won numerous awards at Olivet College and the majority of them were voted on by the students. You would be hard pressed to meet an Olivet College alumni who didn’t know Dr. Homer and usually the conversation was followed up by the words, “he was my favorite professor”.

Besides teaching John was a very active member in the community of Olivet and seemingly knew everyone. He loved to hunt and fish with friends. He was an avid reader who also loved gardening and watching Star Trek. He was affectionately known as “the water boy” to the Olivet College Football Team, “the grill king” during Night On The Town events, and was very active with the Olivet High School band and enjoyed these various roles. He also assisted with the long jump on the Olivet High School track team and would go to the state meet every year to “rake the pit”.

Dr. Homer was preceded in death by his parents.

Visitation will be from 3 - 7 p.m. on Friday, February 25, 2022, at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, 723 US Hwy 27 N, Marshall, MI  49068.  A memorial service, to celebrate Dr. Homer’s life, will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 26, 2022, at Olivet Congregational Church, 125 College St., Olivet, MI  49076.

Memorial contributions can be made to the John Homer Memorial Scholarship through Olivet College.

It has been said that a person has succeeded in life if they have made the world a better place through uplifting people and making them better. Dr. Homer fulfilled this role tenfold.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Selby Homer, PhD., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 25, 2022

3:00 - 7:00pm (Eastern time)

Kempf Family Funeral Home-Marshall Chapel

723 US Highway 27 North, Marshall, MI 49068

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)

Olivet Congregational Church

125 College Street, Olivet, MI 49076

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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