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John Kilzer Bio, Wiki, Age, Wife, Children, Music, Associate Pastor, Cause of Death

St. John's United Methodist Church Associate pastor and Memphis, John Kilzer dies suddenly

John Kilzer Bio, Wiki

John Kilzer was born on January 7th, 1957 and reported dead on March 12th, 2019 aged 62. He was a former Memphis Tigers basketball player and singer/songwriter-turned-pastor. He served in St. John’s United Methodist Church, as an associate pastor for recovery ministries.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the sudden death of John Kilzer, our associate pastor of recovery ministries and our friend,” reads a statement from the church.

John Kilzer Quick Facts

Born: He was born on January 7th, 1957
Died: His death was reported on March 12th, 2019.
Cause of Death: The cause of death was not disclosed with a statement from St. John’s United Methodist Church stating his death was sudden.
Occupation: He served in St. John’s United Methodist Church, as an associate pastor for recovery ministries.
Wife: Stacy Kilzer

John Kilzer Background Information and Music Career

Kilzer was born in Jackson and was a star basketball player at Jackson Central-Merry before playing ball for the Memphis State Tigers in the late 1970s. He went on to earn a master’s degree in literature and teach literature and composition at Memphis State. During these years, he learned to play guitar, sing and write songs. His songwriting efforts led him to a record deal in 1987 with Geffen Records. His two releases with Geffen, “Memory in the Making” and “Busman’s Holiday,” spawned several hits and sent Kilzer touring around the world with his music.

Kilzer recorded two albums for Geffen, “Memory in the Making” in 1988 and “Busman’s Holiday” in 1991. Rosanne Cash, Trace Adkins, and Maria Muldaur recorded his songs.

Kilzer decided to walk away from the record deal his music deal back in the 90s while was on a European tour. Kilzer and a guide had gone to visit the graves of Jim Morrison and his literary heroes when a storm began.

Speaking in an interview, Kilzer recalled “It got strange and weird, and I turned around and she was gone. The sun was going down, bits of rain starting to fall, the wind was blowing and I felt like I was dying.”

He ran to the only church he knew of in Paris, and its most famous – Notre Dame Cathedral, finding its lights, then arriving in front of the church just as the lights went out.

Kilzer said. “I knew I was dead, so I figured out it’s just the dying part. Still had a heartbeat, just didn’t have a spirit.”

John Kilzer Recovery

Upon returning to the US, Kilzer negotiated an end to his music business contracts. He underwent a drug recovery program after a chance encounter with civil rights movement icon Rev. James Lawson at Calvary, where he had come earlier to perform as a musician in the Calvary and the Arts series.

Kilzer started The Way in 2010, a recovery service at St. John’s on Friday nights that is based on the beatitudes and 12-step programs.

With the recovery ministry, the last of several attempts he made at becoming a minister, Kilzer’s recording and songwriting career was also revived through a series of albums he made starting in 2000 with Archer Records.

Kilzer released his latest single in January 2019 “Scars.” He was scheduled to play Beale Street Music Festival the first weekend in May 2019.

Kilzer was also set to return to the Calvary Episcopal Church Lenten Preaching series in a joint appearance with fellow musician Kirk Whalum. The two collaborated on the 2014 song “Until We’re All Free,” with a video shot in the Crosstown area three years ago – just as the Crosstown Concourse was on its way to being rebuilt.

One of Kilzer’s albums for Archer was titled “Seven” after a prisoner Kilzer met while he was locked up in the Shelby County Jail for drunken behavior.

John Kilzer Death and Cause

John Kilzer death was announced on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019.

His death was disclosed by St. John’s United Methodist Church in Memphis, where he served as an associate pastor for recovery ministries. A cause of death was not disclosed. The church said in a statement that it was a sudden death.

John Kilzer Albums

  • Memory in the Making (1988)
  • Hide Away (2014)
  • Seven (2012)
  • Scars (2019)
  • Fried Glass Onions – Memphis Meets The Beatles (2005)
  • Fried Glass Onions: Memphis Meets the Beatles Vol. 2 (2005)

John Kilzer recording Labels

  • Geffen Records
  • Madjack Records
  • Inside Sounds
  • Archer Records

John Kilzer in Highlights

January 7th, 1957: Born in Jackson to a railroad train engineer.

As from 1973 to 1975:  He played basketball for two years at All State and one year as an All American basketball player for Jackson Central-Merry.

1975: He entered Memphis State in a Four-year letterman in basketball. Earned an MA in English.

1984-1987: Served as a Full-time instructor at Memphis State from 1984-1987, teaching modern literature and basic composition. Master’s thesis on William Butler Yeats and Carl Jung.

1987-1991: He Signed major recording deal with Geffen Records in Los Angeles in 1987. The first recording, “Memory in the Making,” had a top-10 song, “Red Blue Jeans,” in AOR charts. Did MTV video, traveled the states with the Moody Blues and Little Feat, then all of Europe with the Canadian band Tragically Hip.

1992: His second recording “Busman’s Holiday,” followed by more touring.

1997-2000: He Signed a publishing deal with Belz Publishing between 1997-2000, writings songs mostly in Los Angeles and Nashville. Had songs recorded by Rosanne Cash, Trace Adkins, Jimmy Davis and Dobie Gray. Had a song used in “Melrose Place.”

2000: He entered a drug recovery program.

2005: He earned a master of divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary.

2007-2009: He was appointed Pastor of two-point charge in Crockett County.

2009: He was named the director of Theology & Arts at Memphis Theological Seminary.

2010: He was ordained elder in United Methodist Church. Began recovery ministry at St. John’s UMC.

2011: He was Awarded a PhD from Middlesex University in London, England.

2019: Died


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