Rev. John W. Keating - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Rev. John W. Keating

January 30, 1947 - April 11, 2023

Rev. John W. Keating, age 76, of Elkton, MD, passed away on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

Born in Floral Park, NY on January 30, 1947, he was a son of the late Valentine Keating and Doris (Caine) Lund. John served as the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for 22 years until his retirement.

John had an adventurous spirit which he carried into his love of horses, traveling, flyfishing, painting and carpentry. He dedicated his life to his family.

John is survived by his wife, Karla M. (Murphy) Johnson; children, Christine Reilly (Dennis), Margaret Keating, and Kyron Johnson (Joanna); siblings, Timothy Keating (A.J.) and Valerie Lumene; Christine and Margaret’s mother, Kathryn Keating; and many nieces and nephews.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 pm until 2 pm on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 701 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19713, where a memorial service will begin at 2 pm. Interment will follow in the church memorial garden.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at the address listed above.


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15 Condolences for Rev. John W. Keating

  • John was an admired colleague and friend for over 40 years! He was a truly genuine caring pastor, an excellent preacher, and a great human being. I am honored for having known and ministered with him! Pastor Dave Mueller

  • Our deepest condolences 🙏 to the family.
    Roy and Barbara Palo

  • You will be missed Pastor Keating. It seems like just yesterday that you married Donna and I even though it was 20 years ago. My sincere condolences to the family. Rest in Peace!

  • You were our Pastor and our Friend. We will always remember you.
    In Christ’s love,
    Gail, Susan, Christine, & Sue

  • Love Rev. Keating when he filled in at our church, St. Marks Lutheran Church for over a year. We loved his stories that he added to his sermons. Truly will be missed💔✝️🙏

  • While I was not surprised to hear of John’s passing, I join his family, friends and all those who were inspired by his ministry as we mourn. As he said to many of us, God had blessed him with a good life, and God blessed us with his wisdom, faith, and kindness. Rest in peace dear friend!

  • To the Keating family-my thoughts and prayers are with you and John. I enjoyed my conversations with John and his many insightful comments
    David Maged

  • Pastor Keating was a godsend to my family and me in times of birth and joy, death and sorrow. His heart was as big as he himself was. He was called as surely as Jesus commissioned Peter: “Feed my sheep.” He always made time.

    John lived his faith through his suffering in later years: Mark 14:36 – “And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” As the end neared: 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 – “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison . . . “ 2 Timothy 4-7: – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And John 5:24 – “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

    In his own words, feeding the sheep, from the closing of his March 13, 1994 sermon: “Like Nicodemus, you and I have also heard this gospel invitation offered by Jesus.You need not prove yourself by attempting to be holy or righteous. You need do nothing but come to the light. Step into the light. Don’t let shame, or guilt, or fear, or arrogance turn you away. Come, come to the light. Step into the light. Show yourself for who you really are: God’s beloved. Amen.

    My deepest sympathy to John’s family. May it be well with his soul.

    Virginia Frattarola

  • Dear Karla and Pastor John’s Loved Ones,
    May God and His Crew of Angels Comfort You and Carry You Through.
    I’ve known Pastor John around 26 years as we stayed in touch over time. Karla, I was happy to meet you and him for lunch in Delaware last July. We had much email communication thru the years and I went thru many of the emails today. I remember his happiness upon meeting you Karla. He wrote to me: “She’s a former red-head and a professional techy and computer guru. She has a classic Camaro and a Honda Shadow motorcycle with a side car. She drives the bike and I ride in the side car. Very cool now that I am used to death defying drives….We are so different from one another, but that just makes us both laugh….I am blessed to have her in my life.” He and I talked of death and dying a year plus ago and he wrote to me:”I can’t say that my attitude about dying is as open and uncomplicated as I would like, but I am making progress. I have come to the point where I know what I want my last thought and words to be….Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” He was a fan of John Coltrane and one of his favorite quotes was:” No matter what…it is all with God. He is gracious and merciful. His way is through love, in which we all are. It is truly- A Love Supreme”. I will miss him very deeply, but he clearly made a point to me over and over that death is :” Simply entering into Life after Life”. God Bless and Condolences and Hugs, Kyle Merbach

  • A heartbreaking loss, but John’s good deeds and love will continue to reverberate through our world.

  • So, so very sorry for your loss.

  • Pastor Keating invited and encouraged me to join St. Paul’s, however, regretfully, I put it off until one and a half years after his retirement. He was such a kind and humble man. I always enjoyed his sermons with a personal touch. My deepest sympathy to Pastor John’s wife and family.

  • “Love and grace in the way that Christ showed are so profound that human imperfections – our hunger for power, our egos, and our insecurities, dwarf in comparison,” he would often say encouragingly when I seemed to continually climb a slippery slope of doing anything good. “We do what we do to share that love and grace.”

    Serving on the Church Council with him, getting to know him as a friend for many years, him helping to rebuild my deck, mending my broken heart, celebrating with me when things were going well, sharing his cancer diagnosis, to talking about how we got to get his sermons into a book one day, have been some of my greatest privileges – along with learning about leadership and grace from this man, Pastor John.

    I’m so grateful for this friendship, for the privilege of cooking lamb curry for him (which he so thoroughly enjoyed), for sharing copious cups of chai and meals over long chats, for learning so much from him about grace and servant leadership and making relevant the ancient stories of love and grace in today’s world.

    His last text to me less than two weeks ago started with “What a beautiful morning. The start of an amazing day” and ended with, “Life is good…just hard sometimes.”
    Yes, even amidst all the hardships, life is so incredibly beautiful and I’m so grateful for Pastor John.

    Rest in Peace, Pastor John. You are so deeply missed.

  • The first time I saw Pastor Keating enter our sanctuary at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in his sandals and white robe, I truly believed that John the Baptist was entering! Then I heard him speak – in that deep, wonderful baritone voice – greeting all and giving us such personal, memorable sermons. The Lord knew that we at St. Mark’s needed him with us at that time! He fed us with peace and his love. I am so sad to hear of his passing, but thank God for giving him to us for that short time. I know he brings much laughter to his heavenly home! May his family feel our hugs and love for him as they grieve.

  • John also served as pastor of Our Saviour’s Atonement Lutheran Church in New York City prior to becoming pastor of St. Paul’s. During that time he also served as campus pastor through Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education. I followed John as pastor of Our Saviour’s Atonement. I know he was beloved pastor to people in that congregation. He drew many younger people to that congregation, including people who had been away from the church for many years. My deepest sympathy to his family and all who loved him.