January 15, 1930 - December 12, 2016
John Hepp Jr. was born to John Hepp and Hazel Dot Hepp on January 15, 1930 in Fort Worth Texas. John lived most of his early years in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Sunset High, earned his Bachelorís degree at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, and returned to Dallas for a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Bob Jones, and before entering Dallas Seminary, he married his long-time sweetheart Billie Jean McKenzie. He was 20 at the time. She was 21. Mere kids!
While John was attending Dallas Seminary, John and Billie were blessed with their first two children, John Stephen and David. To support his small family, John worked as a cab driver and sorted mail at the post office. He also began preaching at an Hispanic church in West Dallas, where he became the interim pastor after graduating from Dallas Seminary in 1956. In 1958, at the request of Central American Mission, John and Billie Jean ó now with their two boys and Cindy ó moved to Puebla, Mexico. There they helped found Puebla Bible Institute, which is still in operation, and taught and preached in Spanish. Their youngest child, Brad, was born in Puebla.
In 1970 the Hepps moved with their four children to Van, Texas. At the request of TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) John began directing the development of curriculum for LIT (Leadership Instruction & Training). LIT was designed for students in mission countries (such as India) who know English as a second language. Johnís task was primarily to write and edit many Bible-related, self-study courses, which have been studied by hundreds.
Johnís theology was conservative and premillennial. He saw Godís kingdom as the main theme of the Bible.
John retired from TEAM in 2002 and later from LIT, which by then was under another mission. Following retirement, he ministered occasionally in the local Hispanic church and taught classes in the nursing home, at Hideaway Lake, and at First Baptist Church of Van. But mostly he continued writing Bible studies, nearly all in English. Many of his writings are available on his website, www.kingdominbible.com, which now gets about 20,000 visits per year from all over the world. He had personal offices at home and at First Baptist Church of Van.
Johnís beloved Billie went to heaven in February of 2006. He noted that ďthe vacuum is so painful when you are affectionate!Ē But the Lord provided some ďadoptedĒ children and grandchildren nearby who helped fill the empty space. Some of his new friends got to know him when he was on his daily walks on the track across the street at the old school stadium. At home, he often kept light classical music playing, and sometimes worked in his yard or woodshop. He also enjoyed fishing at the ponds of friends.
After 86 years of remarkably good health, John started declining rapidly in August of this year. Treatment for Lymphoma and internal bleeding left him so weakened that he requested to be moved to The Hospice of East Texas, in Tyler. After just a few days there on December 12, he passed away.
John is survived by four children and five grandchildren: John Stephen with his wife Jennifer and their son Stephen, all in the Austin area; David Hepp, in Austin; Cindy and her husband Don DeBoer in McKinney, along with their sons Donnie and Nathaniel; Brad and his wife Susan, along with their two sons Jonathan, and Joshua, in Dallas.
John has three surviving sisters: Jackie Hart, Carolyn King, Margie Leggett
John was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 56 years, Billie Jean; and by one of his four younger sisters: Gloria Capps