John Stephen Moody Obituary

Steve Moody (Reverend John Stephen Moody) died Nov. 5, 2015, one day before his 67th birthday. Born on November 6, 1948 in Helena, Montana, Steve began his journey as one of the wisest men we all knew. He was a lifelong learner, a creator, a minister to many, a man with a keen sense of humor, and a warrior for human decency and spirituality. In recent months Steve said each day was a good day and life had never been better.

He passed away just as he desired, making all his own decisions with his intelligent, capable, beautiful partner and wife of 24 years, Ann Moody (Carol Ann Kimmel), by his side. As a father, husband, brother, friend and counselor, Steve leaves behind a profound legacy.Steve was an EMT, a Pastor, and a hospital chaplain. He was also a newspaper delivery boy in his earliest years. Steve earned his Masters of Divinity from the School of Theology at Claremont in 1986 while residing in California, after which he was pastor at Downey Memorial Christian Church. Previously, he completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern Christian College and the University of Oregon, where he earned a bachelor of Religious Studies in 1982. He also attended the University of Montana and Montana State University several years prior to making his decision at age 30 to become an ordained minister.

He had the goal of one day making it back to Helena to be the pastor at First Christian Church, which was a significant place for him. Not only did he grow up in that church, but his grandfather, Rev. Sam Crabtree, whom he never knew, first preached there in the late 1890s and later preached his last sermon there in 1943.Steve returned to Montana in 1989. He was chaplain for several organizations, some shorter-lived than others; the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, the V.A. hospital in Helena and St. Peter’s hospital and hospice for nearly 10 years. He was pastor at Clancy United Methodist Church from 1992 until 2001, and went on to First Christian Church where he retired from ministry in May 2006.

Steve’s life’s work was to help others and encourage them to do their best, while he honestly shared that he was not perfect himself. Steve had tenacity, and continuously engaged people in dialogue and critical thinking. He was a spiritual man with genius wit and a religion that evolved for him over his lifetime, a religion that resided in the sacred space of his heart and soul. If you had the opportunity to converse with Steve about religion, politics and the good of people on earth, you may have felt enlightened and wanted to follow him the rest of your life.

Although he loved to talk, he also loved to plan projects and create. He was an enthusiastic engineer without the degree and admits he would have liked to be an engineer had his life followed a different path. Steve’s attention to detail and acuity allowed him, with Ann’s help, to gut and rebuild a house, design and craft numerous gadgets, and even build his infamous potato launching cannon. Today you may still be able to see potatoes sprouting in the Clancy schoolyard.While growing up, Steve spent many seasons with his family and cousins hunting, working and playing hard. When he was 13 a miracle happened that changed his life forever; he
left church camp behind and was hired by his beloved uncle, Arnold Rieder.

He was part of a team on his Uncle’s 37 Ranch to bale hay and store it for winter to feed the cows. In Steve’s words, “this is where [he] learned for the first time what really hard work is and how satisfying it is to build a haystack and step back and assess the final work. [He] learned more about weather, rain, the growth cycle, cattle, reverence for the creation, and first hand knowledge of how God works in the world than [he] could learn in a lifetime of church camps.”

One of Steve’s highest honors was his beautiful family. Steve was rewarded by the hard work of blending a family with three daughters from his first two marriages, and Ann’s daughter and three sons from her previous marriages. Although he sometimes thought it a chaotic life, he felt eternally blessed by the additional daughters, sons, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, great grandchildren and cousins he gained in his life. In his life, Steve sought the serenity to accept the things he could not change, the courage to change the things he could, and in the end he had the wisdom to know the difference.When my bones are flowing into the stream and down the river to the ocean,then I will know what forever is.

Steve MoodyHe was preceded in death by his father Robert Moody and mother Miriam (Crabtree) Moody, father-in-law and mother
in-law Walter and Carol Kimmel. Steve is survived by his wife Ann Moody; daughters Jessica Fox and Anna and Sarah Moody; daughter and son in-law Loraine and Joe Wodnik; son and daughter in-law Tup and Adele Swaim; sons and daughters in-law Bill and Patty Swaim and Mark and Diane Swaim; sister Janet (Moody) Stiles, brother and sister-in-law Jim and Julie Moody, brothers and sisters in-law Grear and Linda Kimmel and Jim and Linda Kimmel; eight grandchildren: Gavin and Sage Fox, Travis and Brian Shepard, Breanna and Stephanie Wodnik, Krystin (Swaim) Andrezejewski, Jon Swaim, Zach Swaim, Tori (Swaim) Spencer, Justine Swaim; and two great grand children Collin and Josie Andrezejewski; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Steve is eternally grateful for the friends, family, nurses, and doctors who cared for him at the end of his life. He had what he called “a personal support team to die for.”A Celebration of Steve’s Life was held Nov. 14 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Helena. The family suggests donations in Steve’s name may be made to the Cancer Treatment Center, C/O St. Peter’s Hospital 2475 E.
Broadway Street, Helena, MT 59601. Please visit to offer a condolence to the family