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John Elton Hibbard
A memorial service was held Saturday at Turlock Free Will Baptist Church for former Ceres pastor John Elton Hibbard, 56, of Modesto. After battling cancer, he died May 7, 2012 at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson surrounded by family.

Interment was at Sunset View Cemetery in Jackson.

Born Nov. 21, 1955 in Taft to Elmer and Harriet Hibbard, John graduated from Taft Union High School in 1973 and graduated from California Christian College in Fresno, in 1977. He married Melba Kennedy on May 29, 1976 and the couple moved as John's ministry led to different churches throughout California for 25 years. He founded and established the Amador Free Will Baptist Church in Pioneer and pastored there for 11 years. Rev. Hibbard most recently pastored at Village Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church in Ceres for six years. John was a craftsman in carpentry and was awarded Craftsman of the Year in 2006. Mr. Hibbard's faith in God and ministry was first and foremost in his life which was his source of strength. He especially enjoyed ministering to the senior citizens of his church, carpentry and family time.

He leaves behind his wife, Melba Hibbard; and his children, Tim Hibbard of Ripon, Jessica Gaston of Woodward, Okla., and Allison Hibbard of Turlock. John was preceded in death by granddaughter Addison June Gaston, parents Elmer and Harriet Hibbard, brother Jimmy Flippen and in-laws Paul and June Kennedy.

Remembrances may be sent to Central Valley Bible Institute, 2217 Geer Rd., Turlock, CA; or to the Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2201 Euclid Rd., Hughson, CA.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting and signing the guest book.

-Ceres Courier/ May 16, 2012