ForeverMissed
We would love for you to read his full-length obituary (below), look through the photos in the "gallery," add your condolences as a "tribute" at the bottom of this page, and share your memories and photos of Jey in the "stories" section, so we can remember and treasure them all in one place.

As a family, we will celebrate Jey’s life with a more intimate gathering in the coming weeks, but we will wait to hold a memorial service and celebrate on a larger scale once it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, we request that donations be given to the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries, the Montreat Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the Christ Community Church Montreat (EPC), or First Church of Christ in Wethersfield (Congregational).

Rev. Dr. John Jey Deifell, Jr., age 80, of Black Mountain, NC went home to His Lord Jesus on Friday night, November 6, 2020, after succumbing to the COVID-19 virus while living at Givens Highland Farms Healthcare. His wife (Joan), son (David), and granddaughter (Madilyn) were able to do a “window visit” with him earlier in the evening, while his son (Tony) and daughter (Heather) joined them via FaceTime, and, covered in PPE, daughter (Hope) comforted him by his side. It was a sweet time of letting go, sharing their love with him, and giving him permission to go. A few hours later, they got the call that his “stats were dropping” and he wouldn’t last through the night, so they quickly devised a plan to take turns being with him through the night. Around 10:30 p.m, Heather arrived and donned PPE to sit with her father during his final moments. She caressed his face and sang Amazing Grace, and then he peacefully took his last breath and released his spirit into the hands of his Creator. Jey joined his parents, Joan’s mother (Cema Chreitzberg Chapman) and father (Lamar Stuart Chapman), his nephew (Christopher Hubbard), and his brother-in-love (Wade Bryant) in heaven. 

On December 31, 1939, Jey was born in Florence, SC, to the late Louise Holliday and John Jey Deifell. He was raised in Wallace, NC, and Greensboro, NC, as the middle child between two sisters. While at Greensboro High School, he was active in student government, Key Club, and Glee Club. Graduating in 1958, Jey went to UNC-Chapel Hill and began working for Southwestern Book Co. every summer to put himself through school. While at UNC, he served as the treasurer of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, President of the Freshman class, a member of the Honor Court, and an inductee into the Order of the Old Well. Jey earned his B.S. in Business Administration in 1962. 

After attending Princeton Theological Seminary for a semester on a Rockefeller Scholarship, Jey left wondering what to do next. In the spring of 1963, he met his soon-to-be wife Joan Chapman while visiting Converse College over May Day Weekend for a blind date, though not with her, and they had their first of many dances together. On their first date, they spent the whole day together: playing tennis, golfing, and swimming. To no surprise, they married just over a year later in June 1964. Listen to them tell the story of their engagement. During their courtship and with Joan’s prayerful support, Jey decided to return to a path towards the ministry and, in the fall of 1963, enrolled in Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA to be closer to Joan. During his years in seminary, he served as a preacher at Little Memorial Presbyterian Church in Murrells Inlet, SC; as youth director at First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach, SC; and as a student assistant to Dr. Fred Stair at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. While there, Jey and Joan hosted some Freedom Summer students, who were there to register blacks to vote. After receiving a M.Div. in Systematic Theology in 1966, he was ordained at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, by Rev. Dr. John Redhead.

In 1966, Jey and Joan moved to Scotland, where Jey pursued a doctorate from New College of the University of Edinburgh. With a dissertation entitled, “The Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge,” Jey earned a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology in 1969. In 1967, he began to serve as an assistant to The Very Rev. Robert Leonard Small CBE at St. Cuthbert’s Parish Church. In 1968, their first son, Anthony (“Tony”), was born in Edinburgh. Their time in Scotland cultivated a love for the British Isles, to which they returned three times for “pulpit exchanges” in Lanark (Scotland) in 1976, Edinburgh in 1983, and London in 1992. In each case, the family loved crossing the English Channel to tour the European continent, camping and visiting friends.

Returning to the U.S. in 1969, Jey’s first church was Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church in Gaithersburg, MD, where he served as pastor for 8½ years. During that time, his family grew, adding another son, David, in 1971 and daughter, Heather, in 1973, both born in Washington, DC. Jey and Joan also took in a member of their church youth group, Betsy Lodwick, when Jey became her legal guardian after she lost her parents. While in Gaithersburg, Jey was active in the National Capital Union Presbytery and invited to join a National Covenant Group of leaders committed to renewal of the Presbyterian Church. With access to the Washington Post as his local paper and with the nation’s capital at his doorstep, Jey became a news junkie, which he remained throughout the rest of his life. During this time, he also began taking regular summer trips to Topsail Beach, NC, for extended family time and fishing for blues, pompano, spot, and flounder.

In 1978, Jey and his family moved to Clearwater, FL, where he served as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church for the next 12½ years. Soon after their arrival, another daughter, Hope, was born in 1979. Active in the South Florida Presbytery, he became the Moderator for one year and traveled to visit the Presbytery’s sister city in Guatemala. Under his leadership, Trinity grew into a loving, energetic, intergenerational church. In 1988, Trinity encouraged Jey’s love for travel by blessing Joan and him with a trip to Africa, where they visited Presbyterian medical missionaries in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana. In addition to participating in Leadership Pinellas (county) while in Florida, Jey enjoyed year-round golf and tennis, and loved fishing for mackerel, tuna, grouper, and snapper.

In 1990, First Presbyterian Church of York, PA called Jey to pastor their inner-city congregation, where he championed the church’s ministry to the poor and served in the Presbytery of Donegal for 6 years. A member of one of the largest Rotary Clubs in the country, he particularly enjoyed assisting with the international youth exchange program. With most of his children in college, he began to enjoy renting movies, from popular blockbusters and old westerns to classics and obscure films. 

In 1996, God rewarded Jey’s years of service with a call to New England to lead the First Church of Christ, Congregational in Wethersfield, CT for 13½ years. Undaunted by moving to lead a church twice the size of his previous churches, Jey flourished in this last church, whose motto was “Where the Spirit is alive and miracles happen.” Receiving permission from the Presbytery of Southern New England to pastor a Congregational church, he was installed in the historic Meeting House (built in 1761) of this church that first gathered in 1635 and where George Washington once worshiped. Remaining committed to the Presbytery, Jey served on the Committee on Ministry while leading a large staff including his wife, Joan, who directed Caring Ministries. Together, they brought their Southern warmth of open arms and abounding hugs to this vibrant New England community. In 2013, this congregation honored Jey with the title of Minister Emeritus for his years of faithful service and care.

After retiring on Father’s Day in 2009, Jey and Joan moved to their home, “Rest and Be Thankful”, in Black Mountain, NC, where they had spent decades of summers since 1986. Once settled in Western North Carolina (WNC), Jey became a retired member of the Presbytery of WNC, preached on several occasions, and volunteered in various capacities in Montreat and with Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry in Black Mountain. His health and mind began to decline in 2015 with a diagnosis of vascular dementia, but Jey never lost his sweet, generous, appreciative, tender, loving, and pastoral spirit. All the way to the end, he enjoyed his family’s singing during window visits, gladly prayed with his family at the end of their regular video conference calls, and continually thanked the wonderful staff at Givens Highland Farms for their care for him. As a family, we also thank the awesome staff at Givens Highland Farms Healthcare for their exceptional care for him since his arrival in March 2019. 

Jey is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joan Chapman Deifell; four children: Tony Deifell of San Francisco, CA, David Deifell (Elizabeth) of Black Mountain, NC, Heather Deifell (Richmond) of Asheville, NC, and Hope Deifell of Black Mountain, NC; three grandchildren: Madilyn (15), Durham (8), and Iona (6); two sisters: Holly Deifell Ormond (Lyman) and Ann Deifell Hubbard (Steve); and his late father’s widow, Naomi Mathews Deifell. 
Posted by Dotty Shantz on November 23, 2020
Dearest Deifell Family,

Oh, how we loved the time spent with Jey and Joan at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, Florida. Denny and I were fairly new Christians, accepting the love of God in our early thirties and Jey was very instrumental in helping us grow our faith and we are eternally grateful for all he was and all he did for us and the Trinity Family. Our hearts go out to the wonderful Deifell family who like us, know that in time we will all be together again in heaven. What a joyous day it will be!
Posted by Erica Davis Dutzi on November 17, 2020
So sorry to hear that Jey passed away. Having you Deifells as neighbors in Gaithersburg meant so much to me. I spent countless hours with your kids, learning to change diapers, play and keep track of the boys while baby Heather was crawling around. Joan, thank you for teaching me so much!
Jey was the one who was responsible for a great part of my spiritual growth. I lived for our Monday night youth group meetings, and had an awesome time in Montreat in 1977 and 1978. So many of his sermons inspired me to this day. Although I have not been keeping up, you all have very special places in my heart. Thank you for even coming to visit me in my new hometown of Heidelberg, Germany. Sending you warmest wishes and prayers from across the ocean.
Posted by L. Boyd on November 17, 2020
Hope and my son, John, were in Trinity Presbyterian's preschool, together, and Jey hired me to teach a class on behavior management. He was gracious and appreciative, eager to learn, and engaged with the class avidly. He was a man among men, greatly to be appreciated. Blessings to his family and friends!
Posted by George, Cynthia And Sarah... on November 16, 2020
The world was a better place with Jey in it. He believed so strongly in Jesus that you became overwhelmed with his love and passion for Christ. He truly was a shepherd of Jesus. My wife and I renewed our vows of marriage 3 times with his help and he healed and made our family stronger because of it. Our hearts go out to Joan and family knowing he has reserved a big gathering room for us all in heaven and Jesus will be right there with him to greet us all. Jey you helped us to reach a goal of living in the present moment with God and for that we love, adore and are blessed knowing you. Goodbye good friend, see you soon ~ The Hoag’s
Posted by Carolyn Steele on November 16, 2020
Jey was more than a pastor. From Wednesday evening dinner programs, Sunday school and choir, during Exodus rehearsals...he was there and his door was always open.  I remember his firm voice of reason when we needed it.  He was there when my mom died, and his words and comfort got me through. He was there in the weeks leading up to and during my wedding. I thought of him as a father figure for our community and I send my heartfelt love to Joan and the Deifell family.
Posted by Maria Pantano on November 15, 2020
I loved being part of First Church when he was there. I loved his genuine warmth and kindness. I also loved his hugs and his encouragement for me to hug others. He is sorely missed.
My condolences to his family!

Posted by Roger Burkhart on November 14, 2020
Jey set Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church on the road to growth from the small colony church it was when my family joined 47 years ago to the much larger facility and congregation that it is today. He also established Community Outreach, both local and worldwide, as one of the guiding principles of GPC and this is still followed today.

We were very pleased that he and Joan were able to return for our 50th Anniversary celebration in 2014. As the senior of the returning pastors he gave the anniversary sermon and with the others provided interesting reminiscences during the fellowship gathering afterwards.

May the Lord and the passage of time ease the sorrow felt by Joan and his family at their loss and may pleasant memories of Jey fill their thoughts.
Posted by Pat Bragg on November 14, 2020
Jey (and Joan) were much loved by our family at GPC. Jey was a godly man and an inspiring preacher but he was also a good friend and our family enjoyed fun times together. Thankfully we remained in contact over the years. Hugs and prayers for Joan and the family. Much love, Martha DeBruin and family.
Posted by Marianne Avery on November 14, 2020
I am so very sorry for your loss. Love and prayers to your family. Marianne Avery
Posted by George Lazenby on November 13, 2020
I was so saddened to hear of Jey's passing. He was our minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, and my parents and I were lucky to share time with the Deifell family outside of church. Jey's passion for his faith, and his family, was undeniable. He was a wonderful man who did not just talk the talk; he walked the walk. I'm sure he'll be missed terribly by his family and friends, but he leaves a lasting legacy of faith, family, and fellowship. My his memory be a blessing, always. Sending love to Joan, Heather, Hope, Tony, and David.
Posted by Spencer Carr on November 13, 2020
Rest in heaven Reverend Deifel, you will be missed.
Carr family from First Presbyterian Church of York
Posted by Megan Collins on November 12, 2020
My husband, Jeff, and I were so blessed by Pastor Jey and Joan when we first moved to Connecticut. I was having an absolutely terrible day once, and they took me home with them and fed me lunch after church. They listened and counseled and prayed with me. I will never forget it. What a strong, good and godly man Pastor Jey was. What a beautiful legacy he left us. I pray that Jesus would hold you and your family in His arms and bring His comfort.
Posted by R David Bruce on November 12, 2020
Love to all the Deifell’s....a Rockmont Hall of Fame family. It all began with the trust and support extended by your Dad and Mom so many years ago. I will always appreciate how your Dad graciously opened his Clearwater Church and y’alls home as he advocated for us.
Posted by Bob Melone on November 12, 2020
Jay is the reason I’m still in ministry today, and I will never forget his kind and loving Spirit! 
Posted by Jennifer Bruce on November 12, 2020
I am so sorry to hear of Jey's passing! Growing up at Trinity Presbyterian under his leadership was so inspiring. At a pivotal time in my life I learned from his example of kindness, compassion and most of all JOY in his faith. I remember the Sunday when several of us as seniors in high school were asked to speak in the pulpit, and in preparation for that I spoke with him one day about how to make my remarks seem genuine and not too "prepared" - I was already on my way to the study of law and I didn't want to be too precise and lose being genuine! Jey just told me to speak from my heart in his usual lighthearted manner, so I did and it was all fine of course! Years later in law school I would remember the twinkle in his eye when he preached as I got up to brief cases. What a blessing to grow in my faith under a leader who taught me that I am a friend of God! Praying for your whole family as you lay him to rest, and I can't wait to see him again some day!
Posted by Arthur Goetze on November 12, 2020
Dear Deifell family, I am so sorry for your loss and I understand, after losing my Gretchen last June to dementia, what a bag of mixed blessings you may feel. Your solid faith and strong wonderful family is part of Jey’s legacy.
When we worked together at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, Jey and I were both the same age and came to Trinity the same year. I was fortunate to serve as Director of Music until Jey received another calling after 12 ½ years.  The church reflected the spirit of Jey’s leadership and God’s presence. I considered all of you as family and you were a blessing to us, seeing me through Helen’s illness and my son’s problems. Jey was such a supportive and encouraging boss and wasn’t afraid to show his humanity with much integrity; that made him very accessible and endearing to all who knew him. I remember when Gretchen and I popped in to see you at Wethersfield, CT and we were so honored when you both graciously cleared your schedules and shared precious time and a meal with us.
I thank God for the blessings and opportunity to share this part of my life with such a faithful friend.
God bless you all, Arthur Goetze
Posted by Barbara Brown on November 12, 2020
Jey was an extraordinary, loving, kind, and faithful man. We were privileged to be among his friends. Many memories of fun times - whale watching, floating down the Delaware River......
He will be missed by his beautiful, loving family and all who knew him. Rest In Peace, dear Jey.
Barbara and Harry
Posted by Charlie Slaughter on November 12, 2020
Joan, much love to you in this time of your loss. I always admired the relationship you and Jey had as it overflowed in authentic love and filled so many people with your love. As I remembered Jey, I realized how he was full of God’s generous and overflowing love. In essence Jey was a living vessel of God’s love, which poured out from him and through him. Sometimes the idea of God simply being crazy about us as his beloved creation and constantly offering and bathing us in his love can be scary. Yet, in Jey’s presence, that felt safe and right. Jey just joyfully seemed to exude the belief that I truly am God’s beloved child. And that filled me up. I am so glad your journey brought you to Connecticut and so glad I got to spend many years in your and Jey’s presence. I am richer today because of that.
Posted by Justine Grandpre on November 12, 2020
It is with a sad but yet, joyful heart that I write this note. Attending church on Sunday mornings was a highlight of my weekend because of the First Church family, headed by Jey and Joan. The abundant warmth and joyful nature that he exuded was always so welcoming and comforting. He lead our First Church family with integrity, gentleness and joy. I pray for peace for you Joan, and your family until you meet him again in our heavenly home.
Posted by Rhea St. Julien on November 11, 2020
I was a weird teenager when I came in to First Church and Jey was always kind and accepting of me. I ended up forming friendships with three of his wonderful children. I was always inspired by his loving marriage with Joan. I hope everyone who is grieving Jey knows he made a positive impact on this world, and that is everlasting. He will be a good ancestor. Sending love to his whole family, Rhea
Posted by Scott Griffith on November 11, 2020
Last saw my fraternity brother, Jey, with Joan, during his time in Edinburgh where I was living and teaching. We spent interesting times together, arguing questions like whether evil existed, discussing cultural differences between Scotland and the US, reminiscing about Chapel Hill. As cricketers say, 80 is a good innings. Cut short by a pandemic. He will live in memory, many memories. 
Posted by Russell Blaisdell on November 11, 2020
God gifted you with mind and heart, and you used them to honor Him and the people He placed in your path. Your and your family have lifted my spirits on many occasions through these past 13 years.  Our college prayer team prayed for you last Thursday after receiving Hope's update. Know you are loved and respected for your faithfulness to the end. Well done, good and faithful servant. You are now free to move about our Savior's Heaven.  Carter
Posted by Peggy Clapper on November 11, 2020
Jey was one of my favorite high school friends—the epitome of a really nice guy. My condolences to friends and family.
Posted by Diane Swan on November 11, 2020
My dear friend, Betsy, shared the loss of Jey with me. Our family shares in your loss, but truly know that Jey is where he wishes to be. Please know your family remains in our prayers for strength during this time of grief. A friend once told me that "grief is the price we pay for love'. This is so very true and know how deeply Jey was loved by so very many outside his family. 
Posted by MICHELE JEAN MONCOMBLE on November 11, 2020
La disparition de Jey nous attriste profondément.
Elle nous ramène au lointain souvenir de notre première rencontre en 1973 (American Host Program) lorsque Jey et Joan pensaient accueillir deux filles: Jean and Michele! 
Puis aux autres rencontres chez nous en 1983,et en 1992 , sans Tony , mais avec une petite voiture pleine de matériel de camping!
En Floride,en 1985 nous avons apprécié l'implication de Jey dans son ministère,entouré de toute sa famille.Ce fut une expérience exceptionnelle.
C'est en pensant à lui et à sa famille que nous relirons avec nostalgie les "Easter Datelines" que nous avons conservées depuis plus de 30 ans.
Michèle , Jean et Florent
Posted by Betsy Slaughter on November 11, 2020
Charlie and I grieve with you and your family as we say goodbye for now to our beloved Jey. When we arrived in Connecticut in 2001 knowing no one he and Joan quickly welcomed us into the Wethersfield community at First Church. He made it such a safe place to hold diverse Christian views while we worshiped together. He made it a unique place and we will be forever grateful for the years we spent under his leadership.
Love,
Betsy and Charlie Slaughter
Posted by Dana Spicer on November 11, 2020
I was saddened to learn of Jey's passing. His love and compassion will be dearly missed. During his pastorate at First Church in Wethersfield, our cat was near death as a result of contact with toxins and Jey took the time to pray for this little animal and he recovered! What a blessing to know someone of such faith. Even as we rejoice that our loved ones have finished the race and received the crown of glory, we cannot help but miss their earthly presence. Prayers are with you, Joan, and your family, as you walk this new road<3
Posted by Mark Horner on November 10, 2020
I will always remember and cherish my memories of growing up at Trinity with your family. From baptizing me as an infant to inspiring my own life and faith, Jey was one of my role models whose example encouraged me to pursue ministry and seminary in my own right.

My life was started on the right path and my childhood rich in faith because of each of you. God surround you, comfort you, and uphold you.
Posted by Nancy W. Smith on November 10, 2020
He was such a dear man and such a loving husband and father. Our daughter-in-law, Heather, always found such loving support from her father.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of your family.
Please let us know if we can be of any help...other than our prayers.
Love to all of you, Nancy and Charlie Smith
Posted by Marla Darius on November 10, 2020
We have been blessed to know you both. You did bring amazing southern warmth, hospitality and HUGS to us in CT, you both brought smiles and a gentleness that was felt and seen. It was because of how God used you both at FCCW that we visited and then joined this church. You used your gifts given by Him and for His Kingdom and His people in all you each did and said. We will miss Jey but know that the promise of Jesus is true and we will see him again one day. Hugs to each of you as you miss Jey this side of heaven.
Posted by Janet Doe on November 10, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss of husband, father and grandfather. I remember you all fondly ( I grew up around the corner from you in grove wood and babysat a few times for you all) Jey married me at Trinity to my first husband we were so young and he counseled us,,, in not so many words tried to tell us we weren't ready and he was right!.. What a smart and wonderful man....the worlds loss and heaven's gain . heartfelt condolences toy all. Janet (Thomas) Doe
Posted by Paul Austin on November 10, 2020
Thank you for being real . For crying for laughing. As you said all the time reflecting God's light and love thru you.  Thank you Jey . Thank you Joan
Posted by Dennis Huxley on November 10, 2020
I have such fond memories of sitting on the porch with Jey and talking about our shared faith. To all the family, and especially to you, Joan, my sincere condolences. I will miss him also.
Posted by Cat Matlock on November 10, 2020
Love and Peace
Posted by Linda Wilson on November 10, 2020
We were sad to hear about Jey passing away, but we know he's with Jesus, whole and well today. My family attended Gaithersburg Presbyterian for many years and Jey married us in the mid '70's. Joan, I'm praying for peace and comfort as you grieve Jey's absence. Love you... Linda (Henry) and Brett Wilson
Posted by JOhn Wieder on November 10, 2020
Will forever cherish so many fon memories of Jey - his warmth, compassion, and love for all human beings andeverything in God's creation.  Jey is now in his heavenly home and I am sure he was warmly wlecomed there, Condolences, prayers and love to Joan and the family
Posted by Chip Darius on November 10, 2020
Forever appreciative of Jey's and Joan's ministries in the lives of our family and children. Rest in peace, and well done, faithful servant.
Chip Darius
Posted by Ron Vliet on November 10, 2020
I am blessed so, to have had both Jey and Joan in my life during their time at First Church in Wethersfield, CT; they will remain forever in a very special, tiny, quiet, and peaceful place in my heart till the day we shall meet again. It is because of them, that I have gotten to be so close to our Lord Jesus, to thirst for, and have come to know and understand God more and more with each and every passing day of my life.  I pray for you Joan, in this time of grieving such loss, and for your family, knowing that together there is peace, love and joy. Brother Jey, I will miss you as will all of us at the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at First Church, Saturday mornings. In His Love, Ron Vliet
Posted by Debby Pember on November 10, 2020
Gary and I are very saddened to hear of Jey’s passing. However, we rejoice in knowing that we will see him again. We have missed you, Joan, and your family since Jey’s retirement from FCC. Please know that we are uplifting you all in prayer.
With much love,
Debby Pember
Posted by William D. Miller on November 10, 2020
So thankful and blessed to have such a Godly man in my life. Jey would always have some wisdom to share whenever we saw him at family gatherings.
Blessed to have him participate in our wedding ceremony.
Thank you Uncle Jey for being such a positive influence in my life!
You will be missed!
Love & Prayers to the whole Deifell family!
Trip Miller

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Dotty Shantz on November 23, 2020
Dearest Deifell Family,

Oh, how we loved the time spent with Jey and Joan at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, Florida. Denny and I were fairly new Christians, accepting the love of God in our early thirties and Jey was very instrumental in helping us grow our faith and we are eternally grateful for all he was and all he did for us and the Trinity Family. Our hearts go out to the wonderful Deifell family who like us, know that in time we will all be together again in heaven. What a joyous day it will be!
Posted by Erica Davis Dutzi on November 17, 2020
So sorry to hear that Jey passed away. Having you Deifells as neighbors in Gaithersburg meant so much to me. I spent countless hours with your kids, learning to change diapers, play and keep track of the boys while baby Heather was crawling around. Joan, thank you for teaching me so much!
Jey was the one who was responsible for a great part of my spiritual growth. I lived for our Monday night youth group meetings, and had an awesome time in Montreat in 1977 and 1978. So many of his sermons inspired me to this day. Although I have not been keeping up, you all have very special places in my heart. Thank you for even coming to visit me in my new hometown of Heidelberg, Germany. Sending you warmest wishes and prayers from across the ocean.
Posted by L. Boyd on November 17, 2020
Hope and my son, John, were in Trinity Presbyterian's preschool, together, and Jey hired me to teach a class on behavior management. He was gracious and appreciative, eager to learn, and engaged with the class avidly. He was a man among men, greatly to be appreciated. Blessings to his family and friends!
his Life

To be read over Jey's body...

Jey kept a framed print of this “Psalm 23 for Busy People,” a paraphrase by Japanese poet Toki Miyashina, in his office and referred to it often over the years, so we thought it would be appropriate and honoring to have it read over his body right before it gets cremated. Even though cremation is very unceremonious thing, we believe that God can still minister to the cremation technician through Jey in a small postmortem way. 

The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity;
He leads me in the ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all importance, will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord, and dwell in His house forever. 

Jey was known for...

... his faith and love of the Lord Jesus Christ; his phenomenal authority as a Minister of Word and Sacrament; his sweet, generous, appreciative, tender, loving, and shepherding pastoral spirit; his support of local and compassionate ministries to the poor; his southern warmth and great dancing; his interest in playing tennis and golf, fishing, sailing, and gardening; his love for reading, studying the Word, catching up on the news, and watching movies; his being ready to pray with anyone at a moment’s notice; and his beloved family.


Synopsis of Jey's education and ministry

Jey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1962, from Columbia Theological Seminary with an M.Div in Systematic Theology in 1966, and from New College of the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) with a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology in 1969. He pastored four churches and was active in their corresponding presbyteries over a 40-year period, including Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church in MD (1969-1977); Trinity Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, FL (1978-1990); First Presbyterian Church of York, PA (1990-1996); and First Church of Christ, Congregational in Wethersfield, CT (1996-2009).
Recent stories

Onetime church clerk and caring ministry member

Shared by Patty Ash on November 15, 2020
So many good memories of Jey and Joan’s pastorate in Wethersfield come to mind from my involvement over those years on Jey’s church board and In Joan’s Caring Ministry. It’s comforting to remember that one of Jey’s favorite hymns was It is Well With My Soul. He would share so many stories of the family in his sermons that we all felt we knew the children. There was the story about helping a homeless man in Florida who had no shoes, and when Jey gave him his own and looked up at him, he saw the face of Christ. There was a time when Jey and Joan were traveling with his sister and he suffered an attack of appendicitis and had to be rushed to the hospital. Joan called the church as it was happening and WHILE we were in worship and asked for prayer for Jey from everyone, and God answered that prayer and our prayers over the succeeding days. Jey was the first pastor I’d ever known who could and would pray with you over the phone. If you called to ask for prayer, he’d say, “well, let’s pray now” and we did. He always stressed that Christ had/has a sense of humor, and he kept the picture of Christ laughing in a prominent place on his office wall. There are just so many ways that Jey enriched our lives and faith through his ministry. It left an indelible mark on our lives and community
Shared by Rhonda West-Kumer on November 12, 2020
 I have many memories of Pastor Deifell. But the best ones were very personal to me. They included the unprecedented pulpit/choir exchanges he and my Pastor from my home church (Bible Tabernacle) had after I joined First Presbyterian Church in York, PA when I got married.  Bible Tabernacle was a lively African American congregation and I don't remember what prompted that exchange but clearly I knew that Pastor Deifell could handle it...I remember him commenting on being startled at first when he heard people talk back to him while he was preaching (saying amen etc..) but he quickly got in step with the call and response preaching style (haha).  Also, the kindness and sensitivity to my wish for him to take part in both of my sons' dedications in lieu of a baptism (which he couldn't do within the Presbyterian Church) along with my home Pastor at my home church.
What a kind and gentle example of Christ your dad was as he lived out the scriptures in his everyday life. My love to the Deifell family at this time 

"Deifell Moments"

Shared by Sue Hassall on November 12, 2020
1) Jey became a limo driver:  It was Tony's Prom night; a nice limo was a loan from Kapok Tree owner (Bumgardner). Jey donned a fashionable cap and became quite famous for 1 night!
2) The scene was Black Mountain--Anderson Hall in Montreat to be exact.  Various summer pastors were invited to preach. We lived in Black Mountain at the time and we were excited to hear our Clearwater Pastor, Jey, declare God's Word!
3) 1983 was the year of our 25th wedding anniversary. Sue had arranged to have Jey celebrate our "big day" so many years ago. I was sick on that day; never mind--Sue and I renewed our vows anyway!!                                                        (written by Bob Hassall)

We will miss you, Jey!