Today, our world lost an authentic down-to-earth saint. Not a saint in some formal religious way, but an everyday kind of saint.  He was a dad, a grandpa, a great grandpa, a faithful husband of 60+ years, a pastor for 58 years, a friend of thousands, a spiritual mentor to hundreds and a ministry partner of mine for nearly 27 years.  I will miss him!!!


There’s way too much to say about Tony Hostetler in this short space, but here’s what came to mind as I touched his still-warm 89 year-old hands this afternoon–just a few minutes after he took his last breath. This is a man who lived a fruit full life. A scripture in the Bible came to my mind.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Pastor Tony consistently, every day, in every situation, exemplified these fruit in his life. I’ve watched him respond to every imaginable situation throughout multiple decades of ministry partnership. His life was full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And that is why Facebook is about to crash right now due to the hundreds of online comments and wall posts about how Tony impacted their lives. His faith was full of fruit — Spirit fruit.


Here’s just a few things Tony taught me about how to live so I can be remembered as a saint:

I will miss Tony as a spiritual mentor, a faithful friend and a priceless ministry partner. See you later Pastor Tony!


QUESTION: What is the the most important thing you want to be remembered for?  Add your comment below.

17 responses to Fruit Full Faith

  1. Pingback: Sabbatical: Encountering Angels | DENNIS GINGERICH

  2. paul on October 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM Reply

    it has been a short time in God eyes since Ada and Tony have gone home. Janette went to see Tony at his apartment when he moved. It was her last conversation with him. they worked out at the same gym for a while. we must look forward to seeing them again. our memories of them. may they never fade.

  3. Dennis Gingerich on October 13, 2012 at 8:08 AM Reply

    So many lovely comments and memories, thanks for sharing them on my blog.

  4. Alan Borst on October 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM Reply

    Rachel and I visited Pastor Tony on last Monday. He spoke to us about his morning devotions and how important they are to him. I asked if God Had given him something to share this morning. He then said something that is quintessential Pastor Tony. He said,”People go to school and study for a major,……………………..MAJOR IN LOVE.” Yes, Dennis, Pastor Tony received his Honorary Degree through life-experience credits in God’s major – LOVE. Saint Tony, absent in body, present with Christ!! Selah.

  5. Mary Ann Naelitz on October 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM Reply

    I first met Pastor Hostetler many years ago when he came to fill the pulpit at Christ the Servant Church. He was such a warm, caring man of God. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. We certainly enjoyed his harmonica and accordian playing on Open Mike nights at the Cuppa Life. He will be greatly missed by many, many people whose lives he has touched, but Ada will be so happy to “have him HOME”. Bye for now, Tony much love and prayers for your family.

  6. Judi Stahly on October 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM Reply

    I didn’t know Tony at all, but thank you, Dennis, for sharing his legacy, and the nine things that you learned from him to inspire us all to keep striving toward the perfection of Christ. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

  7. Janelle Stockham on October 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM Reply

    What a great summary of Tony’s life and all that he meant to you and the family. He was a faithful servant of the Lord and mentored many, many more to do the same as they followed and will continue to follow in his footsteps! Great job brother and I would love to be at his celebration service I know you are planning in his honor! What glory to God it will bring I am sure!!

  8. Debbie Gnegy on October 12, 2012 at 7:58 AM Reply

    I will miss his smiling face and his warm and loving spirit. such a fine example of Christ, and God’s loving acceptance of all humanity. He would make me laugh with his wit. Ada and Tony now enjoying eternity together what a pleasant thought.

  9. Beverly Laznovsky on October 12, 2012 at 6:21 AM Reply

    I always felt peace in his presence. He was an amazing man. Dennis that picture brought me to tears this morning. It is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Matthew Harkness on October 12, 2012 at 5:47 AM Reply

    A true legacy!

  11. Mary Abernathy on October 12, 2012 at 5:08 AM Reply

    Pastor Tony was a true Man of God!! His love for God and people will always be remembered. I would like to be remembered for my caring nature and unconditional love for others. Tony was truly a saint! I hope and pray every day that his example lives in me so that I can live such a fruitful life as Pastor Tony!! May he rest in peace with our Heavenly Father and his loving wife Ada!! Until we meet again ….you will never be forgotten Pastor Tony! Thank you for the memories & the clear vision you displayed of how God wants us to live our lives! <3

    Thank you Pastor Dennis for this blog & for also being a true Man of God!!

  12. Jeff Kropf on October 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM Reply

    Wonderful comments cuz. Blessings to you and to Tony’s family.

  13. Teri Ziegler on October 11, 2012 at 10:42 PM Reply

    Having Tony to look up to since I was a little baby Christian has given me a good look at Father God. Tony has yoked up with Christ and walked humbly and gently in living out his faith. I would love to carry on his legacy of accepting & loving people where they’re at, appreciating their differences and where they’re at on their spiritual walk, while always ready to share the hope and joy I have within and how Christ has changed my life. These are the endearing things my spiritual father, Tony, brought into my life and I know each one who knew him felt the same way. I want to be more selfless and make each person I meet feel as if they are very special.
    “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
    For Tony, to live was Christ. May it be so for me too:)

    P.S. I know Tony would love this post! Thanks for doing it.

  14. Ron on October 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM Reply

    What can I say? I fall far short of his legacy, but for the rest of my life I will continue to strive to measure up.

    • ELAINA MARINO on October 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM Reply

      I can’t believe such an amazing humble man of God is gone. Ada he’s home with you now n i can’t wait to see you both in heaven. I rememberTony had prayed over my mom when she was sick. I will never forget his wonderul contagious faithful spirit. Rest Tony your home now and I can only imagine how wide God opened heavens gates for you.. We will miss you…

  15. Jen Tapp on October 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM Reply

    Great words of tribute honoring a very special man. Such a beautiful picture on the beach. Tony was the very first person that Jim and met when we began to attend CCF. Blessed to have made his acquaintance.

  16. Chuck on October 11, 2012 at 9:55 PM Reply

    Thank you Dennis for sharing your personal feelings for Pastor Tony. If I only leave a fraction of Tonys legacy at my passing, It would be a life well lived. Agape….. Is what I want to be remembered for. Unconditional love.. Thankyou Pastor Tony for your shining example.

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