Wood Funeral Home


John E. Arnedt

May 1, 1935March 2, 2021

John Emile Arnedt, of Wantage, NJ, and Jensen Beach, FL, passed away March 2, 2021, in Jensen Beach after several years battling COPD.

Born in 1935, in Oakland, California, only child of the late Emile Gustav Arnedt and Mabel Jane (Hipkins) Arnedt, John moved his family east in 1966 and was a proud Sussex County resident for over 50 years. John was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Music, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity and was ordained a Presbyterian minister.

Over John’s nearly 86 years, he touched countless students, parishioners, musicians, and audiences with his humanity, deep spirituality, intelligence and wit, his musical talents, and his kind and generous nature. John’s career included stints as Assistant Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Newark, NJ, teacher in the Newark Public Schools, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Branchville, Director of the Sussex County Oratorio Society, Head of the Music Department at Blair Academy, founder and Director Emeritus of The Water Gap Singers, organist and choir director at Panther Valley Ecumenical Church, and lifelong composer and arranger of choral and instrumental music.

A lover of puns, he delighted in a good joke almost as much as he enjoyed a nice bowl of soup and a hefty slice of pie! (especially peach!). He was darned lucky to be married to two accomplished chefs. His musical compositions — whether for piano, bassoon and trumpet or full choir and orchestra — were as beautiful as they were difficult to play and sing. An avid New York Times crossworder, he rarely missed a puzzle — even on Saturdays! He enjoyed coffee at all hours of the day, both dependent upon and seemingly unaffected by the constant caffeine. He found his daughters’ additions of milk, sugar, and/or ice strange and quaint. A napper before it was trendy, he always wanted “just ten more minutes.”

Predeceased by his first wife, Eloise “Tish” Arnedt, John is survived by his beloved wife of more than twenty years, Susan Mazuy Martin; sons, Tyson (Cheryl) of New Jersey and Joshua of Maine; daughters, Rachel Arnedt of Connecticut and Anna Ring (Daniel) of Massachusetts; grandsons, Samuel Arnedt, Charles Arnedt, and Leo Sheinberg; and granddaughter, Ruby Ring; stepsons, David (Ruth Ann Colby) Martin and their children Annie, Maria, and Henry of West Virginia and Scott Martin and his son, Sayer of South Dakota.

A memorial service will be held at a future date.

Donations in John’s memory may be made to The Water Gap Singers, 57 Stillwater Road, Hardwick, NJ 07825 or The First Presbyterian Church of Branchville, PO Box 1, Branchville, NJ 07826.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Wood Funeral Home, 16 Main Street, Branchville, NJ.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John E. Arnedt

have a memory or condolence to add?

Wayne & Lydia Orr

March 12, 2021

Many years have pasted since we first met John. There were many good conversations and some unhappy times. Thru it all John was always easy to talk with.
Please know that our thoughts are with you.

Debbie Anderson

March 10, 2021

John was an influential person in my (and my entire family's) life. He became my pastor in my middle school years and the young people of the church referred to him as "The Rev"! He was my employer (I babysat his children), my piano teacher, my choir director, and my friend! He married my brothers and I, baptized my children, presided over my brother-in-law's funeral and made me laugh a lot. It's amazing to think of how long he has been in my life. I say a prayer and drink a toast to this very cool and loving man.

James and Pat Barry

March 8, 2021

We met John only a few times but were impressed with his gentleness and kindness. We are so sorry for your loss.

Carol Burns

March 8, 2021

I will remember John for the joy he brought into the life of my friend Susan and for adding joy to our biennial meeting of college friends the year we gathered at their home in Wantage.

Mike Lutz

March 5, 2021

John was my pastor in Branchville when I was a teenager and he officiated at my wedding. He was a kind-hearted man whom I loved. One memory of many: as a teen I was going through some spiritual struggles and he invited me to his home to have dinner with his family. It didn’t answer all my questions, but to this day - almost 50 years later - I still remember the care I felt and the generosity of the gesture.