Paul J. Sebastian, 94, passed into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 4, 2018, at his home in Lancaster, PA, just 5 days after the home going of his loving wife of 70 years, Jean Esbenshade Sebastian.
Born in Philadelphia, Paul was the son of the late James and Mary Sebastian of Willow Grove, PA. At age 13 Paul made the most important decision of his life: he put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16) as his personal Savior whom he loved and served throughout his life.
Paul graduated from Upper Moreland High School and Mastbaum Vocational School in 1941. After a year as a draftsman with DuPont, he enrolled in Penn State's engineering program and enlisted in the US Army Corps of Engineers ROTC.
In 1943 Paul was called to active duty beginning with the Engineer Training Battalion at Fort Belvoir, where he instructed hundreds of soldiers. In 1944 he was reassigned to the 1187th Engineer Construction Group to supervise maintenance on the Ledo-Burma Road, the US supply line from India to China. After V-J Day he served in Shanghai, China, as Sergeant-Major of a Graves Registration Company collecting remains of his fallen comrades. During this time he was privileged to work with missionaries.
Following the war, Paul hoped to return to China after completing a Penn State engineering degree and Bible studies at Lancaster School of the Bible (LSB), but China closed its doors to missionaries. At a Penn State InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting, Paul met Jean Esbenshade; they married the next year. From 1949-52 Paul attended LSB, now Lancaster Bible College (LBC), and taught missions courses for 13 years.
As a professional engineer, Paul helped develop the property Jean's parents, Martin and Anna Esbenshade, gifted to LSB in 1954 as a campus. In the ensuing years, he designed over 50 public buildings for LBC and other ministries. He also served as an LBC trustee for over 40 years, on the founding board of Calvary Fellowship Homes, and as a board member of various mission organizations for many more years. He and Jean have been active members of Calvary Church for over 55 years.
Paul's boyhood hobby-photography-became his business in 1956 when he started selling photo equipment and supplies throughout central PA. Jean was his faithful bookkeeper for almost 50 years. After relocating from Shillington to Lancaster, they renamed the business HIRTECH. Paul also operated Commercial Photographic Service, offering studio and field camera work with complete processing services. He sold the businesses in later life but continued design work for Sebastian Darkroom Products up until his death.
In 2017 Paul published his autobiography, Son of a Blacksmith: Forging a Life of Faithfulness, available through Amazon. Proceeds from the book benefit LBC.
He is survived by his beloved daughter Nancy Sebastian Kuch (husband Larry), granddaughter Becky Bruton (husband Eddie), and great grandsons Maccabee and Raja. Paul (1954), Nancy (1984) and Becky (2014) comprise three generations of LBC graduates, and Larry is currently a student in the LBC doctoral program.
The family invites you to join them in a celebration of the lives and love of Paul and Jean Sebastian at an 11am service on November 17, 2018 at the LBC Good Shepherd Chapel, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA. A private reception and interment will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Paul and Jean's memory with a gift to LBC's student scholarship fund. To send an online condolence, please visit SnyderFuneralHome.com