HANSKAT, John Edward 85, best known as a "happy camper" with a loveable wit, died suddenly at his St. Petersburg home March 20, 2014. Born 1928 in Chicago, he came to Pass-a-Grille, St Pete Beach, at an early age. There he attended Sunshine School, and was a graduate of St. Petersburg High School, where he earned a track scholarship to the University of Florida. A member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, he received a degree in civil engineering, then served in the air force at Mountain Home, Idaho. He worked with Bushnell Steel in Jacksonville, then joined Ceco Corp. as district, then regional manager in Detroit, and in Miami. His career next took him to George Hyman Construction in Bethesda, MD. He retired in 1990 when his late wife Judy was diagnosed with terminal emphysema, and they moved to Jacksonville, Ore., where she died two years later. John returned to St. Petersburg, where he married Kitty Morrison Frease who died in 2006, also of emphysema. Although widowed twice, John still had a wonderful life. At the time of his death, he had been married for seven years to the former Patsy Baker, who sharpened her bridge skills because that was his hobby, and he became proficient at golf, as that was her hobby. Together, they toured the country visiting family and friends, dividing their "home" time between St. Petersburg and Tryon, NC. "He was special," said longtime friend Marilyn Latham Mathis. "He was a good friend to everyone. Wherever he was, he fit in.." "He put sunshine in peoples' lives," said Tinker McKee. In addition to Patsy, John is survived by daughter Cynthia LeVee, sons Randy and Charles, five grandsons and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to contribute to their favorite charity. A celebration of life will take place Saturday, April 12, 3 pm at Unity Church of St. Petersburg, 460 46th Avenue North.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Apr. 8, 2014