John Warkentin, 77, died Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at home in San Luis Obispo. He was born in rural Fresno County in 1936 and graduated from Immanuel Academy in 1954 and Fresno State College in 1958. He and Eldora Hiebert were married on June 21, 1958. John earned his M.D. from UCLA in 1962, and then was an intern at Fresno General Hospital. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1971, during which time he completed his residency in radiology. Following his discharge from the Air Force, he moved with his family to San Luis Obispo. John joined the radiology staff at Sierra Vista Hospital in 1971. He served as the hospital Chief of Staff in 1975, President of the San Luis Obispo Medical Society in 1983, as a delegate to the California Medical Society for eight years and was the managing partner of Radiological Associates of San Luis Obispo from 1982 to 1991. He retired from medical practice in 1994. In his professional career he was known for his diligence, care, and integrity. Baptized in the Mennonite Brethren Church in Reedley, Calif., John was a member of First Baptist Church of San Luis Obispo from 1971 to his death. He served for several years as a trustee and one year as moderator. John suffered from Parkinson's disease for 29 years, long outliving the original expectation for his lifespan. He impressed his family and friends with his endurance, fortitude, and strength of will as he struggled with the obstacles put up by his condition. John enjoyed working with his hands. In retirement he refinished furniture, restored a John Deere HWH tractor and planted and tended a small orchard of fruit trees. He also enjoyed the camaraderie of the Noontime Kiwanis. John is survived by his wife, Eldora; children Ruth, David, and Paul (Caitlin); and grandson, Matthias. A graveside service was held in Reedley in December. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at First Baptist Church, 2075 Johnson in San Luis Obispo. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Baptist Church or Parkinson's Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Ste. 1509, New York, NY 10018 or www.pdf.org
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Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Jan. 5, 2014