John Henry Garnaat 91, of Tucson, died April 20, 2014 to join his beloved wife, Viola "Vi". Born April 23, 1922 in Portage, MI, he was the son of Henry Garnaat and Helen DeVries. He graduated from Portage Agricultural School and attended National Defense School in Kalamazoo, MI. During World War II he served in the US Army 38th Division "The Avengers of Bataan" from 1942 to 1945 and served in Hawaii, New Guinea and the Philippines. John married Viola May Oorbeck on November 16, 1943 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After the war, they lived in Portage, MI where they raised their six sons and enjoyed many camping adventures. In 1969 the couple moved to Prescott, AZ along with three of their sons. While living in Prescott John was employed by Yavapai College. Following retirement, John and Vi moved to Tucson, AZ where they made many wonderful friends in the Far Horizons Mobile Home Park and El Camino Baptist Church. John enjoyed the desert canyons and mountains around Tucson and had many great hiking adventures. He especially enjoyed being able to hike the Grand Canyon when he was 72 years old. His favorite expression near the end of a hike was to say "can you smell the coffee"! John is survived by his sons, Larry (Carol), Wayne (Sharon), Ken (Cathy), Michael (Veronica), John (Joy) and Carl (Sachiko); his special daughters, Karen Wright and Sally Garnaat; 15 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife of 65 years, his brother, Donald and three sisters, Sarah, Johanna and Elizabeth. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at El Camino Baptist Church, 7777 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85710 with Rev. Ron Rushing officiating. Donations in John's honor may be made to El Camino Baptist Church. Condolences can be sent to www.thompsonfuneralchapel.com.
Published in the Arizona Daily Star on May 18, 2014