On May 31, 2016, surrounded by his loving family and a host of angels the Lord came to take John on his final journey home.
John was born to his loving parents, Edwin and Tomasa Culpepper, on August 27, 1954, in Mojave, CA. He was blessed with a wonderful childhood that he shared with his brother, Harvey, and sister, Cindy; grandparents; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
John loved sports and played numerous sports including football in high school and at Antelope Valley College. He also enjoyed all music and played the saxophone in school.
In June of 1983, John was blessed with the birth of his son, Curtis, and also began his career with the Department of Corrections.
John was promoted to Correctional Sergeant in 1992, and would also meet the love of his life, Kathleen Weissbach-Vietti, on June 1, 1992. Together they would blend their children, Curtis Culpepper, and Paula and Joshua Vietti on January 2, 1993, and start a love story full of adventure.
John enjoyed bowling and golfing with his buddies, and was an avid Oakland Raiders fan. Little did he know he married a loyal Denver Broncos fan. Football season in their home was extremely entertaining when the two teams squared off.
John and Kathleen traveled extensively over the next 23 years. They enjoyed six trips to Europe, including five general audiences with the Popes, eight cruises, over 50 concerts and so many trips all over the United States. John also loved his trips to casinos.
In 2000, John was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but together they chose to make lemonade out of lemons. Through Parkinson's and 13 surgeries, and so many challenging medical crises, together they pressed on, inspired by their faith in God, love for one another, and their family and friends.
It was John's honor to serve as a Grand Knight of St. Malachy Catholic Church of Tehachapi, as well as a 4th Degree Knight.
John was an amazing son, nephew, brother, uncle, Correctional Sergeant, Grand Knight, husband, father, and a cherished Papa, and a loyal friend. Heaven has gained a bright shining star.
He will be forever in the hearts of his wife and soul mate, Kathleen; children, Curtis (Celise), Paula (Tim), and Josh. Also his nine grandchildren, Dakota (Jesse), Zoe and Estie Vietti, Taylor, Zachary and Dillon King, Adrian, Audrianna and Amelia Culpepper; his three great-grandchildren, Bryson, Christian and Audrey Lynn Ann Torres, all of whom adored him and called him "Papa John." John was a wonderful brother who loved his siblings, brother, Harvey (Jolene) Culpepper of Elizabethtown, KY, and sister, Cindy (Donny) Moore of Mojave, CA.
Also left to mourn his passing are in-laws, Carol Davis of Bakersfield, Laura Lee and James Kirkley of Arvin; his special Vietti family of Arvin; the Dominguez, Corral, and Madden families of Tehachapi; and dearest friends, Denise Patton, Andy, Steve, Bob, George, and Les; and oh, so many others. To know John was to love him.
We will forever be thankful for the amazing care given to him by Dr. Susan Cribbs and all of the caring staff of Oak Tree Medical Group; Kmart Pharmacy; Stephanie; and Floor 6 of Memorial Hospital.
John was cared for at home by Kathleen and his family with the help of Tracy from Optimal Home Health; and Loretta, Mary, and Laura from Optimal Hospice.
We are eternally thankful for all the prayers offered for John by his friends, our church family, and Father Mark Maxon.
A viewing will be held on Thursday, June 9, 2016, at the Wood Family Funeral Service Chapel from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. A Vigil Service and Recitation of the Rosary will be Thursday, June 9th, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Malachy Catholic Church. The Mass of the Resurrection and celebration of his life will also be at the church on Friday, June 10th, at 10:00 a.m. Interment and the Rite of Burial will follow at Tehachapi Public Cemetery - Westside.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John's name to Los Angeles Children's Hospital, 4650 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027, where his granddaughter, Taylor, and great-granddaughter, Audrey, are receiving ongoing care for chronic conditions.
Rest in peace, Papa John, where we know you are in God's hands, pain free and whole again.
Wood Family Funeral Service, Inc. was entrusted with his care. For condolences please visit www.woodmortuary.net .
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