John A. Kister, 86, of Pine Ridge, Fla., died Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. A native of Philadelphia, Pa., he was born Jan. 5, 1927. He was a former member of Saint Marks Episcopal Church of Philadelphia. He peacefully passed away under the loving care of his wife, Bettie; son, Jon; and daughter-in-law, Becky; family members; and Hospice. He bravely fought cancer with chemo treatments for over five years. He never burdened anyone with his pain and would always put a smile on your face with a cute story, a favorite poem or an old tune.
John is survived by his wife of 63 years, Bettie Davis. She said she loved john from their first date and she agreed to marry him four days later. He is survived by his four children, Douglas Kister, Allana Thompson, Elizabeth Popken and Jon Kister; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a grandson John A. Kister II.
At the age of 17 he joined the U.S. Navy
and served in the Pacific conflict at Alaska's Point Barrow. He is a proud veteran and was actively involved with the Citrus County Seabees and served as the first Commander of NSVA X29 Island Chapter. The membership meets monthly and their principle goal is to advocate the enlightenment, and education of all American Citizens in the principle and values of true democracy and true Americanism. John was also an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Central Ridge-Crystal River and served as a member of the board of directors for eight years. John is known as the perpetual chairman of the "Not Home Alone on Christmas Day" party. He and his Kiwanis crew would cook a complete turkey dinner Christmas morning in order to provide "holiday cheer" to anyone who was alone on Christmas day. The event was free of charge and he had a twinkle in his eyes bragging about serving up to 150 guests, mostly from the Beverly Hills area. His favorite hobby was collecting model trains. He has an exceptional collection that he proudly displays at gatherings. He has entertained both young and old as a history buff as he explains how each model train played a part of the railroad industry. John owned his own truck and hauled everything from furniture to slabs of beef. He enjoyed reminiscing stories about driving his 18 wheeler through the Continental United States.
Graveside military honors will be conducted at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, with the American Legion Post 155 presiding. Strickland Funeral Home with Crematory Crystal River assisted the family with arrangements.