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John Maxwell DeJong of Lubbock, passed away suddenly Saturday, October 20, 2012, at the age of 62.
He was born August 4, 1950, in Le Mars, IA, to the late Bernard and Winifred DeJong. His family moved to Des Moines in 1960, where John attended Hubbell Elementary School, Merrill Junior High, and Roosevelt High School. While in high school, John began working for McLaren's Funeral Home in West Des Moines. He continued in the funeral home after graduating in 1968, until enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1969. John's time in the Navy (1969-73) included basic training in San Diego, communications school in Hawaii, and active duty aboard the USS Midway. Shortly after returning home, he worked as a cook on the American Freedom Train starting in September 1975. His jobs after the train took him to Amarillo, TX, southern California, and eventually led him to Lubbock, where he was a member of First United Methodist Church. In Lubbock, John was employed by Carillon, Methodist Hospital, Reese AFB Officer's Club, and the U.S. Postal service before retiring in 2008.
In 1979, John met Jean Thomas. They have been together for more than 30 years, and were recently married October 15, 2012, in IA, while celebrating at a family gathering.
John loved to nurture and praise the splash of bluebonnets that he grew each year having started with a few seed from a dear friend. John's personality and generous hospitality embraced the people he met. Family and friends alike came to rely on his amazing memory for names, places, facts and stories, and felt assured that "John would know." He enjoyed entertaining and cooking for family and friends. He was an ardent bridge player (PWL, New Neighbors). He and Jean shared a deep appreciation for family and life. They recently started an estate sale business that allowed them to utilize their common passion for putting things in order.
Those left to cherish his memory are his partner, Jean Thomas of Lubbock; brother, Marc DeJong and wife, Jan of Urbandale, IA; sister, Mary Gantz and husband, Bruce of Iowa City, IA; his nieces and nephews he so adored, Katie Gahman (J.D.), Jessica Sauter (Steve), Ellen Stiller (Sean), Al DeJong (Erin), and Jay Gantz (Aura); his great-nieces, Vivi and Rose and great-nephew, Charlie; and many members of Jean's family of origin.
Memorial services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, November 11, 2012, at St. John's United Methodist Church, with interment prior to the service at the Ralls Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to a
. Please celebrate the life of John by visiting www.combestfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
McLarens Funeral Chapel
801 19th St West Des Moines, IA 50265
Published in Des Moines Register on Nov. 4, 2012