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John Thomas Repanshek, 85, of Rockledge, Florida, went into the arms of God, Friday, February 22, 2013, surrounded by his "bride", as he still called her after over 60 years of marriage, and his family who loved and adored him. As a boy, he attended Holy Trinity Catholic School until he left for World War II as a young man. He was a proud member of St. Mary's Church in Rockledge; The Shriner's; Mason's; Elks, and Boys & Girls Club of America.
John was born on October 24, 1927, Hazleton, Lucerne, PA to Jacob and Mary (Broyan) Repanshek. He was next to the youngest of ten children. His beloved mother, died when he was five years old and was raised by his father and elder sister, Liz. At age 16, he came home one afternoon with a permission form to join the Merchant Marines and his father signed it stating "they won't take you at your age!" What he didn't know was that John listed his age as 16 and was able to enlist. He was a World War II veteran. From there he entered into the US Navy and became a Sonar Technician. He was a member of the Installation Team at the Naval Facility in Eleuthera, Bahamas and that is where he met his beautiful wife, Cassandra.
John spent his life helping others in any way he could, especially his children and grandchildren. He worked 2-3 jobs his entire life to support his ten children he was so proud of. He was an instructor at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He then was transferred to Key West Florida where he headed the Special Projects and Fleet Sonar Tech School. His last command was at the Naval Facility in Antigua, West Indies before his retirement in 1971 to Cocoa, Florida and in the Navy Reserves until 1981. His initial intention was to just stop in Brevard for a few months before heading to Pennsylvania to live, and he and Sandy happened to fall in love with Brevard County on the Space Coast. He then went to work for John Hancock Financial Services along with other part time jobs, before deciding to retire again. He was so bored with that, he decided to do the hobby he loved most, cooking, and opened up Sandy's Bar-B-Que at the Frontenac Flea Market and finally stopped working at 78 due to health reasons.
Our husband, father, grandfather and friend was our hero. With having 10 kids to raise, you don't have the luxury of calling for help anytime something broke. He could cook, clean, help with any homework, sew, fix cars, anything electrical or mechanical and gave the most love any parent could offer. He even always opened his home to military soldiers for meals on the holidays that didn't have any family in the area. That is what gave him his greatest joy. Giving. He never asked for anything but honesty and to pay it forward.
Survivors include his cherished wife, Cassandra "Sandy" Repanshek, of Rockledge; sons, Anthony, of Fredericksburg, VA, John (Melissa) of Jacksonville, FL, and Stephen (Dale) of Rockledge; twin daughters, Antoinette Bigler (John) of Fredericksburg, VA, Janet Klemme (Charlie) of Tampa, FL, and twin daughters, Anne Repanshek of Cape Canaveral, FL and Andrea Wilkinson (Robert Sr.) of Cocoa, FL, and his baby, Donna Knowles-Lynne (Mark) of Rockledge, FL; grandchildren, Catrina Harding, of Manhattan, NY, Jamie Lynn Bitzkowski (Rob) of Jensen Beach, FL, John Bigler, Jr. (Dena) of Charlotte, North Carolina, Roger "Butch" Dean (Vanessa), of Rockledge, FL, Christina Lockwood (Charles) of Palm Bay, Robin Breux of Cape Canaveral, FL, Jessica Bigler (Bobby), of Fredericksburg, VA, Robert Wilkinson, Jr. of Cocoa, FL; Jake Wilkinson (Katie) of Cocoa, FL; Cassie Knowles (Adam) of Washington State, John Carl Repanshek, of Jacksonville, FL, Eva Knowles and Nadia Knowles of Rockledge, Olivia Repanshek of Jacksonville, FL, and Tony Harding of Detroit, MI; great grandchildren, Teva Karnes of Jensen Beach, Stuart, Florida, Liandra Dean of Rockledge, FL, Ezekiel Moody of Jensen Beach, FL, Lilah Bigler, of Charlotte, NC, Gavin and Jordan Lockwood of Palm Bay, FL, Katelynn Breaux of Cocoa, FL, Malachi Ventor-Lewis, and Lialani Lopez, both of Cape Canaveral; Brother and sister-in-laws, Sydney Burrows, Rosalie Roberts, Lester Carroll (Dee), Theresa Lee, Helita Carroll, Christine Lowe, all of Nassau, Bahamas, Beryl and Monselle Darville of Ft. Lauderdale, and Mavis Treco (Joey) of Long Island, Bahamas, and a host of other family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his 9 brothers and sisters; daughter, Mary Anne; and son, Wendel.
Visitation will be held at St. Mary's Church in Rockledge, Florida on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9am-11am. A mass of Christian Burial will be held following at the church. Entombment will be held at Brevard Memorial Park, US-1, Cocoa, following mass. Repast will be held at St. Mary's Parish Hall immediately following services at Brevard Memorial.
The family wishes to thank the following, St. Mary's Church and Family; dad's caregivers at Courtenay Springs Village and Vitas Hospice of Melbourne, United States Military, Florida Today, The Troxel's from Funeral Solutions of Cocoa, Staci Hawkins-Smith, Ben Cox, Jonathon Adler and the Family of Cocoa Village Playhouse, family, friends and more.
Funeral Solutions of Cocoa are proudly serving the family.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in John's name to St. Mary's Catholic School, 1152 Seminole Drive, Rockledge, FL 32955.
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy Dear
The good Lord has taken you so far from here.
To a place where you no longer feel pain,
Just gentle drops of Heaven's soft rain.
Where your whole family greeted you into their loving embrace,
And you now walk in God's heavenly grace.
Our family gathers to honor such a great man,
A husband, a father, the best in the land.
In all our eyes you were 10 foot tall,
You could walk on water, you could do it all.
Thank you daddy, for our great lives,
You made us better parents, husbands and wives.
Dad always called mom his "bride"
Proudly announcing to the world as he bursted with pride.
How do you sum up a life of Eighty-Five years,
Love, Laughter, Happiness and sometime Tears.
We won't say goodbye, but simply "Adu",
And we'll meet you at heaven's gate when our lives are through.
Written by Antoinette Repanshek-Bigler
5455 N US Hwy 1
Cocoa, FL 32927
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Mar. 2, 2013