SALINAS, CA – John A. Struve, age 90, passed away peacefully at his home on February 3, 2014. He was born on October 29, 1923 in Watsonville and raised in Salinas by parents, John Henry Struve and Ida Stoffers Struve.|
He attended local schools, Lincoln Elementary, graduated from Salinas High School Class of 1941, and attended Salinas Junior College where he enjoyed playing sports.
When World War II broke out John, or Jack as his closest friends knew him, enlisted in the Army Aircorps along with best buddies, Bob Grainger, Mike Hughes and Don Barsotti. He served as a B17 pilot, member of the 379th Bomb Group, and was awarded two Bronze Stars, an Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters for numerous missions flown over Germany. By chance, he was present in Picadilly Square on V-Day which was tremendously exciting for him as he watched the celebration.
After the war John returned to Salinas, graduated from San Francisco College of Mortuary Science and then joined the family funeral home business, Struve & Laporte, established by his father, John Henry Struve and E.O. "Bill" Laporte in 1927. At Struve & Laporte he joined his brother and former Salinas mayor, Lawrence Struve, and later James Laporte. He then worked alongside the third generation, with his son, Bob and James' son, Bill, until retirement at the age of 80, but managed to show up for work thereafter as long as possible.
While visiting a dear friend, Homer Hayward at Cal Berkeley in the late 1940s he was introduced to Cal student, Gloria Terrill, who was also from Salinas. John and Gloria were engaged on Valentine's Day and married April 9, 1949.
John was passionate about duck hunting and hunted at an early age with his father, brother and cousin, Bobby (lost in the war) at the family duck pond on Struve Road at Highway 1 in Moss Landing. Later he joined the Salinas Gun Club in Gustine and shared a cabin with his good friend, Al Solgaard for many years. He was also an avid deer hunter and steelhead fisherman.
John was a member of various clubs and service organizations including charter member of Corral de Tierra Country Club, Salinas Rodeo Director, Salinas Chamber of Commerce, Salinas Masonic Lodge #204, Scottish Rite Bodies, Islam Shriner, Salinas Exchange Club, Salinas Downtown Rotary, Salinas Elks Lodge #614, American Legion Post 31, Swiss-American Club, Dania Lodge, Nitecaps, 379th Bomb Group, and First Presbyterian Church. John and Gloria were also heavily involved with Young Life Salinas Valley.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria in 2005 after 55 years of marriage, his parents and brother.
He is survived by his children, Janet (Jim) Pampuro, Bill Struve, and Bob (Becky) Struve; grandchildren, Corey Struve (fiancé, Travis Talbott), Katie (Tim) Bothke-Morgan, Thomas Struve, and Anthony Pampuro; great-grandchildren, Olivia and Willow Bothke-Morgan; and nieces, Jean (Ron) Metz and Karen (Wayne) Handley.
Visitation for John will be held Thursday, February 13, 2014, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Struve & Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St., Salinas, CA 93901.
A Funeral Service will be held Friday, February 14, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 830 Padre Drive, Salinas, followed by military honors.
A reception will be held immediately following the funeral service at the church gymnasium. All duck hunters are required to bring their duck calls to the service. Camouflage attire is optional.
Private Entombment will be held at the Garden of Memories Cemetery.
A special thank you to Barbara, Willy, Chad and Thaddeus of Holy Hands Private Home Care who provided unique talent in caring for a special guy. Also a special thanks to Bob and Becky's nephew, Scott Davis.
Memorial donations are suggested to be made to Young Life Salinas Valley, 325 Lang Street, Salinas, CA 93901.
Arrangements are by Struve and Laporte Mortuary Chapel. Please visit www.struveandlaporte.com for more information.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Feb. 6, 2014