World War II Veteran, John Bradley Minnick, Captain, USMC, Retired, passed away peacefully on October 25, 2012 in Houston, TX at the age of 99.
John was born on July 19, 1913 in New York City to Guy and Edna Minnick. He was the second of four sons. His parents and his brothers, Robert, Bruce and Donald, all preceded him in death.
He grew up in Great Neck, Long Island, NY, graduating from Great Neck High School in 1931, and from Amherst College in 1935. John was co-captain of both the Amherst track and the Amherst cross-country teams, a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and editor of the Olio yearbook in his senior year.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and became a boot camp Drill Instructor at Parris Island, SC. He was commissioned as an officer at Quantico in 1943. While at Quantico, John met Frances Shears at the Stage Door Canteen in Washington, DC. They were married March 13, 1943 in Alexandria, VA.
As the Platoon Leader for the 3rd Division, 9th Marines, Regimental Weapons Company, John Minnick was a decorated Marine who fought in the Bougainville, Guam, and Iwo Jima campaigns from 1943 to 1945. He is a Purple Heart recipient for wounds sustained on Iwo Jima. During his rehabilitation he worked with the Naval Research Lab to develop a functional, lightweight artificial hand that became the standard for Veteran amputees.
After returning from WWII, John Minnick obtained his law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1949. John worked for a short time in private practice at Chambliss Law Firm in Fairfax, VA, and then had a 22-year career as an attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel at the IRS in Washington, D.C. He resided with his family in Northern Virginia for 35 years. John served the community in leadership roles at Veterans' associations, churches, school PTAs, historical societies, political groups, and patriotic education organizations. John Minnick was Scoutmaster of Troop 1532 in Annandale, VA. He took his son, Donald all the way to Eagle Scout.
He was a member of the George Mason chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and worked for many years to elevate the public awareness of Virginia patriot, George Mason. His WWII memoir entitled "Chain of Thought: The Story of A WWII Marine" was published in 2008 on his 95th birthday.
In collaboration with his daughter, Lindy, John was able to create a legacy memoir of boyhood stories entitled "Wishing Stones and Rubber Ice" for his family. It was published in July 2012 for his 99th birthday.
John's first wife, Frances Shears, passed away in 1992 in Fredericksburg, VA. Ten years later John married Barbara Capdevielle in Mandeville, LA. Hurricane Katrina forced them to relocate to Houston, TX in 2005 where John resided first at Tarrytowne Estates Assisted Living facility, and then at Legend Oaks West nursing home.
John Minnick is survived by his wife, Barbara; four children, Lindy Minnick in Hemet, CA, Patricia Klayer in New Smyrna Beach, FL, Barbara Gibson in Slidell, LA, and Donald Minnick in Fredericksburg, VA, four step-children, Barbara Matthews in Metairie, LA, Willard Capdevielle in Houston, TX, Catherine Musso in Carpenteria, CA, and Thomas Capdevielle in Slidell, LA, nine grandchildren, Luke, Mike, Tony, Tara, Nicole, Karl, Scott, Denise, and Laurel; eight step-grandchildren, Sarah, Blair, Julie, Benny IV, Chris, David, Jennifer, and Jessica; eleven great-grandchildren, Michael, Brian, Zachary, Averi, Shane, Kaley Jo, Kendall, Kolin, Maya, Lily, and Henry; and ten step-great-grandchildren Elizabeth, Isaiah, Laney, Avery, Megan, Hunter, Annelise, Benny V, Christian and Liam.
John Minnick "connected" with everyone he met. His ready smile and twinkling blue eyes will be missed by all. He was an avid reader of Louis L'Amour novels. In his last years he used to say, "My memory of today fades so fast that each book I pick up can be read anew at any time." This passage from Louis L'Amour's Last of the Breed helps us recall the extraordinary life of John Minnick: "When I die, remember that what you knew of me is with you always. What is buried is only the shell of what was. Do not regret the shell, but remember the man. Remember the father."
Capt. Minnick will be buried at Quantico National Cemetery, Quantico, VA with full military honors in January 2013.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Paralyzed Veterans of America by calling 1-800-555-9140, or going online at www.pva.org
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Published in Northern Virginia Daily from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31, 2012
Arrangements under the direction of:
Brookside Funeral Home-Cypress Creek
9149 Highway 6 North | Houston, TX 77095 | (281) 345-6061