SIDNEY - John F. Clarkson, 90, longtime Sidney resident, passed away Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at the Nebraska Veteran's Home in Norfolk.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, in the Light Memorial Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Dixie Voss Anders officiating. Military graveside honors will follow in the Greenwood Cemetery.
Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Thursday from 1 to 7 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made in John's name to American Legion Post #17 or Disabled American Veteran Post #40.
You may view John's Book of Memories; leave condolences, photos and remembrances at www.gehrigstittchapel.com.
Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service LLC is in charge of John's care and funeral arrangements.
John, son of John Wesley and Buella Clarkson, was born in Paris, Texas, on Jan. 11, 1922, where his great-grandparents had settled after the Civil War. His hero growing up was his grandfather, whom he spent a great deal of time with as a youngster and always gave credit to him for his sense of duty, family values and hard work ethic.
He was drafted into the service of his country Dec. 19, 1942, at the age of 20, going to Camp Walters, Texas, with the 54th Battalion for heavy weapons training. After basic training, John was sent to the New Hebrides Islands in the Pacific to join the 129th combat team, where he spent the remainder of WWII. He was a highly decorated Veteran with 37 years of total active and reserve service in the Army, Air Force, and the Wyoming Air National Guard. His most memorable honor was as a platoon sergeant, to be chosen by his commanding officer to take the last of the Japanese Army off the Philippines on Luzon Island and turn them over to the Navy at the end of World War II. John always thought an officer with a higher rank than platoon sergeant should have done that. He considered it an honor to have been chosen.
He is a lifetime active member in the American Legion, having received his 50-year pin in 2010 and was active in Post 17 and Disabled American Veteran Post 40 until his illness in 2005. John held various representative positions for the local Chapters, as well as participating on the rifle squad that honors Veterans.
John worked for the Cheyenne Pipeline Company until his retirement in 1982 and prior to that had been a plumber in the Sidney area, a trade he had learned in the service. When asked for words of wisdom attributed to his long life, he said "Common sense is the secret to getting along in this old world and by doing things right."
He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Fern, who he met while stationed at the Sioux Army Depot in Sidney. They shared 52 years together. His eldest son, Robert, his parents, one brother and three sisters also predeceased him.
Survivors include his wife Mary Fahy of Sidney; daughter-in-law, Cheryl, Greta, Neb.; daughter, Deanna (Byron), Littleton Colo.; son, Ryan (Toni), Warsaw Mo.; son, Dale (Mary), Lincoln Neb.; brother, Randle (Sue) Clarkson; sisters, Gladys (Richard) Varner and Bernice Goss; grandsons, Bob (Francis) Clarkson, Ben Zimmerman, Barry (Paige) Zimmerman, Michael Zimmerman, and Brandon Clarkson; granddaughters, Jeanne (Jerry) Rash, Deanna Wolfarth, Heather (Jamie) Childress, Amber (Ross) Kaiser, and Holly (Matt) Lehr; 16 great-grandchildren, two great great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.