Dr. "K", as he was fondly addressed, passed on to eternal life on September 1, 2013, in Ormond Beach, Florida. John, 94, was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Josephine Theodora Mroczka, and a son, Omar John, who died at 9 days of age.
He is survived by four children: Lance Sanders Kistler (Cheryl), Janis Cosette Doye (David), Kathryn Ann Harris (Roy), and Deborah Jo Hutchens. He is also survived by a sister, Jeri Kistler of Pentwater, Michigan and a brother, Lawrence Kistler of Arizona. He also leaves behind 13 grandchildren and 20 (soon to be 22) great-grandchildren.
Dr. "K" was born March 3, 1919, in Ludington, Michigan, to Cosette and Larry Kistler. He attended Central Michigan University and in 1942, at the age of 22, he enlisted in the Navy and entered the Naval Flight School in Corpus Christi, Texas. He convinced the love of his life, Josephine, a nurse in Chicago to become engaged while he was in flight school. During a brief military leave, they were married on October 7, 1942. They were stationed in Key West, Florida and while John was assigned overseas to the Pacific Theater, Jo practiced nursing in California awaiting his return.
John was a decorated naval aviator who served with distinction for 28 years. His military service included World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. His decorations and awards include: the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal w/Star, Philippine Liberation, American Defense Service and more.
While stationed in California, during the 1960's, John completed his Bachelor of Science Degree at San Diego State. His last tour in the Navy was with the Navy ROTC program at Miami University. During his stay at Miami, he earned his Master's Degree. In 1969, after 28 years of service, he retired as a Commander. John moved his family to St. Augustine, Florida, where he started his second career as a college professor at Flagler College. Here he taught for 25 years and earned an Educational Doctorate Degree from the University of Florida.
In 1995, Dr. "K" retired from Flagler College. He and Jo moved to Camarillo, California, to be near their son, Lance. They had fifteen busy years enjoying the Southern California sun, traveling and gleaning the vegetable fields to support Food Share Co-op. John lovingly cared for Jo during five years of illness prior to her passing. Two months later, Dr. John suffered a stroke. Several months later, he was moved to Florida to be cared for by his daughter, Kate and son-in-law Roy.
John was founder of the American Tang Soo Do Association. Holding a 10th Degree Black Belt, he instructed over 40 years and was a mentor to hundreds of men and women. In addition, he was an Eagle Scout and active supporter of the Boy Scouts of America.
John was a devout Catholic and loved Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He loved his family and never met a person he did not like. He could talk to anyone and enjoyed telling a good story or joke. After his retirement, John was a self-made wood crafter/carpenter. He could fix anything and made "hundreds" of stools and trivets, many of which are heirlooms to family and friends.
Whenever asked how he was, Dr. "K" would explicitly answer, "Outstanding!" His positive attitude and love of life will always be remembered.
A memorial mass for Dr. John & Josephine Kistler will be celebrated on September 14, 2013 at 9:00 am at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, St. Augustine, Florida. Condolences may be shared at www.dalewoodwardfuneralhomes.com