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1937 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
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August 14, 2018

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August 14, 2018

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 Memories & Condolences
This Guest Book will remain online permanently courtesy of Kelley.
October 14, 2017
To say that he was the best dad in the world just doesn't seem like it captures who he was. He WAS, without question, the best dad, but he was so much more. He lived his life not for himself, but for those he loved and cared about. He showed this in his every word and deed. My Dad is responsible for making my childhood joyous, doing everything in his power, no matter the sacrifice, to make sure that my sisters and I were happy, loved, well provided for, and never had to go without anything we needed (or wanted usually too). See, he had a hard time saying "no" to us when we'd ask him for something. In fact, when my sisters or I wanted something...REALLY wanted something, Dad would be the one we'd go to. Of course, if it was something he didn't think we needed, he'd always ask us if we had asked our mother first, and if we hadn't, we'd have to go through her first. He was well aware that his weakness might interfere with doing the right thing for us, so he counted on Mom's strength in that area. That is only one of the many, many reasons they made the perfect marital match. And what a loving and devoted husband he was! My dad remained just as important to me into my adulthood, choosing to retire right about the same time I became pregnant with my first child. This afforded him plenty of time to take care of and make lasting memories with his grandchildren. and that's just what he did. After Sarah was born, he became her primary caregiver when it came time for me to return to work. Dad would make the hour drive over to my house every week during the school year while Sarah was a baby, and well after. When Johnny came along, he committed to caring for and showering them both with his special love and devotion. He rose to the challenge of caring for my babies with flying colors, doing, I think, a better job than I could have done myself. Dad earned his very own "in law suite" when we finished our basement. As grateful as I was to have my children cared for by someone who loved them as much as I did, it paled in comparison to the joy I felt knowing I'd get to see him every weekday throughout the school year. During that time, we made many memories my family and I will cherish forever. He became a part of everything we did from having family dinners to, evening school activities, to cheering at every Rochester Adams basketball game. He even filled in for us when we couldn't accompany Sarah and Johnny to school field trips, not to mention being the stand in at the daddy-daughter dances when John had to be away coaching his basketball team. In fact, their teachers all knew and remember fondly "Grandpa John", since he was such a presence in their lives. He never stopped taking care of and doing for me either, always going out of his way to make sure the house was straightened up and the dishes were done by the time I got home from work because he knew the effect it would have on me after getting home from a long, stressful day at work. When Sarah and Johnny got old enough to be in school all day and no longer needed to have someone here to take care of them, I remember the sinking feeling I had when I realized that meant he would no longer need to come over so often. Selfishly, I think I even tried to make up a reason we'd still need him to come over all the time just so I could have him close as much as possible. Having him around was such a blessing. He made it his mission to not only take the very best care of them, but to make the most he could of every opportunity to make memories with his grandkids. I think I heard him say a thousand different times when Sarah or Johnny would thank him for doing something for or with them that he knew that someday he would only be a memory and that he hoped it would be a good one. And that was the mantra by which he lived, right up until the very end. I have to say that now that he's gone from us, he isn't just a good memory, but he's a million of the best. What I wouldn't give for just one more of his tender, affectionate hugs. I know the day will come when I will see him again. Until then, I will need to learn to live with the tremendous void he has left.
October 12, 2017
I couldn't have had a better Dad if I'd hand-picked him for myself. He was always there for us, no matter what. I love him and miss him so much already.
October 12, 2017
My name is Andrew Fata, John McGonigal's grandson. I'd like to share about how much my Grandpa means to me.

He will always be more than just my grandpa. He was my teacher, helper, and one of my friends. Grandpa John was one of the great people in this world who really loved to teach and help others. I remember when he taught me how to bunt a baseball. He knew just the right way to explain things. I've heard stories about Grandpa teaching his kids and grand-kids how to drive the tractor and mow the lawn. As I hear these stories, I hear again and again about how patient my Grandpa was. I can't explain how much he has done for me. He has supported me in every way. He was truly one of a kind.

One of the great memories I have is of roasting s'mores at the fire pit, and playing cards and games with my Grandparents. I loved sleeping in the camper parked in the driveway and going inside the house for Grandpa's freshly cooked pancakes in the morning. We loved having his famous pancakes that were made different every time.

I'm grateful for the years I've been able to spend with my Grandpa. I could not have wished for anyone better to be my Grandpa. I'm so lucky for being able to have met my biggest fan, and knowing that from now on, he will be watching over me, rooting for me no matter what.
October 11, 2017

I'm Laurie, of: Wendy-Laurie-Colleen-Kelley, the second of John's daughters. This might seem a little strange to those who don't know our family's situation, but my dad married my mom when I was about two years old.

My and Wendy's biological father, William Charles Wentzel, who we learned so much about growing up and affectionately called "Daddy Chuck", died in Vietnam when I was 10 months old. It was actually 50 years ago on September 21st. (Don't do the math, yes I'm that old!)

As fate would have it, my mom married this wonderful man, John McGonigal, who has always been Dad to us. We've been told that my mom's friends and family teased and asked her if John was marrying her for HER or her kids? He loved us from the get-go. He has always told us so. And as we grew up, that love and our bonds with him only became stronger.

Colleen and Kelley came along and we were a family unit. None of us ever used the words stepfather or half sister. We hardly knew of such a thing. In fact, Kelley told me that once she overheard someone talking to Wendy and saying something about her stepdad. Kelley was confused and thought, "What? WHO are they talking about?"

Another interesting example of how John McGonigal was known as my dad is when my Grandma Wentzel (Daddy Chuck's Mom) was with my Mom and Dad at a Haslett track meet. She was up in the bleachers and I was down on the track. She said to Mom, "Laurie's taller than most of the girls out there. I wonder where she gets her height? You and John are not that tall." In a few seconds Grandma realized what she said and they laughed about it. But I love that story for obvious reasons ... I consider John McGonigal as my dad, and even those closest to us did too.

And how fantastic was it that all four of us girls got to have three sets of grandparents growing up? We also had two great grandmothers that we knew well. We were lucky kids! In fact, you might've heard us talking about chopping and splitting and stacking wood with Dad. We would go out to Great Grandma Ruth's Centennial farm (my dad's Grandma) and stack kindling on her porch for her. She had a wood burning oven/stove top where she cooked. This is just another example of how Dad was always taking care of other people. That's what he did, all along, always, and for all of us.

He was a kind and very humble man with a great big heart. As a former first grade teacher, I picture a Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch. Do you remember when the Grinch's heart grew 20X that day? Well, that Grinch with the big heart couldn't hold a candle to my dad!

John McGonigal was a sweet, sentimental man, full of care and concern for his family. He loved my mom and he loved us girls unconditionally. The world was a better place with him in it and he will surely be missed.