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John Henry Potthoff


1920 - 2015
John Henry Potthoff Obituary
John H. Potthoff of Bedford, formerly of Athens, Euless and Fort Worth, passed away Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Funeral: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Shannon Rose Chapel, 7301 E. Lancaster in Fort Worth, with the burial at 11:15 a.m. in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas. Visitation: Friends are cordially invited to share their memories and visit with the family from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Shannon Rose Hill Chapel. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to either The John or Betty Potthoff Endowed Scholarship for Veterans or Children of Veterans, Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas, 77840, or the United States Navy Memorial at www.navymemorial.org. John was born in Quanah to T.E. and Ruby Potthoff on May 26, 1920. Growing up in Forest Hills, he attended Forest Hill School and Polytechnic High School. His family worked as sharecroppers on what is now the Southwest corner of Loop 820 and I20, just north of Business 287 on Village Creek. To help support his family, John hitchhiked to downtown Fort Worth to work as a shoe cobbler's assistant at McKesson's Boot Shop. He joined the U.S. Navy in October of 1940 and was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack on Dec. 7, 1940. During World War II, John served on the USS Lang, USS Kenneth Whiting, USS Cascade and the USS Boxer. He was aboard the USS Kenneth Whiting during both during a kamikaze attack and later the Bikini atom test. He was promoted to chief radioman in September, 1946. After the war, he had shore duty at Adak, Alaska, the Pentagon and was chief of communications for the US Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va., until retirement. John was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1960 and stayed an additional 10 years in the U.S. Navy Fleet Reserve. He was introduced to Betty Jo Landrum while on leave visiting his parents in Fort Worth. Their first date was dinner at the Mexican Inn in downtown Fort Worth. They married six weeks later on March 2, 1947, in Hugo, Okla. She traveled with him to Adak, Alaska, San Diego, Calif., and Norfolk, Va., making their home wherever duty called. Their three children, Tom, Patty and Jean, were born in Navy hospitals in Virginia. In March of 1960, the Potthoff clan moved to Euless and John worked for Texas Instruments Supply Company until his retirement in March, 1980. He and Betty moved to Lake Athens where in 1985 they opened Johnnie's Christmas Tree Farm. John was active in the Texas Christmas Tree Association and in fact his "choose and cut operation" was featured in several publications. As a reflection of his spirit, he was known to give away Christmas trees to needy families each year. All their grandchildren worked each season on the farm making it a true family business. Survivors: He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty Potthoff; their children, Tom Potthoff and wife, Anne, of Fort Worth, Patty Helms and husband, Rex, of Whitney and Jean Atturio and husband, Charles, of North Richland Hills; their eight grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Published in Star-Telegram on Jan. 5, 2015
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