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John Herbert Wachtler


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
John Herbert Wachtler Obituary
May 18, 1921 - February 25, 2017 John (Johnny), loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and companion, passed away peacefully on February 25, 2017. He was 95 years old. Born in Minnesota, his family moved to Pasadena when he was a child. John attended Pasadena City College where he was a national track star. He never lost a race in the quarter mile and held the national junior college record at that distance. He was awarded a scholarship at USC but his college career was temporarily interrupted by WWII. John served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army where he lead a platoon in the Pacific, was a jungle warfare instructor and was awarded a purple heart after being wounded. After WWII ended, John returned to USC and received his Masters Degree in Education. He was co-captain of the 1946 National Championship track team and placed second in the U.S. in the quarter mile, the sixth fastest time in the world. He was later the President of the Trojan Coaches Club and a devoted Trojan throughout his lifetime. After graduating from USC, John chose to raise a family rather than qualify for the Olympics. He married his college sweetheart, Bernice (Hage). Together they raised three wonderful children, Bruce, Diane and Michael. He had three grandchildren, Jimmy Wachtler and Robert Lafleur who preceded him in death, Devin Silver and great grand daughter Abigayle Wachtler. He was an educator and track coach at San Fernando High School. After Bernice's untimely passing, he met Margaret Thackaberry with whom he had a loving relationship for nearly 30 years. John will be dearly missed by his family, friends and students. Graveside services will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale, March 7, 2:00 PM. A celebration of his life is being planned at USC.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 5, 2017
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