John J. Gurgas Jr. was born on April 21st, 1945 in Steubenville, Ohio. He always had great tales of growing up there. Tales about heavy northwest snowfalls, hot summer nights without air conditioning, a persistent grandmother that insisted he speak polish, a chemistry experiment gone wrong in the basement, and long Sunday drives to Pittsburgh to see the sights and scenery which would make a lasting impression on him and would later reemerge on his model train layout later in life. One of his most prized possessions, the train layout would eventually grow over time to fill a two-car garage and have multiple layers and stations. John was very handy and quite creative. He purchased a station wagon brand new in 1975 and was able to keep the vehicle running year after year until he passed.
The Gurgas family relocated to Florida in 1961. There he was drafted to join the United States Army in 1963 and was sent to Vietnam. In 1968 he got out of the military and moved back to Florida where he began working at Winn Dixie. In May of 1971 he went on a blind date and in June 1971 he married the love of his life Judy. In 1973 they had their only child, a daughter whom they named Karin. John re-entered the military in 1979 and became an AH-1 helicopter repairman. His duty stations included a tour in Germany and Hawaii before finally being stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas, while there he did a 1 year stint in Korea before he finally retired in March 1993. His awards and accommodations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal (6th Award), and three Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons.
After retiring he started working as a truck driver going from coast to coast which landed him a job at KBR as a contract driver. In this new job he drove transports for the government in places like Kosovo, Bosnia, Africa, Kuwait, and Iraq. He retired from KBR in 2004 and spent the rest of his days enjoying his train board and taking care of his wife Judy until she passed in December of 2018.
John peacefully passed away on October 18th 2020 in Oklahoma City surrounded by his family. John was a quiet man that mainly kept to himself. He was loved and will be tremendously missed by all whom have come to know him and love him. He is survived by his sister Barbara Younglove, his daughter Karin Rosenberry and husband Byron Rosenberry, and his grandchildren Tyler and Trevor Rosenberry.
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