George L. John obituary photo
 
In Memory of

George L. John

November 24, 1920 - February 6, 2011

Obituary


Another dignified gentleman who personified the "Greatest Generation" has joined his Maker. Dr. George L. John, a retired medical physician, passed away peacefully on Sunday February 6, 2011. He was born November 24, 1920 in the tiny town of Rock River, Wyoming. The Great Depression precipitated the family's move to Fort Worth, Texas, the hasty completion of high school, and George's subsequent enrollment at Texas Christian University (TCU) at age 15. Always the studious academician, he applied to and was accepted as a sophomore at Rice University. The "selling" point for his family was the...

Another dignified gentleman who personified the "Greatest Generation" has joined his Maker. Dr. George L. John, a retired medical physician, passed away peacefully on Sunday February 6, 2011. He was born November 24, 1920 in the tiny town of Rock River, Wyoming. The Great Depression precipitated the family's move to Fort Worth, Texas, the hasty completion of high school, and George's subsequent enrollment at Texas Christian University (TCU) at age 15. Always the studious academician, he applied to and was accepted as a sophomore at Rice University. The "selling" point for his family was the free tuition for those who met the rigorous admissions standards. He graduated in 1940 with a B.S. in Chemistry. He worked briefly in the petrochemical industry after graduation but joined the rest of his generation in going to war. During World War II, he served as an engineer in the United States Army, where he also was taught Turkish at Princeton University as part of an elaborate ruse involving the invasion of Europe via the Dardanelles. He served in Europe and was captured by the Germans in 1944 near the Czechoslovakian border. He and his platoon were holed up in a deserted warehouse waiting for transport when a German solder arrived to say they were surrounded and should just surrender. Another US soldier pulled his rifle which jammed. George always said that had that rifle not jammed he and his fellow soldiers would have been shot on the spot. Instead, he served as a "guest" of the Germany army until he was liberated by the Soviets in April, 1945. The ability to fluently speak German and converse in French & Turkish probably helped save his life. After the war, he seized the opportunity to further his education by utilizing the GI bill. He attended Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. After witnessing the carnage of war from a front row "box seat," he decided to embark on a career helping his fellow man. Upon completion of medical school, he worked in multiple locations including Lead, South Dakota; Schuyler and York, Nebraska before establishing a long term private practice in rural Wayne and neighboring Windside, Nebraska. He was the quintessential country doctor who many times was paid in sides of beef, chickens and general produce and who established close personal relationships with his patients. More than once, while out on a house call, he was trapped by a harsh Nebraska blizzard at a patient's farm house. Economics once again inspired a move later in life. The town hospital closed, his son was accepted at his Alma mater, Rice University, and malpractice insurance was skyrocketing. He returned to Austin where he worked for the University of Texas as a staff physician for the next 16 years. He was very involved in many civic organizations, including the Masonic Lodge, Baker Street Irregulars, Kiwanis, and the American Radio Relay League and as an enthusiastic patron of the arts. In particular he loved opera and at one point had concurrent season tickets to every major and minor opera company in Texas. He played the cello and during his life was involved in a variety of civic orchestras. His other pursuits reflected his keen intellectual curiosity. He dabbled in astronomy by hand grinding the mirrors for and building his own telescope. He worked all states and continents as an amateur ham radio operator and he handcrafted a harpsichord for his first wife. He was an avid chess player, a passion he passed on to his son and grandsons.
In his golden years, long after his first difficult marriage had ended and after dating many lovely ladies, he met and married the love of his life, Joyce R. (Green) Stipher. By all accounts theirs was a storybook love. Our father once said that God blessed him with two miracles in his life. The first was surviving the war and the second was meeting his beloved Joyce.
George is survived by his wonderful wife, Joyce John; his two children, George Christopher John of Houston, TX and Nancy (John) Wilcox of Seattle, WA; three grandchildren, David John, Katherine Wilcox, and Ian Wilcox.

Daddy, your sweetness, wry sense of humor and zest for life will always live on in our hearts.
.