John Edward Wasson was born to Dorothy Ashby and Clarence Wasson on September 27, 1948. He was the second child and only boy with four sisters. He grew up in Burlington, IA, graduating with the class of 1967.
He joined the Navy Sept 28, 1967. He spent basic training in Meridian, MS. He was later assigned to the USS Shangri-La (aircraft carrier), spending six months in the contiguous waters of Viet Nam. From March 5, 1970 to December 17, 1970 the USS Shangri-La circumnavigated the globe. He served active duty from 1967-1971 and was in the Navy Reserve until Sept 17, 1973.
After serving in the Navy he attended Southeastern Community College, later moving to Des Moines to be near his blind date sweetheart, Joyce Harris. On April 7, 1973 they were married and lived in Norwalk. In 1978 they purchased their first home in Waukee. They became parents of Jason and Jeremy. John enjoyed doing woodworking projects around their home, including building their deck, play set, and club house for the boys. John worked at Firestone for 25 years and then the Johnston School System for another 20 years.
John loved to travel. As a family, they took many vacations and camping trips. In later years, he enjoyed trips to MN to visit Jason and his family. He especially enjoyed going out for a specialty beer with Jason. He also found great joy being able to travel only 20 minutes to spend time with Jeremy’s family. Jeremy and John’s favorite topic was sports. Thankfully, they were on board with the same teams most of the time.
John retired in 2018. After retirement he had time to renew his love of drawing and sketching creating many drawings. He shared his love of drawing with his three grandchildren, Greta, Ian, & Derek. He started them at a very young age with a box of crayons. His grandchildren enjoyed the painted pumpkins he made for them every year for Halloween. John was a very proud Grandpa and always had plenty of lap room for all three and he always made sure there was plenty of ice cream and animal cookies! He had a great love for family and a strong faith.
He loved teasing, joking, and acting silly – anything to get a laugh. He was well known for his driving speed “slow.” He loved being teased. John never met a stranger and always enjoyed visiting with family, friends, and neighbors, all of whom will miss him.
John was a member of the Waukee Christian Church where he had sung in the choir and had served as deacon and elder. He belonged to the American Legion. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to neighbors or anyone needing some extra help.
John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease with dementia due to his contact with Agent Orange while serving in the Navy. When symptoms worsened, he became a resident of Sunny View Care Center in Ankeny, IA for two years.
John passed away September 26, 2023 at Iowa Lutheran Hospital, a few hours before his 75th birthday.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents Pearl Wasson, Ethel Tadlock, Lena Painter, and Floyd Ashby, and his in-laws Dale and Mildred Harris. He is survived by his wife of 50+ years, his sons Jason (Emily) of Chaska, MN, Jeremy (Larisa) of Grimes, IA, his grandchildren Greta and Ian of Chaska, MN and Derek of Grimes, IA, his sisters Linda Wasson, Nancy Hoyt, Cheryl (Jack) Kurz, and Barb (Michael) Grasselli, sister-in-law Janet Oberholtz, many nieces and nephews, and very special friends, Roger and Rose Norris.
John has chosen to be inurned at the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery at Van Meter, IA, where the family will have a private military committal service. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Waukee Christian Church, 29043 T Avenue, Waukee, IA 50263. Memorial donations can be made to Waukee Christian Church or Aging Resources of Central Iowa.