John H. Aulgur obituary photo
 
In Memory of

John H. Aulgur

March 22, 1925 - January 14, 2018

Obituary


John H. Aulgur, 92, of Overland Park, KS, passed away on Sunday, January 14, 2018. A Celebration of life service will be held at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS at 1:00 pm on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

John was born March 22, 1925 in Des Moines, IA. He was seven of eight children born to Leverett and Flora Ada Aulgur. John's parents passed when he was 8 years old and his sister Dora raised him. On his 18th birthday, he joined the U.S. Navy and after...

John H. Aulgur, 92, of Overland Park, KS, passed away on Sunday, January 14, 2018. A Celebration of life service will be held at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS at 1:00 pm on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

John was born March 22, 1925 in Des Moines, IA. He was seven of eight children born to Leverett and Flora Ada Aulgur. John's parents passed when he was 8 years old and his sister Dora raised him. On his 18th birthday, he joined the U.S. Navy and after training was sent to the Pacific during World War II. He served in the war on Saipan, Guam and Midway. In 1945 he returned from the war, met, and married the love of his life Helen L. Mills on June 19 1948. Over the next 15 years, they were stationed in Memphis, TN, Toms River, NJ, London, England, Olathe, KS, Coronado, CA, San Francisco, CA and settling in Overland Park, KS. From 1957 to 1959, John served as Chief Petty Officer Air Traffic Controller on the USS Bennington (CV-20). John retired from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer ACC in 1962 after 20 years of service. After the service, John attained his Associate Degree in Electronic Engineering and became the service manager for Savin Business Machines. John is survived by his wife of 70 years, Helen; Sons, Steve (Susan), Rick (Kelly) and daughter, Susan Paterson. John was grandpa to eight grand children and six great grand children. He loved working in his garden, tending to his roses, making homemade salsa, baking bread; helping his son Rick with his farm in Branson, MO and being Grandpa to his Grand Children.

Our Tribute to Dad

Dad would be embarrassed by all this attention here today! He would think surely all of you have something more important to do like change the oil in your car, tend to your garden or caulk a window......because that's what dad used to do!.
On behalf of my mother, my sister and my brother I want to thank all of you for taking the time to celebrate our dad's life. I know that many of you know dad through one of us and maybe you had a chance to meet or talk with dad over the years. However, most of you do not really know dad and I would like take a few minutes and tell you a little bit about him.
Dad was born on March 22, 1925 in Des Moines, IA; he was the seventh of eight children born to Leverett and Flora Ada Aulgur. Dad was the youngest son and he had two brothers and five sisters. His mother died at a young age in 1934 when dad was just eight years old. His father was so distraught over the death of his wife that six months later he was found slumped over her grave, he had drank a bottle of Lye. So at eight years old in 1934 dad was on his own and if it had not been for his older sister Dora getting married and taking dad in he would have been put in a foster home or orphanage. Dora and her husband Ransom raised dad and always thought of dad as one of their own children. On dad's 18th birthday, March 22, 1943 Dad enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After completing high school and six weeks of boot camp at Great Lakes Training Center dad was assigned for active duty. His first ship was an LST headed for the Islands in the Pacific. Dad's ship landed on the island of Saipan in 1944 just after the Battle of Saipan and what was famously called the Saipan Death march. By 1945, the war was over and dad's ship returned to San Diego. Dad was anxious to see his newly married brother Walter so he took leave to Kansas City and was invited to dinner at Walters's in-laws house. Walter's wife Betty had three sisters and so there it was at the dinner table that it was not long before sparks started to fly for the youngest sister Helen. Soon after dad put in orders to be transferred to Olathe Naval Air Station to spend more time with this hot chick Helen Louise Mills. And on June 19, 1948 dad married the "love of his life" Helen. And Dad and mom headed off on their military life together. First stop, Millington, TN, Dad was now an Air Traffic Controller in the Navy and the military keeps you moving every two years. On September 29th, 1950 I was born and shortly after we moved back to Olathe, KS for a short time and then dad was transferred to Lakehurst, NJ and we lived in Toms River, NJ, after two years there dad got orders for London, England and mom and I followed him to England with a cruise on the USS United States. Mom and Dad really enjoyed England, the beautiful gardens and we were there for the crowning of Queen Elizabeth. There were also many stories of dad winning poker games! Just some of the things he won were a car, a washer and dryer and of course money. And on March 15, 1954 mom gave birth to my brother Richard Craig Aulgur. And I doubt he knew it then but dad had just met his best fishing friend and farming buddy. By the end of 1954 dad was transferred back to Olathe Naval Air Station again and we came home to Overland Park. Our house on 78th street had a big back yard, Dad quickly put in a big garden, and for a couple of years everything seemed pretty normal. We had lots of Aunts and Uncles and cousins and life was good. One story during this time that I think tells you a lot about who our dad was. Was the night of the Grandview F5 tornado on May20, 1957. Dad's brother Walter and his family lived in Grandview and when the news hit that night that the tornado had hit Grandview Dad freaked out! In the middle of the storm and rain, he left to make sure his brother and family were all right. He drove to red bridge and holmes and he could no longer drive because of the damage, so he parked the car and ran the next 4-5 miles in the rain to get to Walters house. The tornado had missed their house by about four houses. Needless to say, I was glad to see my dad the next day but it also showed me my dad's loyalty to family, he risked his life that night and I never forgot it. In January 1958 dad received orders, and was assigned to the USS Bennington, an Air Craft Carrier stationed in San Diego, CA. Dad was the leading Petty Officer in charge and the Bennington was heading on a Westpac deployment to the Pacific for the next year. While dad was gone, on June 30th, 1958 mom have birth to my sister Susan Diane Aulgur and nothing has been normal ever since! Rick and I were elated to have a sister, Mom had her girl to dress up and Dad could not wait to get home to meet his princess! It seems like things starting moving pretty fast now,
Dad came home at the end of the year and all of a sudden, we were moving to San Diego, CA. Dad's ship was stationed at Coronado Naval Base and he wanted us there with him so it seems like overnight we packed up, threw the three kids into the back seat of a 1957 Ford Fairlane, 6 cylinder 3 speed, with no air conditioning and off to California we went. It was our version of the Beverly Hillbilly's.... you know except for the oil! Wow, when we arrived in Coronado, I thought this must be heaven. We lived just a few houses from the ocean and the ferry, Rick and I felt like we were on an adventure, it was great. Dad's ship was docked so we were able to go onboard, and it was the first time I saw my dad actually play baseball (fast pitch softball). He was the catcher for one of the ships teams and when I saw him play my mouth dropped, I could not believe my dad was a great baseball player. I was hooked for life, the next week I had to get a new glove and dad bought me a catcher glove at the PX. It was not long before we had to move again, Dads carrier was being transferred to San Fran to go into dry dock. So we moved to San Fran at the naval base in the bay and lived in a Quonset hut! If you do not know what that is Google it, I can just tell you it is not luxury living. Again, Rick and I had a blast, roaming the naval base watching the big cranes across the bay build Candlestick Park. And every weekend mom and dad would take us on a road trip somewhere like the Redwood Forest, Disneyland or Fisherman's Wharf. By the end of 1959 dad had received orders to move back to Olathe Naval Air Station and it was time for us to head home. It was good to be back in Overland Park, we soon moved to a new house at 8701 Conser, across the street from South Lake Park, and everyone seemed happy. Dad had a big back yard for his garden, a bigger yard so he had to buy a riding lawn mower, mom had her new home and Rick and I had a hidden lake next door to continue our adventures and Susan had "her own bedroom." In 1962 dad retired from the Navy and I remember him being relieved to be out of the Navy, but he came home to three screaming kids, newer home, and bills and he knew he had to do something. He started his second career by buying a gas station at Roe and Merriam Dr., Dad loved the sales and personal touch of the gas station, he was a natural salesman but it just was not an overall good fit. So he sold the gas station, and went back to school to get his electronic engineering degree and after two years he graduated and got a job with Savin Business Machines. Savin was one of the leaders in the manufacturing of these new things called "copy machines" and dad became one of their service managers. And they put him on the road flying everywhere repairing copy machines. The business was moving fast and it was all dad could do to keep up. But he loved the challenge, and hated being away from home. It seems from 1965 to 1985 everything was kind of crazy, dad was working hard, traveling, I was slowly moving away, with school, the service and getting out on my own. By the end of 1972, Rick had moved to Branson and Susan graduated from high school in 1976 and headed off to college. And mom and dad were empty nesters from the mid-seventies on...sort of! In talking with Rick and Susan, we may have been all going in different directions but nothing ever changed at home, Mom and Dad kept everything normal and made sure we had a support system. Starting in 1975 Rick bought a farm in Branson and Dad would leave early from work on Friday and many times throw some things into the back of the truck and haul off to Branson to work on Rick's farm. Rick and Dad first had to tear down the old shack and build a new "Shack". But soon after they bought a Tractor, then bought some cattle, bought some pigs, then bought some chickens and horses, it was a real farm. Over the next 10 years, Dad would head to the farm with Rick almost every weekend. When we look back, these years were some of Dad's happiest times, his time on the farm was a real joy to him, he loved riding the tractor and Rick said all the time it was just him and dad and the dog and of course some beer. As we were all making big decisions in our life Rick, Susan and I all agree that dad was always our biggest fan, regardless of what proposal or idea we told him about he was always supportive and his standard response was "Let's make it work" or "Lets make it pay". We always knew he had our back and would do what he could to help us succeed, no questions asked! By the 1980's things were changing, in 1983 dad was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Polythyciema, it is a condition where your bone morrow makes to many red blood cells. They told us that dad could live a good life for about 10-15 years. So every so often dad would have to go to the hospital and have a unit of blood removed. Dad took it all in stride, and would make a joke of having to give blood and it certainly did not slow him down. By now, Susan was married, Susan and I were in Little Rock and looking back, 1985 became a pivotal year; dad was going so hard with work, helping Rick with the farm, and so looking forward to retirement. Dad had some health setbacks but was really looking forward to a new focus as Rick stopped farming around 85 and 86, it turned out that 1985 was the year that dad got really excited about life. And we actually know exactly what day everything changed, yes the game changed on February 21, 1985, on that day his first grandchild was born, David Andrew Paterson! Mom and Dad had a renewed enthusiasm about life and David Andrew was their new focus. Of course it wasn't long before number 2 came along Alex LeAnn on Feb. 25th 1987, and then #3 Jessica Hayes on Nov. 3, 1986, and then #4 Stefanie Kristen on May 19, 1987, then Alex Diane on Jan. 8th 1989, and then Lauren Michele on October 23rd, 1990, then Avery Lee on June 29th, 1996, and how appropriate is it that Dad's youngest grandchild is a grandson and is named John Tyler Aulgur! (Dec. 15 1997). They say in life that everyone is put here for a purpose or a reason. And I can assure you that our dad was a good son, but he did not have much time to prove that with his parents passing so soon in his life. And I am sure our dad was a good brother, but with his family scattered he did not get much time to be a brother. I am sure Dad was a good Navy man, wherever we went in the Navy people always spoke highly of Dad. And dad was a good employee for Savin Business Machines and got nothing but rave reviews about his work. And based on what day you ask mom, he was a good husband! And Rick, Susan and I know that Dad did the best he could at being DAD. We think he gave us all he had. But I can assure you without a doubt; one of dad's purposes in life was that he was a GREAT Grandpa! Most of his grandchildren here learned to drive, first starting with the riding tractor in the back yard and graduating to Grandpa's Red Truck. And then there was the waffles, bread, salsa, trips to get lottery tickets, the garden, the tomato's the singing in the truck and so much more. Dad loved being Grandpa! I will leave the stories to the Grandchildren to tell.
Also in 1985 mom and dad moved into their dream home and it had an even bigger back yard so for Dad that meant an even bigger garden and a bigger tractor/lawn mower and plenty of "honey do's" around the house. Dad was still really busy with work, but by now, all of his training was done in Kansas City. By 1987 dad was 62 and ready to say goodbye to Savin Business Machines, and he retired. And he was officially a fulltime Grandpa! By then Rick had stopped farming, I was traveling in Real Estate and Susan had two kids, so Mom and Dad were focused on being grandparents. Dad continued to have health setbacks, like a double hernia operation that did not go well and then treatment for Prostate cancer that he beat. So the next 20 years were filled with Grand kid stuff, going to watch them in sports, school events, then came graduations, and more graduations, then college, and more graduations, and then weddings. And through it all he was always there for them. It became funny because if Rick, Susan or I came over to the house, the first words out of dads mouth wasn't hi or how are you it was "where is the kids" or "did you bring the kids" and if the kids weren't with us it was a big letdown? It was obvious he was done with us? it was all about the grandchildren.
Over the last 5 years dads health became a big problem, first he got a new heart value, and bounce back, then he fell and broke his hip but fought back, but in December 2016 he fell and there were multiple injuries and it was a long haul back from this setback, but by April he was up and running again. Only to fall again and set him back a month but by the end of May he was back home and we had a good summer, trying to find a way for mom and dad to live comfortably at home. But in August, he got a Staph Infection and that recovery was very very difficult. And on a few occasions, he told me that he was tired and if the time was right to let him go. So our baseline was simply could he live at home and if he could get back to living at home, he was always willing to do whatever it took to be home with mom. During the last 5 years, I wish I would have written down some of the things dad said. Have you ever heard of the book "the shit my dad says", I have only seen it at the bookstore but it reminded me that I could have written a book about some of the one-liners dad would say. One example was early last year as he was recovering from the bad fall in December, the Physical Therapist would come in the room all bubbly and dad would be sitting in his wheel chair and the therapist would say, John are you ready to do some walking today? And dad would quickly respond with NO! Then the Therapist would say, "Well let's just try" then there was silence. After a few seconds dad said, "Well Einstein tried and look where it got him"! I looked at the Therapist and it was all she could do to keep from busting out laughing. And I am thinking where does that shit come from!
So last Friday was a normal day but dad decided he did not want to wait for the home help to arrive at 8:30 to get up and tried to sit up on the bed and he slid off the bed to the floor. This was not uncommon, he had done this many times, and when I got the call from mom to come help get him up, we were not too concerned. But when I picked him up, he said his left leg hurt, and I checked it out, not bruised, but I did notice a bump on his leg above the knee. So we tried to stand on it and he could not put pressure on it. So we had no choice but to call the ambulance and take him to the hospital. In the ER, they quickly took him for x-rays, and then the Doctor came in to tell us the results, broken femur above the knee, fractured and displaced and they x-rayed his lungs and found some fluid so he had pneumonia as well. When the doctor walked out of the room, I looked at dad and he smiled and said, "I really do it up right don't I" and I said yep! The nurse comes in and asks dad, on a scale of 1-10 what is your pain now John and dad says a 7-8, the nurse turns and looks at me and I just said he has a very high threshold for pain! We eventually get up to a room and get him settled, and he was doing well, a little discomfort in his leg but they had put him in a splint and it helped somewhat. I headed home that night assuming we would come up with a game plan tomorrow and start figuring what the next step would be. I received a call around 8:30am to inform me that dads heart stopped, they had to do CPR to revive him, and they did, and that they had put him on a breathing machine. Susan got to the hospital first and he was in ICU, and was not responsive. By the time I got there, he was responding and we could communicate with him. Rick and mom arrived by noon and we conferred with all the doctors. They said even if he could withstand surgery for the leg he would not be able to put pressure on it ever again, so he would never walk again. And in performing the CPR that morning, they heard his ribs crack so he had the pain from cracked ribs. And the breathing machine is very uncomfortable and they recommend to us to remove the breathing machine to remove that discomfort and make him comfortable with pain medicine. So by 3:00pm we had made that decision and in typical dad fashion they pulled the breathing machine and darned if dad didn't start breathing normally. Rick was standing by him and his first words were "Thank You" and "I love you", then Susan went to him and he said "Thank You" and "I love you" and then I went to his side and he said, "Thank You" and "I love you". Some of the Grandchildren came and Andrew was able to tell grandpa that he graduated from college with an Associate degree in Web Design, and Grandpa was proud. Alex, Jess and Lauren were all able to talk with him and he was doing OK. Of course they had him on Morphine! When we left that night, he seemed to be doing OK. I got a call at 5:30am in the morning from the nurse caring for Dad and he said that dads health had slowly declined through the night and if I wanted to be here, I should come now. So Sunday morning I jumped in the car and headed to the hospital and just a few miles before I got there I received the call from the nurse that dad had passed. When I got to his bedside the body was still warm and I held his hand and talked to him, he seemed so peaceful and looked just like he did every day when I would come in to wake him from his nap.
Dad was a kind and supportive person, he always said thank you, all the time! The nurses were very appreciative of his kind manner and calm understanding during difficult times. He gave us all he could, and continued to teach us about life right up to his final breath. This last year has been very difficult on mom, watching dad struggle to get back from some very difficult situations. But I always will be grateful that we gave him a chance to do what he wanted to do and that was to be home with mom. We lost more than just "Dad" we lost our best friend and our biggest fan!
I spent a lot of time this year with dad and in my heart of hearts; I had to do that for dad. But it really caused a strain on my family, and I want to publicly thank my wife Susan, there is no way I could have done this without your support, patience and understanding, Thank You!