John Jimenez, 92, passed away February 9, 2018, in Lawrence, KS. John was born in 1925 in Hamilton County, KS in a small, and no longer on the map, settlement named Medway, KS to Agustin Parra and Josefa Bernal Jimenez. He was the third of eight children and the first to be born in the U.S. His two older brothers died of smallpox at an early age. He began his early education in Medway in 1930 in what may have been the last, or one of the last, sod school buildings in the state.
He met his mate for life, Naida J. Krause from Burlington, KS at K.U. They married in 1949. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, Pamela J. (John) Harrell of Paxton, MA; Elise J. (Timothy) DiLiberti of Oklahoma City, OK; and one son, Mark A. (Lourdes) Jimenez of Shawnee, KS. Two grandchildren, Joanne L. (Sean) Parker of San Antonio, TX, and Jeffrey B. (Melissa) Harrell, of Morrisville, NC, and three great grandchildren, Bryson and Alexis Harrell and Liam Parker also survive him.
John graduated from Syracuse High School, Syracuse, KS in May of 1943 and within a few weeks reported to an induction center as ordered by his draft board for basic training at the Naval Training Center in Farragut, ID. He was honorably discharged in April of 1946.
John trained as a Hospital Corpsman and served in the Central and South pacific, an area encompassing the Melanesian group of islands including the Solomons, from October 1943 to November 1945. He was awarded campaign ribbons for the American, Victory, and Pacific Theater events. He spent some of his duty time on a converted Liberty ship moving injured and sick personnel (3rd Marine Division) to established hospitals at New Hebrides, Guadalcanal, and New Caledonia.
Soon after his separation from the military, he enrolled at KU and completed his degree in Geology in 1954.
John worked for the Kansas Department of Transportation more than 39 years as an Engineering Geologist and also served during the same time as a Hydrologist for the Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources. The last 15 years of his career, leading to his retirement in 1994, he was the Regional Engineering Geologist for 14 counties of the northeast section of the state. His home base was Lawrence. During his retirement, John volunteered for 12 years at the Lawrence Visitor Center.
John enjoyed reading, woodworking, hunting, bird watching, and KU basketball. He served as a project leader for youth in the Four Leaf Clover 4-H Club and attended Rock Springs 4-H camp as a counselor.
John and Naida loved to travel and visited all of the states in the U.S., many countries in Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, and many regions of Mexico and Canada. Special interests were national parks, Civil War sites and museums. He never missed stopping at a rock shop at the side of the highway.
In 2013 John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and had spent the last several months in assisted living at Bridge Haven Village in Lawrence.
No formal services were held per John’s request. Private graveside services with military honors were held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Lawrence.
The family suggests memorials in his name be sent to KTWU or your favorite PBS station.