John VanEpps, 58

Published 10:57 am Thursday, December 4, 2014

John VanEpps passed away at age 58 after a three-year, courageous battle with cancer, on June 27, 2014, at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada.



John was born on Nov. 29, 1955, in Waterloo, Iowa. He graduated in 1974 from Austin High School in Minnesota. Soon after graduation he got married, started a family, and joined the U.S. Navy. Most of his time in the service was spent in the Philippines. While in the Navy, he proudly became the father of a boy (Dan) and a girl (Shelley), later two more boys were born (Paul and Steven).

In 1985 John moved to Juneau and began working for Alaska Airlines as a ramp service agent, eventually training as a departure coordinator. His career at Alaska Airlines spanned 27 years. John was a strong, hard worker, and at times a “work hard, play hard” sort of guy. John easily made friends and was known for his unbeatable sense of humor. He enjoyed telling and playing jokes on friends and family as much as possible, bringing them endless smiles and laughter.

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In 1987 John met Diane, they fell in love, were married and spent 26 wonderful years together. They lived most of their married life in Juneau and had recently moved to Las Vegas in 2012 after retiring from their jobs.

John enjoyed fishing on his boat “The Cod Father” (too bad Diane always caught the bigger fish!) and with friends and family anywhere from Alaska to Minnesota to Mexico. John was a huge football fan, “Go Minnesota Vikings.” He was also a huge fan of Rock ‘n Roll and liked to play it loud. He once broke his foot getting into the music and dancing a bit too wildly on his birthday. When not watching football and sports, his interests were in cars, science, history, cooking, animals, or The Weather Channel (a favorite). Of course, they all go with pizza.

John was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather who looked out for the best interest of his family, giving them numerous fun times together and encouraging advice and support when needed. He had the ability to see the good in difficult situations and was a caring, generous man with a tender soul. He had a big heart for humanity and especially loved animals. John was often seen in his yard or walking the neighborhood with one of his beloved kitties.

At the end of this journey and the beginning of his next, John was surrounded by his loving family that comforted him, a caring staff of doctors and nurses that showed great sensitivity to his needs, and many prayers from those who knew him. We will all miss him terribly but the memories of the good times we shared with him will warm our hearts forever.

John is survived by his mother Audrey Halsey; wife Diane; children: Daniel VanEpps, Paul (Kristina) VanEpps, Steven VanEpps, Shelly VanEpps; grandson Graedan VanEpps; granddaughters: Kaylin Parfitt, Kiana Parfitt; sister Debra (Guy) Wentzel; niece Jenny Winkels; nephews: Jeremy Winkels, Michael Winkels, Anthony Wentzel; great niece Amanda Winkels; great nephew, Noah Winkels; and numerous other family and friends that are dear to him.

He is preceded in death by his father John Glenwood VanEpps; and grandson Trey VanEpps.

A celebration of life was held on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure.