John Pious Kari
Fri, 09/11/2020 - 3:13pm admin
John Pious Kari, 102, of Sturgis, passed away Sunday, August 30, 2020 at the Fort Meade VA Hospice.
Johnny was born on March 17, 1918 to Peter and Katherine (Sperle) Kari. He was the oldest of nine children and attended country school until grade eight. He worked for a time on the family ranch and later went to Minnesota, where he worked on various ranches/farms. He entered the Army at age 24 during the outbreak of World War II. Johnny enlisted in 1942 and served 3 years 3 months and 3 days as part of the US Army's coastal artillery. During that time, he "island hopped" throughout the Pacific Theatre until 1945, when he was reassigned to a brief stint in India driving mule trains. Johnny was then stationed in Panama for a brief period, guarding US prisoners of war. Prior to the end of the war, Johnny was reassigned to the Galapagos Islands, where he continued artillery practce in anticipation of the invasion of Japan. Following the US nuclear drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Johnny returned to South Dakota, where he continued maintaining the family ranch on Bixby Road outside of Bison, and where he married Kathryn Stewart. They raised one daughter, Peggy a.k.a. Sherry Larson. In the mid-1950s, they moved to Sturgis when he took employment at Ft. Meade VA Hospital as a veteran assistant. Johnny acquired his GED while employed at the VA Hospital prior to his retirement in 1983. After retirement, he and Kathryn took several trips to explore the US. Johnny continued to be active at the Sturgis Senior Center thrift store as a cashier until he turned 98.
During their retirement years, Johnny and Kathryn enjoyed looking after three great-grandchildren, who first arrived when Johnny was 70. Those years kept him young with picking them up from school, watching them grow, and eventually getting married. Johnny and Kathryn were blessed to see their grandson, Brian, and his wife, Joanne, get married in 1996 with a trip to Pennsylvania. Kathryn passed away October 30, 2011. Johnny continued to be active in the next generation of children, attending birthday parties and holiday dinners with family. At his 100th birthday party, his cake said "Happy Birthday John" and he was caught saying "I have been Johnny for 100 years and now I get just John". During his later years, Johnny was watched over with care and compassion by his granddaughter, Linda, until his passing.
Johnny will continue to be loved by all of his family and friends who had the honor and pleasure to know him throughout the years.
John is survived by one brother, Raymond (Kay) Kari of St. Onge; a daughter, Sherry Larson of Sturgis; one granddaughter, Linda Overweg of Sturgis; one grandson, Brian (Joanne) Peters of Millerstown, PA; great-grandchildren, Matthew Overweg, Brandon (Mariah) Overweg, Rebecca (Chris Kaye) Overweg, Emma Peters, Rachel Peters, Megan Peters, Grace Peters, and Samuel Peters; great-great-grandchildren, Braxton Overweg, Masea Overweg, Braydn Overweg, RayLee Overweg, Bently Overweg, and Berlin Overweg; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Katie Kari; wife, Kathryn; brothers, Marvin Kari, Mark Kari, and Walter Kari; and sisters, Velma Johnson, Josephine Rogers, Dorothy Kari, and Kathrine Schlosser.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, September 3, 2020, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Sturgis, with Father Timothy Castor officiating. Committal services with military honors followed at Black Hills National Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.