December 2, 1919 to June 28, 2015
Longtime Downey resident John J. Koshear died June 28th, 2015 in San Diego, California, of heart failure. His life will be celebrated in a memorial service to be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood, 7501 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA, on Oct. 4th, 2015 at 1 p.m.
Known as Jack to family and friends, his lifelong passion for aviation dated from his boyhood in Long Beach. Born Dec. 2, 1919, in Tulsa, OK, his family moved to Long Beach, CA in 1923 where his father found work as a carpenter in the Signal Hill oilfields. Later, as a consequence of both the Depression and the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, the family moved to Hollywood to be closer to his father’s work building sets for the movies. After graduating from Fairfax High, Jack apprenticed as a carpenter and also built sets in Hollywood, putting himself through college by swinging a hammer. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Aeronautics Option) in 1942 and entered officer training in the U.S. Navy.
He took great pride in his Navy service during WW II, where he was Division Officer for a carrier aircraft support unit in the Pacific Theater. After WWII, he joined the Naval Reserve and later retired at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
In his civilian career, he worked for Peerless Pumps, North American Aviation supporting the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space exploration/moon landing programs, and other space program contractors. In an engineering career stretching over 41 years, he took the greatest satisfaction from his participation in the Apollo program, eventually retiring from Hughes Aircraft.
His love of mountain climbing took him on many peak climbs across the montane West, especially the Sierra Nevada and San Gabriel mountains. He was an active member of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, leading hikes in Griffith Park, and he treasured the friends made on shared backpacks and hikes into the mountains.
He leaves behind daughters Kathleen and Jeannine, son-in-law Robert, and two grandchildren. He was predeceased by infant son John A., wife Babette, son Jon, and sisters Ruth and Geneva. Remembrances can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, and to the Sierra Club Outings program.