John J GaydosAugust 28, 1928 ~ November 6, 2017 (age 89)
John Joseph Gaydos, of Elkhart, passed away peacefully at home at the age of 89 surrounded by his loving family on Monday, November 6, 2017.
John, affectionately known as Jack, was born on August 28, 1928 in Cleveland to his parents John and Stella (Surovey) Gaydos. He attended Nativity BVM grade school and graduated Dover HS in Westlake, OH in 1946. As a youth, he worked as a mechanic, carpenter and painter, activities he enjoyed throughout his life. He also enjoyed trapping mink and muskrat and was an outstanding athlete in baseball, football, basketball and running the mile in track. He served our country with distinction as a Sergeant in the US Army from 1946-47. He was part of the US Occupation Force in Italy after the end of WWII. He shared many interesting stories of his times in the Army where he served in numerous capacities such as military policeman, mechanic, cook, company clerk and driver for the commanding officer.
The GI Bill enabled him to study Electrical Engineering at Purdue University where he joined the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and graduated with a BSEE 1952. He worked at Western Electric, Bodine Electric then Sunbeam in Chicago, in Product Development.
In 1952, John and some friends attended the Loyola University Club and he met his future wife, Geraldine Hovanec (Geri) of Gary, IN. They married on July 31, 1954. He decided he needed a law degree to achieve his ambitions, and it was at Loyola during night law school that he found his niche with patents under the guidance of his supportive professors. He graduated with JD 1960.
Shortly after graduating law school, he learned that CTS Corporation needed help in their legal department. He was hired, and the family moved and made Elkhart their home for the next 50 years, except for time spent wintering in Lake Worth, FL. He eventually became a VP, specializing in Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights and was the local expert on the variable transistor. CTS provided him many opportunities to represent CTS in Great Britain and Japan. John also represented CTS at Purdue University, where he worked with Dr Leslie Geddes from the Biomedical Department on a patent where they perfected the heart defibrillator. In 1980 he left CTS to start his private law practice for the next 20 years and it became the Herron & Gaydos Law firm. He helped many creative people patent their inventions, but he did pro bono work for many who sought his help.
Together Jack and Geri raised five children, all of whom followed him in graduating from Purdue: John C of Atlanta, GA; Jeffrey (Patricia Stewart) of Winchester, VA; Janet (Frank) Berkemeier of Jackson, MI; Dr Joanne (Dr Steven) Daniel of Murfreesboro, TN; Dr Julie (Colonel Ray Plagens) of Elkhart. They were blessed with nine grandchildren: Monica (Nick) DelMedico of Lansing, MI; Franz (Melia) Berkemeier of Chicago; Gretchen, Andrea, Henry and Geraldine Berkemeier of Jackson, MI; Marisa and Morgan Plagens of Elkhart, IN; and Michael Daniel of Murfreesboro, TN.
Jack is survived by his devoted wife, Geri, of 63 years, his sister, Mildred (Gaydos) Roth of Westlake, OH, and cousin Fr (Ron) Anton Rusnak, Trappist priest from Gethsemane, KY, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents John and Stella (Surovey) Gaydos of Cleveland, Ohio, his sister Josephine (Gaydos) Traylor, nephew Larry Traylor of New Orleans, LA, and grandnephew Jeremy Traylor of Slidell, LA.
Jack and Geri were life time members of St Thomas the Apostle Church, the Elks (Christiana Creek CC), and the YMCA. Jack’s pride and joy were watching his kids and grandkids compete/perform in swimming, golf, softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer, musicals, orchestras and choir. He managed and coached his sons in Little League baseball and chaperoned ski trips with them in Boy Scouts. He was a strong proponent of Title IX and supported girls sports in the schools. He was President of the Elkhart YMCA swim team and was an official at the Elkhart Memorial HS swim meets and donated his comp checks to the girls swim uniform fund. He bought numerous sets of golf clubs for his kids and grandkids, and purchased musical instruments for his kids and grandkids to foster their love of music, and even rebuilt a car or two. Jack and Geri loved to spend time with friends playing bridge, attending musicals for 40 years at the Morris Civic Center, participated in the Elks’ Stag and Doe, and Winers and Diners.
Jack lived life to the fullest. He worked hard, and insisted on taking the family on vacations throughout the US and Mexico. He loved gardening, hunting, and was known to buy and fix up cars and gift them to his grandkids; he loved woodworking, even built his own shed, made cabinets for his kids, and helped out when a grand baby was born.
Jack will be terribly missed especially by his family. He was the wind beneath our wings, on the vanguard with ideas, a man ahead of his time. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to honor John J Gaydos at: Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) Foundation or American Cancer Society (Esophageal Cancer)
Please join us to celebrate John’s life starting with the visitation at the Hartzler - Gutermuth - Inman Funeral Home, 403 W Franklin, Elkhart, IN 46516, on Thursday, November 9, 2017, from 4:00 pm to 8:00; Rosary at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be at St Thomas the Apostle Church on Friday at 10:00 am, followed by interment at St Vincent’s Cemetery.