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March 11, 1936 - September 13, 2018

John was born March 11, 1936 in Spillville, Iowa to Alvin and Sidonia Klimesh.  He graduated from the Shellrock High School in 1953.  Soon after, he joined the United States Navy and proudly served for a short time before being medically discharged.  Early places of employment included Klimesh Motors and Calmar Manufacturing in Calmar, Iowa. John was then self-employed as the owner of The Craft Shop in Spillville, selling homemade wood items, antiques, and Czech imports. On October 29, 1977 he was united in marriage to Mary Housker at Mabel First Lutheran Church in Mabel, followed by a memorable celebration and dance at the Inwood Ballroom in Spillville. For several years, John and Mary lived north of Decorah on a small, well-landscaped acreage. In most recent years, they moved to Decorah and opened Java John’s Coffee House where he established his reputation as “Java John.”

He had many interests and hobbies including model railroading, woodcarving, flying model airplanes, riding motorcycles, cars, playing cards, gardening, taking nature photos, and making cement flower pots. His hobbies were his way of connecting with people. He loved to share his model railroad with kids (nieces, nephews, cub scouts); he enjoyed countless hours with his flying buddies; he shared his art of cement projects by donating all proceeds to hospice; he carved, then distributed Christmas ornaments to family and friends for over 15 years; but most of all, he adorned the home he shared with Mary with his many beautiful works of art. John was loved and will be missed by those who had the opportunity to know him.

John died peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, September 13th at his home in Decorah at the age of 82.

John is survived by his wife, Mary, of Decorah; a brother Robert of Fort Atkinson; two sisters Anne Lynch of Houston, Minnesota, and Theresa Klimesh-Humphrey of Frankville, Iowa; a brother-in-law David Housker and his wife Connie of Hastings, Minnesota and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother James.

A celebration of John’s life will be at noon on Saturday, October 6 at John and Mary's old cabin, 3628 218th Ave., Decorah, Iowa 52101.  Burial will be in the Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemetery in Preston, Minnesota. Donations may be made in his name to the Home Health and Hospice of WMC or Winneshiek County Habitat for Humanity.


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