John died in Ocala, Fla., following a stroke. He was 85 years old. John was born in 1936 in Rushford, Minn., to Albert and Myrtle Jertson. John worked on the family farm in Norway Township and graduated from Rushford High School in 1954. John played in the school band and was on the football team. He was active in the school’s FFA Chapter, and the local 4-H Club.
In the fall of 1954 John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After basic training he attended an electronics education program at Keesler AFB. He spent the next four years in AF bases in Antigo, Wis., and Calumet, Mich., as an electronic radar technician. Following discharge in 1959, John worked as an electronics technician for RCA in Cherry Hill, N.J. RCA then transferred him to Boston, Mass., as an electronics failure data analyst. Later he was reassigned to the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System in Thule, Greenland, as a radar technician. When John returned to Boston in 1962, he married Jackie Wolons, a Boston native, who was a co-worker at RCA.
Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Mountain View, Calif., where John found work at the Sanford Linear Accelerator in Palo Alto. One year later John began a college career, first at Foothills Jr. College, followed by San Jose State University. He graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.
John and Jackie enjoyed the California lifestyle. They owned a sailboat and sailed the San Francisco Bay from the boat’s mooring in Redwood City. They visited California cities, the ocean, state and national parks, wine country, and they loved concerts and musical theater. They hiked and backpacked in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a special fondness for Yosemite Park, Kings Canyon, and Mt. Whitney. They visited Yosemite National Park 32 times.
John worked as a manufacturing engineer for TRW in Silicon Valley, San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Colorado Springs, Colo. He designed and built the couple’s homes in Atascadero, Calif., and Colorado Springs. After Colorado John worked for Siemens Industries in Duluth, Ga., Woodward Governor in Rockford, Ill., and Boston Scientific in Boston, Mass.
In 1999, John and Jackie retired and moved back to his hometown, Rushford, Minn. After suffering through a few Minnesota winters their final retirement home became Ocala, Fla. In Florida John became interested in building and flying large model airplanes and growing various beans and fruits hydroponically (always a farmer). He and Jackie also volunteered in the local United Way “Reading Pals” program. They spent several years helping kindergarten and elementary students improve their reading skills and hopefully helped them develop a life-long enjoyment of reading.
John is survived by his spouse Jackie, his sister-in-law Susan Jertson, a niece, and several cousins.