John W. Gayan, 89, of Bessemer, died Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at Gogebic Medical Care Facility in Wakefield, surrounded by his loving family.
John was born Jan. 23, 1924, in Ironwood, son of the late Joseph and Annio (Kobinski) Gayan, and attended Ironwood schools and Luther L. Wright High School. He entered the U.S. Army on Feb. 15, 1943, serving as a combat infantryman in the Pacific Theater of Operations in the Northern Solomons and Luzon during World War II, receiving, among numerous medals and citations, the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster for being wounded in action in Bouganville on March 9, 1944. Following his honorable discharge as a technical sergeant on Dec. 22, 1945, he returned to Ironwood and worked in various jobs and was employed in resorts in Manitowish Waters, Wis. He then worked as a lineman for Lake Superior District Power Co. for a short time and was employed in the Peterson Mine until it closed in 1963. He retired at the age of 67 from Steiger's Home Center in Bessemer in 1991.
John was a life member of Bessemer Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673, a member of St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer, and former member of the Bessemer Elks Lodge. He loved gardening, and enjoyed fishing and hunting.
He was married to the former Margaret Tarnaski on Aug. 24, 1946, at St. Sebastian Catholic Church by the late Rev. Charles Swoboda. They then made their home in Bessemer. She preceded him in death on Feb. 16, 1986.
Surviving are two sons, Dennis, of Bessemer, and Thomas (Lee), Ironwood Township; two daughters, Christine (Jim) Barry, Lakeville, Minn., and Carolyn (Jeff) Pikka, Wakefield; seven grandchildren, Amy (Kirk) Golberg, Elko, Minn., Sara Bravatto, London, U.K., Erin (Al Johnson) Bravatto, Shanghai, China, Jason Bravatto, St. Paul, Minn., Wally Bowers III, Janesville, Wis., Marja-Liisa (Nathan) Niemela, Lindstrom, Minn., and Molly Pikka, Wakefield; four great-grandchildren, Riley and Hunter Golberg, Emma Niemela and Gabriel Bowers; and a brother-in-law, Stanley Servia, Bessemer.
Besides his parents and wife, John was preceded in death by two sons, John in infancy, and David; three brothers, Joseph, Leonard and Emil Gayan; and four sisters, Cecilia Dravland, Marie Carli, Ann Peterson and a sister in infancy.
Per John's wishes, cremation has taken place.
Memorial services will be held Monday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m., preceded by visitation at noon, at the McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, 305 N. Lowell St., in Ironwood, with the Rev. Michael Hayden officiating.
Rite of Committal will take place at the funeral home, where full military honors will be accorded by the combined Bessemer American Legion Post 27 and Bessemer VFW Post 3673 Honor Guard.
Luncheon will follow at the Iron Nugget in downtown Hurley, Wis.
Spring interment will be in Hillcrest Cemetery, Bessemer.
Condolences may be given to John's family online at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ironwood.