John R. Dear, Nov 5 1917 - Apr 3, 2019  101 years of age

John Dear was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1917, one of two sons to Dr. Elmer and Mildred Dear.

He attended school in Erie, where he was discovered by, and became a favorite model of, Eugene Iverd, a renowned artist whose work, along with that of Norman Rockwell, appeared on many covers of The Saturday Evening Post, including several featuring the young John Dear.

After high school, he attended medical school until the advent of  WWII, which prompted him to join the Army Air Force where he enlisted in flight training school. During the war he trained pilots to fly various aircraft and later became a pilot in the Berlin Air Lift.  Throughout his distinguished military career, he was stationed at numerous air bases around the world, from Japan to Libya to Germany, to California, North Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, Washington D.C., etc. He retired as a Lt. Colonel  in 1972.

John was first married to Jane MacDonald, giving birth to one child, Robert Allen Dear. He later married Juanita Eaton, with whom he had three children—John, Elizabeth, and David.  He then married Gisela Bettmer—they had two children together, Monica and Michael. After the death of Gisela, he met and married Mildred Schlachter with whom he lived in north central Florida until her passing.

Preceded in death by his parents, his brother William, his wives, Jane, Juanita, Gisela, and Mildred, as well as his first son, Robert Allen, and his nephew William E. Dear, John is survived by his 5 children, 5 grandchildren, Ramona, Jeremy, Kyle, Cody and Joey, and a niece, Carolyn.

John lived an active life of both work and travel into his waning years and took pride to his dying day in his service to his country, in his flying career, and in his families. He was one of the last of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation." He will be missed by all who loved and admired him for his fortitude, tenacity, and patriotism. 

Tributes are short messages commemorating John, or an expression of support to his closest family and friends. Leave your first tribute here, and others will follow.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Recent stories