Funny River resident John F. McFarland died Friday, May 24, 2002, at Central Peninsula General Hospital of natural causes after a relentless struggle with Alzheimer's. He was 90.
A memorial service celebration will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the VFW
Post No. 10046, 134 Birch St., in Soldotna. Rev. Alan Humphries of the Church of God will co-officiate with Ben Holly. An honor guard will be furnished by the VFW. A celebration of life and reception will follow at the same location.
Mr. McFarland was born Sept. 4, 1911, in Ingels, Ind., the youngest of 14 siblings.
Due to various family hardships, he spent most of his younger years in an orphanage. At the age of 15, he "left" of his own accord and ventured to Colorado where he worked at ranching. He was soon swept off his feet by a Colorado girl named Aletha Ault. They were married in 1938.
Mr. McFarland's dream of Alaska became a reality when be and his brother-in-law, Ed Law, left Colorado and traveled the new Alaska Highway in 1947. Arriving at Anchorage they soon chartered a floatplane for Skilak Lake on the Kenai Peninsula. They walked to "Naptowne" (Sterling) where they both staked out their homesteads. They returned with their families and raised their three children, Lee, Velma and John.
Mr. McFarland and his wife, Aletha, moved to Funny River in 1968 where he has maintained his residency to date.
Mr. McFarland served his country overseas in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
He worked various construction projects and surveyed with Stan McLane on the Kenai Peninsula. He was a member of the Laborers Union, VFW and AM-Vets.
He was better known as "PaPa John," and for his kindness, helping others and for his love of dancing.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Aletha, and grandson, Dwayne McFarland.
Mr. McFarland is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Lee and Myla McFarland of Soldotna; his daughter and son-in-law, Velma and Jerry Holly of Soldotna ; son, John McFarland of Soldotna; nine grandchildren, including Marquitta, Vince, Sandon, Josh, Kristie, Ben, Arlyann and Shawn; 13 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to a children's organization of their choice.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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