Soldotna resident John Arthur VanBlaricom died Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004, with his wife by his side at his home in Soldotna after a struggle with diabetes and kidney failure. He was 56.
A celebration of remembrance and potluck will be held in his honor from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Centennial Park Campground by the river. Military honors will be presented by the V.F.W. Post No. 10046 of Soldotna and the American Legion Post No. 20 of Kenai.
Mr. VanBlaricom was born Jan. 21, 1948, in Lansing, Mich. Prior to graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. While he was in the Army, he completed his high school education. During his 14 years in the Army, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and was a baker and cook.
Mr. VanBlaricom moved to Alaska in 1971, living at Fort Richardson until 1973. He later returned to Alaska, residing in the Kenai and Soldotna areas, in 1987. He worked at the Katmai Restaurant for five years in the early 1990s and then drove taxi for Alaska Cab until he was no longer able to work. He and his cab number and handle "34" both retired in 1996.
Mr. VanBlaricom loved his family and friends. He also enjoyed fishing, camping, hunting, traveling and shooting pool and the breeze.
"John is the most loving and caring husband I could have ever hoped for. He will be in my heart forever. I love you, Bear," his wife said.
"It is really hard for me to just pinpoint a couple of fond memories of my father! I was such a daddy's little girl, we did a lot of funny but yet weird things when we were together. I will never forget the weird faces, funny noises and funny out-of-the-blue things he would do to me! I will always love you daddy," his daughter said.
"The strongest memory that I have of my dad is the devotion he gave to his family, and for all that he taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing right," his son said.
Mr. VanBlaricom was preceded in death by his daughter, Rachel; his father, Wallace; grandmother, Mimi; grandfather, Arthur; his aunt, Pam; and uncle, Kenneth.
He is survived by his mother, Wanita Rasey of Munsing, Mich.; wife, Suzann C. VanBlaricom of Soldotna; his son, John P. VanBlaricom, of Soldotna; daughter, Eva J. VanBlaricom-LaFore of Sand Point, Idaho; grandsons, Jomar VanBlaricom of Homer and Jacob VanBlaricom of Vancouver, Wash.; granddaughters, Shelby VanBlaricom of Vancouver, and Erika and Erin LaFore, both of Sand Point; son-in-law, John LaFore of Sand Point; daughter-in-law, Lucinda VanBlaricom of Vancouver; and numerous other family and friends.
Memorial donations may be sent to the family at 188 Marydale, Soldotna, AK 99669.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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