John Talpas, Jr., age 79, passed away on Friday, June 26, 2020, at his daughter's home in Austin, TX, with his daughter and his ex-wife at his side.
Services with full military honors will be held on November 10, 2020 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
John was born on January 1, 1941 in Springville, PA., to Garnetta Ismay Gregory and John George Talpas, Sr. In March 1962, John accepted Jesus as his personal Savior at a church in Berkeley, MO.
John enlisted in the United States Army on February 27, 1959 as a Private E-1 serving at Fort Dix, NJ; Fort Lee, VA; Fort Hood, TX, and Fort Bliss, TX. In 1960, he received his High School Diploma from Tunkhannock High School after successful completion of HS BRTY (GED) in the Army. In late 1960, John deployed with a Nuclear Air Defense Unit to the Republic of Korea on board the USS General Mann. During his tour in Korea, he was Second Chair Lead Guitar with the USS General Patrick's Potpourri Band. In early 1962, he returned from his tour in Korea on board the USS General Patrick with service decorations as a Marksman (missile), Expert (carbine), and Sharpshooter (rifle M-1). In March of the same year, John honorably discharged his enlistment with the US Army at Fort Ord, CA, as a PFC E-3. He returned to his hometown of Factoryville, PA.
On March 22, 1963, John married the love of his life, Sue Ann Baker, in Mehoopany, PA. In January 1964, John made the decision to re-enter the United States Army. The assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963 ignited a passion in him to serve his country. He was stationed in Kornwestheim, Germany and returned in 1966 with decorations as Expert (rifle M-14) and Basic Missile Man. From June 1969 to January 1971, John served at Long Binh Post, Vietnam. It was during this time that he received two Vietnam Service Medals-one with one Silver Service Star, two Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medals-one with 1960 device, three Overseas bars, four Good Conduct Medals, one Good Conduct Medal Clasp-Silver-1 Loop, two National Defense Service Medals, two Bronze Star Medals-one with Oak Leaf Cluster, a VC of GWP award, a Meritorious Service Medal, and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. He was also decorated as a Marksman (rifle). John retired from active duty in March 1981 after serving his country well. From late 1981 to late 1999, John served his country as a Civil Service Employee with the Apache Training Brigade and Combat Aviation Training Brigade, both at Fort Hood, TX. He received many Letters of Appreciation, Letters of Commendation, and Certificates of Achievement during these years. John also had a passion for music. Anyone who knew him knew that. He'd be "pickin' and grinnin' " whenever he could, and sometimes his military service and music would intersect for a short time.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and two granddaughters, Kristin Bell King-Harris and Kayla Mae King.
He is survived by his daughters, Lynnette King, Tammy Talpas; ex-wife, Sue Talpas; brothers, Joseph Talpas, Stephen Talpas; sister, Kimberly Ross; granddaughter, Kasey Jo King; great-grandson, Hagen Harris; great-granddaughter, Kaylee Harris; two nephews; two nieces; and four great-nieces.
In lieu of flowers/cards, the family requests memorials be made to their local food bank/pantry, domestic violence shelter, or non-profit charitable organization.