Lt. Col. John Charles Hawthorne, U.S. Air Force (ret.), age 86, died Sunday, November 7, 2021 in New Braunfels, Texas after a courageous battle with cancer. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Jo (Georg) Hawthorne (1940-2012) and his second wife, Darlene Villeneuve (Coleman) Hawthorne (1949-2021). He is survived by his nephews and nieces: James B. Hawthorne and wife, Melissa; John M. Hawthorne and wife, Kay; Joseph M. Hawthorne and wife, Wende; Laura J. Hawthorne; Ashley J. Hawthorne; Lisa Mueller and husband, Glenn; and, David Murphy. He is survived by his step-daughter Denise Lynn (Coleman) Parrish and her husband, Paul. He is also survived by numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
John’s service to his country was part of a family tradition. His father, Charles M. Hawthorne (1892-1969) was a veteran of the artillery branch of the U.S. Army in the A.E.F. in France in World War I. His brother, James M. Hawthorne (1933-2014) was a Captain Pilot in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. A 1957 graduate of Ohio State University, John served in the U.S. Air Force from 1957-1985, with over 20 years on active duty. Four of his grand-nieces and grand-nephews are current active U.S. military personnel. He was a past member of the Air Force Association.
John loved to shoot skeet, play golf, and walked 5-6 miles daily into his 80s. He supported upbring.org and was well-known for buying bicycles at Christmas for foster children in need. A lifelong Christian, he and Darlene were active members of Cross Lutheran Church where they attended regularly and were involved in the worship and other ministries of the congregation.
John also was a true gentleman who befriended people from all walks of life. Born in the Ohio farmhouse where he grew up, John kept his childhood friends all his life, and fondly told stories of hunting and fishing, the one-room school he attended through 8th grade, Saturday night barn dances, and Sunday church meetings. His Air Force postings took him from the Pentagon to Europe, Colorado, and Texas, and he made friends at every station with whom he kept in contact. He actively participated in the neighborhoods where he lived, helping build community among residents, and these friends were a great source of strength in turn during this last year. He will be remembered fondly, and he will be greatly missed.
Zoeller Funeral Home of New Braunfels is handling arrangements. A Celebration of Life for John Hawthorne will be held at Cross Lutheran Church on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 A.M. in the sanctuary, with prior visitation at 10:00 A.M. in the sanctuary. Burial will be at the Ft. Sam Houston Military Cemetery at a later date with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in John’s memory be made to upbring.org and Cross Lutheran Church.