John “Johnny” George Esterly passed away Saturday January 28 in Rathdrum, ID. at the age of 95. He drank a root beer float, sat in his easy chair, and went to sleep.
John was born on August 1, 1916 in Johnstown, PA, to A.J. and Anna Esterly. The family moved to CA. in 1920, settling first in Victorville, then moving to the home they built on Adams St. in Glendale. John and his siblings attended schools in Glendale and John graduated from Glendale High School in 1934. John met the love of his life, Betty Arlene Headley, on his birthday in 1940, and they were married in Las Vegas on Oct. 20, 1940. They were married 54 years at the time of Betty’s passing in 1994. Their first home was a small cabin on Alpha Rd. in Glendale, where their first son, John Leo (Jack) was born. Jobs were scarce during the war, and they moved to Illinois to work on Betty’s family farm, where Lynne Janice was born. Moving back to Burbank, David Richard and Brian Douglas were born. With a growing family, they moved to Viro Rd. in La Canada, where Anna Louise (Lucy) was born. In 1956, they moved to the big house on Castle Rd, and raised the family of 5 there.
John tried out various careers, settling into the printing business as a photo engraver in L.A. He was a founding member of the Glendale Junior Chamber of Commerce, “the JayCee’s”. In 1947, John organized “Glendale on Parade”, the next year a carnival was added, and “Days of the Verdugo’s” celebration was born. In 1991 John was honored to ride in the “Days of the Verdugo’s” parade as a founder.
In 1975, John fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a business owner. Moving to Show Low, AZ., they owned and operated “Deuce O’Clubs Liquor” for many years together. When they decided to close the store, he worked at Yellow Front until retiring.
John relocated to Spirit Lake, ID. in 1999, to be close to his son, David and his family. He helped out in Dave’s hardware store for several years and became quite a fixture in the little town, donating his time to many organizations. In 2006 he moved to Generations Assisted Living in Rathdrum .
John was a hard-working, big-hearted man who loved his family and loved making people smile with his jokes and comments.
John is survived by two sisters, Helen Felice Longway of Grass Valley, and Mary Katherine Atkinson of Camino, CA; children John (Jack) Esterly and Barbara of Alliance, OH.; Lynne Jones of Show Low, AZ.; David Esterly and Peggy of Spirit Lake, ID.; Brian Esterly and Cathy of Albuquerque, NM; and Lucy Esterly of Glendale.; 7 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held February 10th at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills.