OBITUARY

John Chauncey Wortendyke

April 28, 1935May 6, 2021
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John Wortendyke died peacefully in his sleep on May 6, 2021, just one week after he celebrated his 86th birthday. He was the best of men…a selfless and truly honorable and committed husband, a dedicated and devoted father, and a revered, beloved, and kind grandfather. He will first and foremost be remembered as a generous man who put his family first, without question.

John entered this world on April 28, 1935, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the third of four children born to Rynier and Agnes Wortendyke. He was preceded in death by his older siblings, Rynier (Ron) Wortendyke, Jr. and Joann Sgaglione; his sister, Mary (Midge) Barnes survives him.

His life was distinguished by military and civilian service, pursuit of higher education, and community volunteerism. Those who knew and loved him will remember him for his love of history, literature, and genealogy research, as he enjoyed exploring historical family connections from his combined Irish and Dutch heritage, establishing a link to some of the earliest settlers in this country from the Dutch arm of his family back to the 1630’s in New Amsterdam.

John was a rare “mustang”, enlisting with the United States Navy as a corpsman at 17 years old, and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. As a young sailor, he served his country on land and sea during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. His service on the high seas consisted of sailing extensively on the USS Bennington, (Big Ben) with the 7th Fleet in Asiatic waters, the USNS General R.M. Blatchford (Ambassador Ship) in support of the United Nations deployment of international forces to the Congo in 1961 and finally with the USNS General Alexander M. Patch, a troop transport ship.

Besides being deployed on various Naval ships, he was attached to the United States Medical Service Corps on both Navy and Marine bases. During one such assignment, while in New York, he met his wife, Daphne Grant Johnston of Dublin, Ireland one night at a ship’s party. Being half Irish, he was charmed. He introduced her to the sights of the city, proposed to her on their second date at the top of the Empire State Building, and she became his wife of 61 years.

He continued to work in the Navy Medical Corps while advancing his career. He became an officer in 1965 and was transferred to Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California for several years during the height of the Vietnam War. In 1969, he returned to the East Coast where he attended George Washington University earning his first of three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration.

His final duty station was at the U.S. Naval Hospital on the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia where he retired from service in 1975. He then moved his family to Pensacola, Florida where he pursued two more graduate degrees: a Master of Theology and a Master of Public Administration.

Even after retirement, he never ceased giving his time and effort toward improving his community, as demonstrated by contributing on a team working to establish the original certification for the Escambia County Mental Health Clinic (Lakeview Center). He also worked in prison ministry and as warden of the Escambia County Jail.

Later, he had a second career as a probation officer in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, finally retiring again from private duty after 10 years of service.

He and his wife, Daphne, enjoyed exploring the country in their RV, visiting their children and grandchildren, and taking in the majestic beauty of the many national and state parks they frequented.

When advanced years made RV life a challenge, he returned to Pensacola but still managed to find time to continue his volunteerism by helping inmates pass the GED, and worked part-time as a substitute school teacher for the Escambia County School District.

John was a history aficionado and could easily identify battle strategies, military leadership on either side, and other historical details from just about any U.S. battle, conflict, or war. You name it…he knew it, and loved discussing and conveying this information to all who would listen. He had a wealth of knowledge and one couldn’t help but listen intently for hours to his historical storytelling.

He loved watching westerns and war movies, from John Wayne and Audie Murphy to James Arness. The classics were always on and up for discussion as well.

He was a proud member of the American Legion post 240 and the Warrington Elks Lodge and well-liked by all, often buying a round for the house when he arrived. His last outing was on his 86th birthday at the American Legion post 240 just one week before he passed.

More than anything else, John loved his family and was proud of all his children and grandchildren and their many accomplishments. To say he will be missed is an understatement. He is survived by his wife, Daphne Wortendyke; his children: Stephen (Rachel), Deirdre, Colleen (Lloyd), and Douglas (Aimee); his 10 grandchildren: Erin, Sarah, Haley Marie, Joel, Luke, Connor, Savannah, Dena, Lila, and Ari; and a great grand-daughter, Emma, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and many others whose life he has touched with his gentle and benevolent demeanor.

A service in his honor will be held on May 20, 2021 at Oak Lawn Funeral Home at 619 New Warrington Road, Pensacola, Florida, with visitation in the reception room between 12:30 – 1:30, memorial service beginning at 1:30 p.m., and a procession to Barrancas National Cemetery immediately following, where his ashes will be inurned at 2:30 p.m.

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, May 20, 2021

  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, May 20, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, May 20, 2021

Memories

John Chauncey Wortendyke

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Timothy John Barnes

May 20, 2021

Uncle John was a loving Uncle. Always made time to come to NY to visit us. He would talk to us and never judged. He always had words of encouragement and guidance. He is missed and will not be forgotten. A true good man.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Deirdre on his last birthday outing. April 28 at the American Legion Post 240.

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Mom during Camp Pendleton 1967.

FROM THE FAMILY

With Grandma, Tia, Ron, and Michelle

FROM THE FAMILY

South Carolina with Gran from Ireland

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad’s commissioning with Steve’s camera issues.

FROM THE FAMILY

Washington DC visit

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Steve

FROM THE FAMILY

In New York City

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Deirdre on his last birthday outing. April 28 at the American Legion Post 240.

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Mom during Camp Pendleton 1967.

FROM THE FAMILY

With Grandma, Tia, Ron, and Michelle

FROM THE FAMILY

South Carolina with Gran from Ireland

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad’s commissioning with Steve’s camera issues.

FROM THE FAMILY

Washington DC visit

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad and Steve

FROM THE FAMILY

In New York City

FROM THE FAMILY

Brand New kid