John Arthur Ames

December 2, 1930March 27, 2013

John Arthur Ames was born in Santa Barbara, CA on December 2, 1930, the second son of Albert Ames Sr. and Frances Ames. When he was 18 months of age he contracted whooping cough and from the resulting fever he became deaf. In October of 1937 his parents enrolled him in the California School for the Deaf at Berkeley, CA and he graduated in 1951. It was a residential school and he spent the school year in Berkeley and his summers at home with his family in Santa Barbara. He had many wonderful stories of his formative experiences there, including being able to watch the shootout in the famed Battle of Alcatraz from the 3rd floor of the boys' dorm as well as playing the lead role in CSD's production of Hamlet in 1950. After graduating in 1951 he worked 3 months in the shoe shop at Camp Roberts, and then moved to Southern California to find work in the Aerospace industry. In 1956 he married Charis V. Sand in Santa Barbara. They had two sons, Dennis John Ames and Mark Arthur Ames. The family lived in Canoga Park, CA from 1956 to 1971.

In his career as a tube bender for Rockwell he was actively involved in the Gemini and Apollo missions and worked on the F-1 and J2 engines, and also inside the Apollo capsules. Later in his career he also worked on the Space Shuttle program. It was during the interval between the end of the U.S.’ Moon missions and the beginning of the Space Shuttle program that he embarked on his greatest adventure. Having learned of a frontier area in southern Brazil that had no schools for the deaf, John and Charis moved their family to Brazil in 1971 and with the help of Charis' parents they founded a school for deaf children in Umuarama, Parana, Brazil. It was the most rewarding and challenging time of their lives and they saw and did things that they had never imagined doing before. They had a profound impact on the widespread deaf community, bringing sign language education to children who had virtually no communication. The love and connection they still have with their many friends there are a witness to the lives they touched. In 1979 John returned to his career at Rockwell. He retired in 1990 so that he and Charis could move back to his home town of Santa Barbara to care for his ailing mother. After she passed away they continued their retirement where John was born. In April of 2012 they moved to Placerville, CA to be near their sons Dennis (in Carmichael), and Mark (in Placerville), and their grandkids and great-grandkids. John suffered a massive stroke on March 25th and passed away on March 27th. He was preceded in death by his father and mother and his brother Albert Ames, Jr. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons and daughters-in-law, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He died trusting in Jesus, his Savior, and his family looks forward to seeing him again in heaven.


  • Celebration of Life Sunday, April 28, 2013
  • Celebration of Life Saturday, May 11, 2013

John Arthur Ames

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Joyce Ingraham

June 21, 2013

Dear Charis and sons,
Losing one's husband/father causes a loneliness unlike any other, but having your family near helps you ease the difficulty during your grief.
Knowing your fortitude and courage, I'm sure you're adjusting to your new life without John. I know you're so grateful for the many happy years you shared with him, like I am for them with my beloved Don. Do take care with love and hugs.

Nenny Viehweger

April 16, 2013

I remember when Uncle John arrived in Brasil and was not prepared for the blasting cold weather, and got worse when we went to our neighbors home and they all had wooden windows wide open for fresh ar :) I also enjoyed much all the good rides on his Suzuki he took to the farm from the US, But most of all it always maizes me how Uncle John and Aunt Charis just left USA and embraced their life in helping others in Brasil that were totally forgotten as if they had no life to live. Well Uncle John and Aunt Charis got there and changed that concept by giving them hope in learning Sing Language. And that in Portuguese a forage language for them. I will never forget their doings. I love them and Uncle John will truly be missed. Nenny

Christine Driggers

April 8, 2013

Words can not express the effect you and John have had on my life. John had a rough demeanor, but a very tender heart. He cared for people, deaf or hearing and had such a commitment to sharing his faith in Christ. He never forgot to ask me how my health was, when we saw each other, he was always patient with my crude attempts at ASL and corrected me with a smile. Charis, I love you both so much. My life is enriched by our friendship and I know that some day I will see John again. Bejos & abracos.

Mary Jackson

April 5, 2013

You will always live in our hearts and prayers.

Bev Jean Charles

April 5, 2013

I cherish my memories of living in Santa Barbara for 5 years. My dad went school with John. I never forget for what John had shared his experiences, amazing stories about his life with motorcycle trips, old friends of his & my dad, my old school where John & my dad attended, preach me about Jesus, taught me many things about life, men, etc. He always made me laugh at his jokes. We talked about my Harley trips. He got excited every time I rode to their house, parked my Harley next to their bedroom window, revved up engine louder for him to hear, feel & enjoyed the sounds of Harley. His eyes lighted up when I told him where I rode from. He was like godfather to my kid, Zane. I left him with John & Charis often. Zane played with their dogs. We visited them almost every other day. We ate, pray, talk, watch TV, doing yard work, picked guava from tree & made jams. When John & Charis left for vacations, I watched their home, took care of dogs & always enjoyed their warm cozy home. When I spill & broke a leg, they were there for me whole time. When I need anything, they were there for me & my kid, Zane. They disciplined my kid wonderful. They gave me a bible for my 40th birthday. I learned alot more about Jesus from them. I found out i got bad allergy to my cat. They were willing to take care of my orange tomcat, Sunshine meow. I truly love my godparents, John & Charis. John is extremely missed by me, my son, Zane, my dad, Melvyn Arthur Charles, Sr. & many others. John is the best BikerGuy ever from the old days. I will always cherish old photos of him that he gave me, John is within my heart, even he has gone to Heaven. We will meet again. I am so gratefully blessed to know John since 1996 & love him dearly as my christian biker brother.

Bobby Skedsmo

April 4, 2013

I was deeply saddened to hear of John's passing. John was a fine man and a significant influence for good in others' lives. I will miss him a great deal. I remember the highlight of life with him was to travel with him on the motorcycle to Mexico City and Acapulco via Baja California. Great companionship!

April 4, 2013

Mark, Dennis, Charis,
Darlene and I were so sorry to hear about John and we send you our prayers, thoughts, and love. We have been fortunate to have been able to spend time with John & Charis over the last dozen years, or so, on an annual basis (or every other year) even though we lived far apart. Your dad was such fun to visit with and we had no problem communicating. He was always upbeat and had some stories to tell us. May God comfort you in your loss and we can be thankful that he is now with the Lord for eternity.
John & Darlene Sand

Ellen Frew

April 4, 2013

I could just sit and gaze at John's smile for hours. How lucky we all are to have known him, however briefly... I would love to go to Brazil someday and do a labor of love in John's memory, and in honor of our King. Wish I could reach through the miles and hug you, Charis... My love and prayers are with you... Ellen

Sue Ripka

April 4, 2013

Mark & family your father was a wonderful caring man who touched many lives! I wish I would had the chance to meet him! I will on day when I get to heaven! Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers during this time of grief.
The Ripka's

Dan Tvedt

April 3, 2013

What a great Obit. I like the last part best!!!