John Theodore Pelka
August 30, 1948 – September 1, 2021
It is with great sadness that we share the news that John Pelka passed away on the evening of Wednesday, September 1, two days after his 73rd birthday. After a year-long battle against MDS, a rare form of blood cancer, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his wife Chris, and two kids, Zach & Jennie.
John was loved by so many, including his many friends from years of living across the country from NJ to CA, and most recently his community in Solivita, FL - where he mastered the art of retirement as a five-day-a-week golfer and member of the Golf Club, President of the Fishing Club, Treasurer of the Wine Club, and a daily pool-float-snoozer. An avid home cook and entertainer, John was the inevitable champion of any chili competition he entered, and was always the first to get behind the grill at the Fishing Club’s Fish Fry. A dedicated Gator fan, he and Zach loved going to games together & celebrating the wins with big steaks and a glass of red wine. In support of Zach’s career, John dove headfirst into teaching the world about blockchain as “Crypto Geezer” on Twitter. As a lifelong learner, John was an unbeatable Jeopardy (home) champ and an insatiable reader.
A loving husband and father, John lived adventurously over 51 years with his wife, Chris, who he called “his angel,” and their kids Jennie & Zach, who he was tremendously proud of and always bragging about. A Jersey native, John loved his family and was extremely close with his parents John & Pat, and siblings, Debbie, Bruce, Kiki, and Cindy and his big extended family. John passed away on his mother-in-law, Grandma Sally’s birthday, and always looked forward to the Torley Family reunions. He loved his son-in-law Charles, and his sympetheri, Drew & Maria, as part of his own family.
A serial entrepreneur and successful executive over a 50+ year career, John was most recently the Co-Founder of a baseball card sales company with his son, and a decorative hardware company with his wife. He previously served as President of Belwith International, VP of Hickory Hardware, VP of FKI Logistex, and Operations Manager at Oscar-Meyer Foods. He earned an MBA from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and a BS in Engineering from the University of Toledo. His LinkedIn profile now reads the self-described title of “golfer, chef, singer, and happy husband and father.”
In his last few days with us, John enjoyed his birthday while listening to The Beatles, Bob Marley, and Jimmy Buffet, and video well-wishes from his close family. In classic John Pelka fashion, his last “meal” was a margarita while in the hospital.
In the words of John’s dear friend in his fishing club, “Memories of old fishing buddies never die, they just move on to a better fishing hole.” He will be moving on to his next adventure wearing a Hawaiian shirt & swim trunks, and we’re sure he’ll be the life of the party wherever he goes.
For anyone wishing to send a gift, John would love a donation to Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center in his name.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Monday, September 13, 2021
Monday, September 13, 2021