John Peter Nasakaitis was born in Chicago IL, on Saturday, May 7, 1927, the third of five children to Lithuanian immigrants, Frank and Anna (Jankauskaite) Nasakaitis (now deceased). He was also preceded in death by his older brothers, Stanley Nasakaitis and Walter Nash; his granddaughter, Stephanie Haddock; son-in-law, William Haddock Jr., grandson-in-law, Richard Lybrand III.; wife, Alexandra Nasakaitis, and loving companion, Peg Wolforth.
Growing up in Chicago, his family spoke Lithuanian. His father was a laborer for the railroad. As a young boy in his childhood home on South California Avenue, John was excited when he learned English from his boyhood friends on the streets of Chicago. When he started grade school, he was surprised to learn he lived in a Polish neighborhood and what he thought was English, was really Polish. So English, became his third language, one of many languages to come.
John attended Kelly High School, completing two years and leaving school in 1944. He began his career in 1943, working 18 months for Illinois Zinc Company in Chicago. He joined the military on August 25, 1945, following his brother Stanley into the Army. He received Infantry Basic Training at Camp Roavets, California, training in heavy weapons, and for his service, he received a World War II Victory Medal. On his second enlistment in the Army, John served as Rifleman, assigned to Company A, 2nd Division, 23 Infantry Regiment, at Fort Lewis, Washington, and was Honorably Discharged from the Army on April 2, 1947.
Following a brief stint of civilian life, John reentered the military on July 24, 1950, when he joined the Air Force. While home on leave he went on a double date with his buddy, his buddy’s girlfriend, Pauline and her friend. When all was said and done, he wound up marrying Pauline C. Rossman in Chicago, January 1951 with whom he had five children. His first son, Bruce was born in Chicago in 1952; then a daughter, Debbie in 1953 while stationed at Parks Air Force Base in California where John worked in electronics engineering.
After leaving the military in September of 1953 and working as a bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority his son, Mike was born in 1954. He again reentered the military in 1956, which carried him to many countries, with his daughter Cindy being born while stationed at Misawa Air Base in Japan and youngest daughter, Polly born while at Châteauroux Air Force Base in France, where he was assigned to 2058th Radio Relay Squadron. The family also traveled to Germany during this time.
During his enlistment in the service, and while living in Biloxi, Mississippi, John attended Math and Education classes from February 1965 to June 1967 through the University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS.
John served his country during the Vietnam War and received an Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service while assigned to 1880 Communications Squadron, Republic of Vietnam from July 15, 1968 to May 15, 1969.
John retired from the Air Force on January 31, 1972, with the rank of Tech Sergeant. In February 1972, John met Alexandra Pampouki in Thessalonika, Greece. When they met, John didn’t speak Greek and Alexandra didn’t speak English. With the help of a patient friend their friendship turned into love and she became his second wife. John worked in Greece and Turkey, teaching technical radio operations and maintenance to foreign militaries. Upon returning to the US, he began a career with the US Postal Service in Chicago in 1974, performing maintenance on state of the art mail processing equipment. He retired from his Civil Service position in 1983. He was widowed while living in Greece in 1992.
Following Alexandra’s death, he returned to his hometown of Chicago where, in 1999 he met and shared his life with Alice (Peg) Wolforth until her death in December of 2014. In February of 2015, John’s daughter Cindy moved him to live close to her in Nashville, TN, where he lived out his final days.
John was very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, being a Lifetime Member. He was a longtime member of VFW Post 177 in Chicago and Chicago Ridge, serving several years as a member and officer of the post. John’s grandson, Patrick still took him to VFW meetings at his new post in Nashville each month.
John was fondly called Uncle John by many who loved him and was known for his intelligent wit. John enjoyed popcorn and pretzels, the occasional dish of ice cream and loved grilled onions. In the last year he cherished the Sunday afternoons when his three young great granddaughters came to visit after church. He always had packs of Oreos cookies and the coupons from the Sunday paper for his granddaughter, Gwyn.
He and those close to him spent countless hours playing a Greek card game called Biriba. He lived in so many countries and learned to speak the language no matter where he lived. Up until his death, he took every opportunity to practice those different languages with anyone he could, oftentimes answering simple questions with phrases from some faraway land.
John passed from this world on Friday, April 29, 2016, in the loving care of his daughter Cindy, son-in-law Robert and granddaughter, Gwyn. They will forever be grateful for having the opportunity to care for him is his final days.
John is survived by his children, Bruce John (Crystal) Kent (Gulfport, MS), Debbie (Rich) Buckles (Crestview, FL), Mike (Maria) Nasakaitis (Biloxi, MS), Cindy (Robert) Foree (Kingston Springs, TN) and Pauline Williams (Tyler, TX); 10 grandchildren, Tracey (Brian) Quinn (Milton, GA), Kelly Lybrand (Loganville, GA), Kylene (David) Taylor (Gulfport, MS), Jennifer Redner (Milan, TN), Aprille Haddock (Milan, TN), Michael (Jenni) Nasakaitis (North Biloxi, MS), Tiffany (Mike) Donoian (Biloxi, MS), Gwyn (Justin) Winstead (White Bluff, TN), Patrick (Allison) Foree (Nashville, TN), and Chris J. Williams (Tyler, TX); 20 great-grandchildren, Brooke and Carter Quinn, Madison Lybrand, Lukas and Samuel Taylor, Michael, Tyler, Trent, Travis and Tara Nasakaitis, Kamryn and Kandice Donoian, Tyler and Kaylen Redner, Destiny and Austin Edwards, Catie, Maddie and Lillie Winstead, and Griffin Foree; his brother, Frank Nasakaitis (Horseheads, NY), sister, Ann Butler (Chicago, IL), his very special great-niece, Tammy DeBella (Akeley, MN) and many loving and caring nieces and nephews.
John is being cremated and his family will gather to celebrate his life on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at The Pavilion at Harpeth in Nashville, TN. Arrangements entrusted to West Harpeth Funeral Home & Crematory, Nashville, TN.