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Roger John '63 January 6, 2021 4:13 PM updated: January 6, 2021 4:28 PM

Roger McKinley John
19 Nov 1941 – 19 Dec 2020

Roger McKinley John of Leander, Texas, passed away on 19 December 2020 at the age of 79 after a long battle with cancer.

Roger was born in San Diego, California on 19 November 1941, the only son of Frank and Estelle John. He and his older sister, Dorothy, were raised in Houston, Texas. Roger was a 1959 graduate from Stephen F. Austin High School, and a 1963 graduate of Texas A&M University.

While at Texas A&M, Roger was an active member of the Corps of Cadets, commanding the Fish Drill Team, Ross Volunteers, and the First Brigade. After completing his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in History, Roger was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and entered Active Duty at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served as a Paratrooper with the 101st Airborne (Airmobile) Division¬ at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Additionally, he served for 30 months in Vietnam as an Infantry Company Commander and as the Aide de Camp to the Division Commander. Between Vietnam assignments, Roger completed the Special Forces Qualification Course, a decision that sent his career in a different and exciting direction. Serving 28 years on active duty, Roger’s assignments took him and the family throughout the world, from Ft Carson Colorado, Bethlehem Pennsylvania, Ft Hood Texas to Stuttgart – Vaihingen Germany, Washington DC, and his final duty assignment as Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Roger retired from the United States Army in 1990 with the rank of Colonel.

Roger’s military awards are numerous and include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Bronze Star with Valor Device, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal (30), Air Medal with Valor Device, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachute Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Roger was the patriarch and shepherd of his family as a devoted husband and father, and he was also a true patriot, soldier, and Texas Aggie. He is survived by his loving wife Elise Wagenseil John, his sons Michael, David, and Robert, as well as seven beautiful grandchildren: Riley, Megan, Davianna, Ryan, Emma, Abigail, and Averi. In addition to his children and grandchildren, Roger was very close and provided significant influence to his nephews and niece from the Wagenseil family: Chris, Peter, Paul, Charles, Robert, and Kathryne. He would not want us to forget his 4-legged family of Diego and Catalina, who were so special to him.

Roger and Elise were outdoor enthusiasts who particularly loved to ski and sail. There were so many wonderful experiences during their 43-year marriage. The most memorable was the Pacific Ocean adventure on their sailing vessel Cutthroat, which took them from San Diego to Mexico to Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest before returning to San Diego five years later. Roger always believed in creating your own adventures and always encouraged the family to do the same. Life is a canvas upon which you can draw your destiny.

There will be a celebration of life later in the spring of 2021 where his ashes will be spread in the Gulf of Mexico in US waters near Galveston, Texas, as is the John Family tradition.


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