John Paul Kowceun passed away at home Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 after a short battle with brain cancer. He was 69.
John was born July 9, 1948 in Mankato, Minn. to Nick and Esther (Hippauf) Kowceun. He grew up in Mankato and graduated from Mankato High School.
John was drafted into the army in 1968. After basic training he went to Germany for a year and a half as a tank mechanic before being honorably discharged in 1970.
John had many jobs over his lifetime. From shining shoes as a youngster to working in a foundry, hot mop roofing, concrete work, plumbing, and working in a cannery in Alaska. He found his true passion in construction. He and his friend (late) John Wasson had their own construction company and he worked for the Nez Perce Tribe for a time building and remodeling tribal housing. He received an award for project of the year on one of the houses he remodeled. John went to work for the Forest Service on the road crew. He loved that job. He would say, “How could you not love it? I get to work on a postcard every day!”
John came to Kamiah in May 1977 and knew he found his forever home. He loved the mountains and we spent as much time as possible exploring them. Many hours were spent around a campfire drinking beer and telling lies with family and friends. He missed the fishing of Minnesota but the mountains were his home.
John was an active member of the Kamiah Jaycees. He received many awards for his efforts of which he was very proud of.
John married Christine Larsen in 1978. They had two children. That marriage ended in divorce. He met the love of his life in 1987 and he and Earleen were inseparable. They married in April 1993.
John loved hunting, fishing, camping, mushroom hunting, and huckleberry picking. He was an avid bowler, bowling on many leagues over the years. He was a Seahawks fan but the Minnesota Vikings were his true love. He loved spending time with family and friends. His grandchildren were his pride and joy.
John is survived by his wife Earleen at their Kamiah home; his daughters Anna (Dallan) Rupp of New Plymouth, Idaho and Mariah (Scott) Marino of Malta, Mont.; son, Aaron Harris of Minnesota; his grandchildren Kaitlin, Kerissa, Kendra and Kassie Rupp, Silo and Scarlett Marino, and Tyler Portratz; his brother Nick (Carolyn) Kowceun of Mankato, Minn.; his sister Jeanne (Jim) Shanahan of Raleigh, N.C.; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many close friends.
A memorial service will be held on Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. at Trenary Funeral Home in Kooskia with a potluck dinner to follow at the IOOF Hall. John’s wish was that no one would sit around crying over him. He wanted people to be happy and have a few drinks to honor him so there will be a wake at the Selway Bar in Kooskia following the dinner. Bring your favorite stories and have a drink on him.