A career educator, John Leo McEachern passed away surrounded by his family at his home in Newton on April 28.
Born July 24, 1937, his early education was in a one-room schoolhouse in Drury, Kan. His family subsequently moved to Caldwell where he graduated from high school in 1955. In 1957, he graduated from Garden City Community College where he played football on a scholarship and earned his associate of arts degree in education. In 1960, he graduated with a bachelor of science in education from Wichita State University. He received his Master of Science degree in education from Pittsburg State University in 1963.
For 37 years, he taught industrial arts in the Wichita Public Schools, the majority of that time at West High School. He was a mentor to many of the students whose lives he touched. He was devoted to his students and their success. With a grant he secured in the early 1970s, McEachern launched a summer program devoted to underprivileged students whose assignment was painting their family homes.
McEachern enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, construction, gardening, traveling and spending winters in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. His family ranked as his number one priority and he focused on teaching his offspring key life long lessons and instilling in them a strong work ethic. McEachern never met a stranger and was well liked by those who knew him. He was known as a jokester and a devoted storyteller.
Though he and his wife of 62 years have resided in Newton for the past four years, they previously lived in Andover for 50 years. While there, he served as a member of the Andover City Council and its Planning Board for several years.
The youngest of 13 children, he was preceded in death by his parents, Malcom and Olive Gee MeEachern of Caldwell, seven brothers and two sisters.
He is survived by his wife, Martha; three children, Melinda (Steve) Walker and Tracy (Clay) McEwen of Andover, and Dr. John (Jackie) McEachern of Newton; 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
He is also survived by three sisters, Jean Reeves, Colbran, Co.; Elsie Joan Wilder,
Wichita; and Ethel Sparks, Caldwell.
A graveside service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton, May 2, and will be limited to family only, given current social distancing restrictions. A Celebration of Life will occur at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Newton Medical Center, 600 Medical Center Drive, Newton, Kan. 67114 or Petersen Funeral Home.