John Leroy Bixby of Marshfield, WI passed away on February 1, 2019 in Waupaca, WI at the age of 88. He was living at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King for the last 5 months of his life due to declining health, and before that, many years in Marshfield, WI.
He was born to Frances A Bixby and Martha Colwell on August 2, 1930 in Muscatine, IA. John was married and divorced 2 times. First wife was Donna Mae Dodson, with whom he adopted and helped raise her 4 children then they had a child together, Leronna Bixby, his only child. His second wife was Emily Wheelock. Both ex-wives have passed away.
John is survived by his only Daughter, Leronna (Bixby) Farley and her husband, Dave; their 3 children, David, Sarah and Matthew, his great grandchildren, Taylor, Jordyn, Tobias and Bailey Farley, and his great great grandson, Stetson Leroy Randall. John served as a tank driver in Army’s 2nd Division in the Korean War. He served actively in the war for 30 days.
He was drafted September 26, 1951 and was honorably discharged June 25, 1953. He was very proud of his service and the service of other members. He was so moved, that in his later years he designed 3 huge barn quilts, 2 he hand painted, and the one on the silo was printed by the Stratford Sign Company. They are displayed on the Bernard Schuld farm, just south of Marshfield on Hwy 10. In October 2013, John was selected to go on the Honor Flight to Washington DC, along with other Korean Vets from Wisconsin, to be honored for their service.
John always wanted to be a farmer. He worked a dairy farm in Lynn, WI and a pig farm in Ainsworth, IA. When that didn’t pan out, he worked at Preway in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. He also raised rabbits to sell for meat and manure. John also started his own business in Sparta, WI, selling tropical fish. He called it, Bixby’s World of Tropical Fish. It was a family run business. He designed corner aquariums and built all the cabinets in the shop with the same scalloped design. This is probably when he got the woodworking bug.
He was quite the artist. He designed his own patterns for yard art then meticulously picked out the perfect piece of wood, then proceeded to cut it out. He was a perfectionist when it came to details. When he made his butterflies, he purchased books to paint the butterflies accurately. Did you know that the underside of the butterfly is not the same as the top? It isn’t. John’s yard art is all over Wisconsin and Iowa.
He designed and made mangers, all different sizes. Then he’d scour yard sales and St Vincent De Paul for the figures to go in the mangers. His other passion was playing cards. He taught his daughters’ family Dummy Rummy and every time Grandpa came over, that’s what they played together. He also played Sheepshead and Euchre.
When his brothers and sisters were alive, they would have card games until dawn. They’d whoop and holler and swear the other was cheating, but it was all in good fun. They are probably having the best card games ever now that they are all together again. They were just waiting on John to get there. Loved and missed by all he touched, but especially by his family.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Rembs Funeral Home, Marshfield with Reverend Samuel Martin officiating. Burial will follow at York Center Cemetery in Granton, Wisconsin. A visitation will be held from 10:00 am until service time on Saturday at the funeral home.
Condolences may be sent online at www.rembsfh.com