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John William Oshant

Published on -1/6/2013, 5:50 PM

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John William Oshant, Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force Retired, 84, passed away December 25, 2012, in Tucson, Arizona. His daughters were by his side for his "final flight." John was born on November 2, 1928, in Hays, Kansas to Margaret (Rea) Oshant and Fred Oshant Sr.

John is survived by his daughters, Liz Oshant of San Diego, California, and Patricia (Trica) Ann Oshant Hawkins of Tucson, Arizona, and his granddaughter, Casey Claire Hawkins, also of Tucson. Also surviving are his sister, Rachel (Oshant) Huffman, of St. Francis, Kansas, and his former wife Esther Oshant, of Gilbert, Arizona.

Preceding John in death were his sisters, Margaret Oshant Isbell (Clarence) and Hazel (Oshant) Taxacher and his brothers and their wives, Fred (Jim) Oshant Jr. and his wife, Betty, and Henry Edwin (Hank) O'Shant and his wife, Evelyn.

John was passionate about airplanes and flying and received his pilot's license after soloing on his 16th birthday. He worked at the Ellis County (PT) Airport and sprayed crops around Hays, Kansas, until joining the United States Air Force in 1949. John had his jet pilot training at Williams A.F.B. in Arizona before traveling the world during his Air Force career. He was stationed in Germany, the Philippines Islands, and Bangkok, Thailand, had temporary duty in Vietnam, and was a veteran of the Korean War. One of his hometown flying legacies was his way of announcing his arrival by buzzing the field -- friends and family knew John was back in town.

John retired from the Air Force after 20 years of duty and began a new career as a financial advisor for USPA. His love of flying never waned, so he continued to give flying lessons through the Aero Club at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson and was active in building and flying ultralight and experimental aircraft.

John spent many summers in Hamilton, Montana, at his brother, Hank's, hanger. Together, the brothers started a small business, Aircraft Ultralight, building, selling and offering flight instruction for ultralight planes. During one of his adventures, John flew his Kasperwing ultralight down the west coast in a quest to fly from Washington to Mexico.

When John was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he had to give up his flying but continued to build and fly model airplanes. He also kept active playing golf, sailing and gardening. John became very active and adept on the computer and compiled a series of "episodes" documenting his love and life of flying. He included photos, movie clips and music to share his legacy -- a story his family and friends continue to view and cherish.

The family wishes to thank the owners and staff of Catalina Foothills Adult Care Home and Casa de la Luz Hospice for their loving care of John. Memorial services will be held in the spring, details forthcoming. At John's request, his ashes are to be scattered over the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson. Condolences may be left for John's family at Angel Valley Funeral Home, 2545 N. Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716 or emailed to oshantfamily@gmail.com.

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