John OShant who passed away on Christmas Day this year is one of the last members of the family who were the fourth-generation residents of Hays and Ellis County.
John's great-grandfather on his father's side was David Rathbone, an early day attorney in Ellis County having served as county attorney in 1881. David Rathbone came to Ellis County in 1877. He is the father of Lonzetta, who married H.W. OShant, John's grandfather.
On his mother's side, he is the grandson of Ed Rea, the former law partner of E.C. Flood, whose daughter Margaret married Fred OShant, John's father.
The OShant family consisted of several members, mostly deceased. Rachel Ann Huffman, John's sister, lives in Saint Francis.
John graduated from Hays High in 1946. He was very instrumental in the establishment of the P.T. Air Service, owned by the late Don Pratt, and established a spraying operation in Ellis County and surrounding counties.
In 1949, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a fighter pilot, having been both engaged in the Korean War and the Vietnam war. He flew 30 missions in both of those countries during his service.
Upon retirement, he established a brokerage firm in Tucson, Ariz., and followed that profession until he became ill about seven years ago.
He had many friends in Ellis County and visited here periodically after he moved. During his service in the U.S. Air Force, he would fly across the country -- he would drop down and buzz Main Street in Hays, and we all knew John was in the area.
His father for many years ran the Army/Navy surplus store on Ninth Street.
His grandfather on his father's side H.W. OShant was an early day real estate developer in Hays and the surrounding areas.