John P. Kern passed away Sunday, June 23, 2019, he was 97 years old. He leaves behind his wife of 76 years, A. Eileen Kern (nee Greenler); son, Keith (Bonnie); daughter, Karen (Richard "Rick") and granddaughter, Jennifer (Robert "Bobby").
After graduating from high school, John Kern left his hometown on June 6, 1941, to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Basic training was completed while stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina. Promotion to rifle coach of the Parris Island recruit depot followed. From there he went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in February 1943. Then, he voluntarily enrolled in parachute training school. In December 1943, he went to fight with the Parachute Battalion on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific. Then combat in the Saipan-Tinian Island operation and the Okinawa Island campaign followed. He served as platoon leader in charge of 45 men in both battles. He received one of the highest medals of the Marine Corps, the Bronze Star with Combat "V" for bravery at Okinawa. The citation for bravery from the Secretary of the Navy on behalf of the President of the United States read: "For heroic achievement as a Platoon Leader...in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa...June 20, 1945. While leading his platoon against strongly held enemy positions, First Lieutenant Kern was forced to move his men clear of the area when they were taken under a concentration of heavy artillery fire. Repeatedly exposing himself to hostile fire during the movement, he administered first aid to the wounded and assisted in their evacuation, although suffering painful wounds himself. His outstanding courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United Stated Naval Service." He also received two Purple Hearts for wounds during the Tinian and Okinawa battles, and three Presidential Unit Citations.
After the war, John enrolled at The Ohio State University and graduated from the School of Pharmacy with a BS degree in three years. However, he was recalled to serve for 18 months of active duty during the Korean War. Upon return home he was promoted to Commanding Officer of the re-activated Marine Corps Reserve unit in Cleveland. He retired from his post as Lieutenant Colonel in 1964 after 23 years of distinguished military service. After returning again to civilian life, he took a position with Gray Drug Stores. He was promoted to a management position in charge of pharmacy operations after working for a short while as a pharmacist. He left Gray's in 1969 to direct Revco Drug Stores' Prescription Services Department. In 1974 was he promoted to assistant vice president of Professional Operations and then to vice president of the department three years later.
His professional accomplishments include 11 years as a member of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy which included two terms as president of the Board. He was awarded the Citation of Merit from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. He retired from work in 1985. The NACDS also presented him with the Harold W. Pratt Award in 1992.
His hobby was golf. His passion was vegetable gardening. His wife, Eileen, has said they can attribute their long lives due to the consumption of so many vegetables! And he loved beer. He will be missed.
Friends may join the family for John's visitation and funeral service on Thursday, June 27, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Ohio Western Reserve Masonic Community, 4931 Nettleton Rd., Medina. Interment will follow at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Rittman.
Funeral arrangements for John have been entrusted to Carlson Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, 3477 Medina Road, Medina, OH, 44256.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John's name to the charity of your choice.
Online condolences at www.carlsonfuneralhomes.com