John Jay Masonbrink, 73, of rural Humboldt, passed away Sunday, June 15, 2014, after a more than three-year battle with Merkel cell cancer. He was born Aug. 12, 1940 at Humboldt, the son of Roy and Arlene (Coons) Masonbrink.

John graduated from Stella High School in 1958. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from Peru State College in 1962 and a Bachelor of Science with distinction in 1970. In 1974, he received a Master of Science in Education from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO. He was the science, chemistry and physics teacher at Falls City High School for 27 years.

In 1962, he married classmate and high school sweetheart Gail Ankrom at Howe, NE. They celebrated their 50th anniversary on Oct. 13, 2012.

John joined the U.S. Air Force in 1962 and served for six years during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at Gulfport, MS, Blytheville, AR, and the Island of Guam. He served as communications officer. He left the service having earned the rank of Captain in 1968.

Upon returning to the Stella area, he began farming, in addition to teaching. He enjoyed working the  soil and keeping up on the latest developments in agriculture.

In keeping with John’s generous nature, he was a big supporter of the Brownville Village Theatre, the Brownville Concert Series and many of the events and activities in Brownville.

He was a lifetime member of Elks Lodge #963 in Falls City. He was also a long-time member of the Eagles and the V.F.W.

John is survived by his wife, Gail; sisters, Karen Krofta, of Humboldt, and Mary (Marvin) Rupp, of Perry OK; nieces, Shari (Chuck) Jaros, of Humboldt, and Julie (Don) Shepard, of Omaha; nephews, Jason (Rebekah) Rupp, of Morrison, OK, Kyle (Brittany) Rupp, of Glencoe, OK, Jim (Stacie) Ankrom, of Richland, WA, Mike (Jodi) Ankrom, of Arlington, WA, Chris (Martha) Ankrom, of Mesa, AZ; and nine grand nieces and nephews.

Graveside services with military honors will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 19, 2014, at the Bedford Cemetery in Howe, with Wayne Shafer officiating.

Hall Funeral Chapel, of Auburn, is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family, who will donate them to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to be used for research on Merkel Cell Cancer.

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