John Edward Vennink, 95, son of John W. and Belle (Welton) Vennink, was born October 18, 1916 in Manilla, Iowa. He passed away November 7, 2011 in Houston, Missouri.
John married Amanda Schwieso Jenkins in 1947. To this union three daughters were born, Kathryn, Judy and Marlene. John and Amanda were married 28 years.
He married Frances Elmore in 1976. They were married 30 years.
John entered the U. S. Army Air Corps June 10, 1941. He was with the 12th Bombardment Group and the 81st Squadron. He served as an upper turret gunner in a B-25 and was shot down by enemy fire on September 11, 1942. John was injured as he bailed out just seconds before the plane crashed. He was captured by the Italians on September 13, 1942 and turned over to the Germans. For the next 30 months he was imprisoned in Stalag 17-B Prison Camp in Krems, Austria. He was honorably discharged from service September 19, 1945 as a staff sergeant. He was awarded many medals and commendations which included the Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct, Prisoner of War Campaign, Missouri Patriotic Service, European-African Mid-Eastern Campaign, Victory WWII, American Defense Service, American Campaign and Honorable Service WWII.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Amanda who passed away in 1975; his wife Frances who passed away in 2007; and three siblings, Louis and Carol Vennink and Miriam Denton.
He is survived by his three daughters, Kathryn Fontinel of Des Moines, Iowa, Judy Bonner and husband Tex of Cabool, Missouri, and Marlene McGrew of Chesterfield, Missouri; four stepchildren, Don Jenkins and wife Shirley of Omaha, Nebraska, Tim Elmore and wife Carol of Alpharetta, Georgia, Susan Warkentin and husband Jack of Houston, Missouri, and Alan Elmore of Amsterdam, Missouri; 17 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildrenl and two great-great-grandchildren.
John loved to read and he enjoyed woodworking. He loved musical instruments and played the harmonica and piano many times at church for specials or accompanying a group. He was still playing the harmonica at the nursing home up until six months ago. He was very involved in the American Legion, helping in any way he could.
He will be missed by those who knew and loved him.
Memorials may be made to the Gideons or the Wounded Warrior Project.
A graveside inurnment was held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at Nishnabotna Cemetery in Manilla, Iowa. Local arrangements were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.