He entered this life on June 16, 1948 in Cabool, Missouri. He was the eldest of seven children born to the late Reid Cole and Velma Louise (Lewis) Heathman.
John graduated from Cabool High School with the class of 1966. Shortly after, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he served on two ships, the USS Richard E. Byrd and the USS Ichon. He was honorably discharged in October of 1972. He worked many years as a truck driver for Jack Cooper Transport.
While he was living in Oklahoma he met the love of his life, Marilyn Sandra (Turner) Heathman. They married on September 22, 1997. With this marriage, John also became the dad to three children.
John was an avid collector of ink pens and would often fill his pockets with pens from various businesses. He enjoyed eating out with his wife regularly and watching sports. He called his brother, Keith, nearly every day just to chat. John was a frugal man and saved many things he thought might be useful one day.
He will be deeply missed by his loving family including his wife, Marilyn Heathman of Martinsville; stepdaughters, Sandra Alexandra (husband Donnie Bales) of Martinsville and Penny Flake of Indianapolis, Indiana; brothers, Charles (wife Judy) Heathman of Cabool, Keith Heathman of Billing, Oklahoma, and Donald (wife Sarah) Heathman of Willow Springs, Missouri; sisters, Rebecca (husband Paul) Anderson of Cabool, Nancy Heathman of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and Mary (husband Juan) Cabano of Cabool; and 11 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his stepson, Norman Taylor.
A service celebrating his life with military honors was held Friday, January 5, 2018, at Neal & Summers Funeral and Cremation Center in Martinsville. He was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in Greenwood, Indiana.
Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.nealandsummers.com.