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John Walter Everly

December 31, 1935 October 4, 2022
John Walter Everly
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Obituary for John Walter Everly

John Walter Everly, 86, passed away on Oct. 4, 2022, at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

John was born on Dec. 31, 1935, in Beardstown, Illinois, to Gil and Geraldine Mays Everly. He and his younger sister were raised in Estes Park and Longmont, Colorado, by loving parents whose Christian faith centered their lives.

As a child, John loved to play outside and discover how things worked, methodically digging holes, building dams, and experimenting with wagons. He was also interested in airplanes. He would spend hours on the back step quietly flipping the propeller of a model airplane engine he had attached to a board, trying to make it start. Often his fingers were bloodied when the engine caught and the prop accelerated, but he never complained. John’s interest in model airplanes never waned with age. He built and flew them as an adult in every city in which he lived.

John was never afraid of hard work. His first paid job (1951) was at his grandfather’s filling station, where he continued to learn about motors, machines, and mechanics.

In his teen years, John was an accomplished, but humble, athlete. He lettered five times in track and twice on football and was on the wrestling team. He enjoyed training and he played to win, advancing often to state level competitions while demonstrating integrity, fairness, and good sportsmanship.

After graduating from Longmont High School in 1954, John attended Hastings College in Nebraska. He was part of the Hastings Broncos undefeated football team of 1954 that was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He was interested in math and science, and he expected to become a teacher like his father, but didn’t think he’d enjoy managing students in a classroom. During the first semester of his sophomore year at Hastings, John became increasingly dissatisfied with the idea of teaching and quietly considered other options. At the end of the semester, he wrote his family that he was going to join the Navy. He wanted to train as a pilot. On Jan. 27, 1956, John, along with two college friends also interested in aviation, enlisted in the U.S. Navy with dreams of flying airplanes. He went to boot camp at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, and trained at the Naval Air Technical Training Centers in Norman, Oklahoma, and Memphis, Tennessee. His eyesight was not good enough to pilot, and it was determined that he would work on the airborne radar. In April of 1957, he was assigned to Naval Air Station Cecil Field near Jacksonville, Florida.

On a Sunday that same April, John left Cecil Field to visit a downtown Jacksonville church he’d selected. On the way there, he picked up another sailor who wanted to be dropped off at Riverside Presbyterian Church. Since he was already there, John decided he might as well try Riverside instead of his previously planned destination. He returned every Sunday thereafter and joined the choir, singing tenor next to Charles Hubbertsey. He asked Charles’ daughter Esther out in December, and they began to date.

In April of 1958, John received new orders to report to Naval Air Station Boca Chica in Key West, Florida. He returned to visit

 Esther often and proposed in June. He gave her his grandmother’s engagement ring in July, and they married Dec. 27, 1958.

John finished his three years of Navy service and was discharged honorably Dec. 10, 1959. In January of 1960, he and Esther and their infant son moved from Key West, Florida, to Alamosa, Colorado, for John to complete his bachelor’s degree —a double major in physics and math with a minor in chemistry — at Adams State College. He graduated in May of 1962.

Following his graduation, the family moved to Corona, California, where John began a civil service career as an engineer physicist at the U.S. Naval Ordinance Laboratory June 4, 1962.

John’s work at the lab resulted in two patented inventions: #3508073 — an improved comparator circuit for obtaining the absolute value of the difference between two input signals, and #3943277 — digital memory area correlation tracker.

As the air quality in Corona declined due to pollution from nearby Los Angeles, John’s growing concern for his family’s respiratory health led him to explore a change in location. His supervisor recommended him to E.A. “Mac” McCormac at Eglin Air Force Base near Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, and in 1968, John accepted a federal civilian service job with the U.S. Air Force working on a special project called Igloo White, which dealt with tracking, surveillance, and targets during the Vietnam War.

John then moved his family to Ft. Walton Beach. His friendship with Mac led to learning new hobbies like waterskiing and deep-sea fishing, along with continued tinkering on car engines, air conditioners, and home repair and remodeling projects. There was always a project in the house or garage that was in process. There was not anything John couldn’t repair or construct after thorough research. Mac also invited the Everly family to Westminster Presbyterian Church. There John and Esther developed lasting friendships and were active members for nearly four decades, John serving as a longtime deacon and keeping the aging church air conditioner running for about that long. He loved serving his community of faith.

John’s interest in technology grew as he worked, and he was proficient in many coding languages. He could program and build devices and design their applications, and he was thrilled when the first personal computers small and affordable enough to have in his own home became available. He and Esther often traveled to computer shows in the 1980s and 1990s to see and occasionally purchase the latest technology. John designed and redesigned, forever tinkering and improving these electronic devices that took up a room in his home.

John never tired of being an athlete. He ran six miles daily during his lunch break at the base, and entered local track club races both for fun and to challenge himself, improving his times and often winning in his age group. When running became painful due to an injury that was slow to heal in the 1990s, John took up cycling. Cycling fed his athleticism and became another outlet for his tinkering, as he took his bicycles apart and rebuilt them many times. He competed, and he also rode for enjoyment in events like the TOSRV South. He bought a tandem bike so he could take his wife with him on adventures such as the East Coast Tandem Rally in Vermont in the fall of 1996. His last major event was the 2019 Natchez Trace Century Ride on his US Postal Trek carbon bike when he was 83 years old.

After 36 years of federal civilian service with the armed forces, John retired in 1995 and accepted a position as a physicist for SAIC (Science Application International Corporation), a defense, aviation, information technology company doing contract work primarily with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community. John ended up doing SAIC work for the same department he worked for previously at Eglin Air Force Base. He retired from SAIC in 2005 at age 70 to take on a new role — grandpa.

John and Esther moved to Jackson, Mississippi, in 2005 when they found out they were going to be grandparents. John was a gentle, steady presence in his granddaughter Anna’s life from the first moment they met, always loving, patient, and kind. He liked showing her how things worked and loved watching her learn and grow. She admired him and loved him deeply and adored experiencing life with him.

John was a good husband and a good father, too. He was affectionate, dependable, consistent, a man of integrity. His calm and reflective nature and methodical problem solving served him well in both his work and personal life. Though John was a man of few words, what he did say was always well thought out and worth listening to. He was not just intelligent, but wise and discerning. His family is grateful for his life and his love.

A memorial service will be held at Wells Memorial United Methodist Church, 2019 Bailey Ave., Jackson, Mississippi at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12, with a reception to follow.

John will be buried in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, where he raised his family and lived with his wife for 37 of the 63 years they were married.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Gil and Geraldine Everly, and his wife, Esther Hubberstey Everly. He is survived by his son, David Everly; his daughter, Jane Everly; his granddaughter, Anna Everly; his sister Mary Ann Everly Ryan (Pat); his nephew Mike Ryan (Lee Ann); his niece Kathy Ryan Kurz (David); and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Memorial gifts in John’s honor may be made to Wells United Methodist Church at 2019 Bailey Ave. in Jackson, Mississippi 39213, or to Westminster Presbyterian Church at 2 Woodham Ave., Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 32547.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




10:00 AM 10/12/2022 10:00:00 AM
Wells United Methodist Church

2019 Bailey Ave
Jackson, MS 39213

A reception Will Follow the Service

Wells United Methodist Church
2019 Bailey Ave Jackson 39213 MS
United States

Cemetery Details


Beal Memorial Cemetery Final Resting Place

316 Beal Pkwy NW
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548

316 Beal Pkwy NW Ft. Walton Beach 32548 FL
United States

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