Cover photo for John Paul Garrett's Obituary
John Paul Garrett Profile Photo

John Paul Garrett

October 28, 1959 — August 9, 2023

Atlantic

John Paul Garrett

I, this temporary space suit you know as John Paul Garrett, was born on October 28, 1959, in Junction City, KS to Larry and Deanie Garrett. I left behind this space suit on August 9, 2023, at 63 years old while on my dream Alaskan cruise with the love of my life.

I lived in Junction City, KS; Salina, KS; Manhattan, KS; Liberal, KS; and finally, Atlantic, IA. My dad was a minister and I never lived at any one place for more than four years. That is, until I landed in Atlantic, where I would eventually raise my beautiful family. I always had a love for nature and a fascination for all living creatures. We had many pets growing up and some that my mom, in particular, did not appreciate. My brother, Mike, and I used to get baby ringneck snakes from Dad’s church and sell them at school. We were resourceful. My mom would find all kinds of critters in my pockets while she did the laundry. My fascination and curiosity did not end at childhood. It only continued to grow as I got older.

I married Kelli Winchell on September 9, 1978. We had one son, Travis, before divorcing in 1982. In November of 1982, on a cold winter night, I met my best friend, Carol Possumato, by coming to her aid when she had a flat tire. We were married on November 3, 1984, in Atlantic at the home of Carol’s parents, Sam and Louise Possumato. We had three children, Emily, Seth and Ally.

I began my long-term employment with Cass County Secondary Roads on February 1, 1979. I ended my career on April 27, 2011, after being diagnosed with cancer. I underwent extensive chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. After six years with a clean health record, a metastasis showed up in my right lung in the fall of 2017. After this was removed, along with the right upper lobe of my lung, I was cancer free.

I coached the kids in baseball and softball and spent countless hours throwing balls for batting practice. I was filled with pride watching my kids participate in extracurricular activities as they were growing up and I always wanted them to feel supported in whatever activities they chose.

It often meant multiple jobs and working weekends, but it was all so rewarding to have the ability to provide my family the opportunities to participate in so many fun activities and trips together. I cherished the memories from our annual vacations and found so much joy in exploring and experiencing so much with my family. It was a fulfilling experience to watch them grow up and settle into their lives as adults.

I was passionate about being involved in my community and serving others. I served as President on the YMCA Board and was deeply involved in the planning of the current YMCA. I was also a member of the Atlantic Community Schools Booster Club Board and volunteered to help with concessions over the course of my kids’ high school activities. I would always jump at the opportunity to keep the book and be the announcer for baseball games.

I was thrilled to be able to share my love of astronomy with several groups of fifth graders through the years as well as the Atlantic community since the mid-1980s. It made me so happy to converse with people who were eager to learn and spark interest in children who may have not have been given the opportunity otherwise.

I was an avid reader and lifelong learner beginning at a very young age. I had a paper route at age ten and saved my money so that I could purchase two sets of encyclopedias. I was in heaven with so much to learn. It taught me the importance of a good work ethic and the value of a dollar. I could tackle any home project and save our family money by doing it myself.

My lifelong quest for truth gave me a breadth of knowledge that allowed me to provide advice and information on almost any subject matter I was asked about. If I didn’t know, my mind could not rest until the answer was found. Whether it was a fun fact about a rare bird, how to be prepared in the event of a disaster or identifying a strange twinkle in the night sky, I was determined to find the answer. My curiosity and quest for knowledge went beyond nature and daily know-how. I never knew a stranger and could start up a conversation with anyone. I loved learning about people’s interests, hobbies, what made them tick.

I had an appreciation for all things sacred but I never took anything too seriously, including myself. I loved cracking jokes, doing silly voices and making people laugh. Sometimes I would confuse people with my style of humor and sarcasm. But the confused looks on their faces made it all the funnier.

In my spare time, I enjoyed taking walks at the quarry and would challenge myself to beat my previous pace. While on my walks, I would observe insects and critters on the path and identify birds along the way. I created an album on my phone with an ever-growing collection of insects, plants, animals, sunrises, birds and our many neighborhood cats. I spent countless hours watching nature documentaries, some of them multiple times. During the summers, I spent a good deal of time working in my vegetable garden.

Carol and I had talked about going on an Alaskan cruise since before our 25th wedding anniversary. Then, coming up on our 39th year, we finally got to experience the trip of a lifetime. The whale watching did not disappoint and was definitely a highlight. The day spent at Glacier Bay National Park was breathtaking. I would not have traded that time for anything.

I leave behind my wife, Carol Garrett of Atlantic; my children, Travis Garrett of Atlantic, Emily (Abhishek) Parakh of Atlanta, GA, Seth Garrett of Loveland, CO, and Ally (John) Aguilar of Atlanta, GA; grandchildren, Raghuveer, Yaashvin and Bhavin Parakh; siblings, Mike (Kim) Garrett of Brevard, NC and Suzy (Jim) Murray of Atlantic; mother-in-law, Louise Possumato of Atlantic; brother-in-law, Pat (Marcie) Kelley of Beloit, KS; and cat, Rudie.

I am preceded in death by my parents, Larry and Deanie Garrett; father-in-law, Sam Possumato; sister, Jo Kelley; and niece, Kaeli Jo Holmes.

Open visitation will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday, August 18th, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic, followed by visitation with my family present from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

A Celebration of Life Memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, August 19th at Roland Funeral Service.  My family welcomes attendees to join them for refreshments following the service.  The service will be recorded and available on the Roland Funeral Service website by Monday.  Burial will be at a later date.

Please make memorials out to my family for later designation as they pursue a solar system display for the community at a location to be determined.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for my family and my arrangements.  Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.co

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Paul Garrett, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Open Visitation

Friday, August 18, 2023

8:00am - 5:00 pm

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation with Family Present

Friday, August 18, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life Memorial Service

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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