John DeKreyJohn Allen DeKrey died in Fort Collins, Colorado, on April 19, 2012, from complications of pneumonia. He was 86 years old.
John Allen DeKrey died in Fort Collins, Colorado, on April 19, 2012, from complications of pneumonia. He was 86 years old.
Born in Pettibone, North Dakota on 13 August 1925 to Charles and Lillian DeKrey, John grew up under the harsh dust bowl conditions of the Great Depression. He enlisted in the Naval Reserves and served in the Pacific during WWII, returning with GI Bill benefits to attend Jamestown College, where he met and married Sybil Mae Smith of Kulm, ND.
Together John and Sybil taught in high schools around rural North Dakota until the Navy reactivated him for the Korean conflict. Afterward, John joined the commissioned ranks and entered medical school at UND, graduating from Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 1958. He completed an internship at St. John’s Hospital in Fargo and an anesthesia residency at Swedish Hospital in Seattle before returning to active duty with the Navy.
John was assigned to Naval Hospital San Diego where he remained until retiring in 1984. In addition to his inpatient clinical practice, he trained medical students, provided medical support in Cuba, Haiti and Viet Nam, and developed new techniques of regional anesthesia. John rose to the rank of captain and chaired the Department of Anesthesia, receiving many accolades for teaching and contributions to his field of medicine.
John and Sybil settled on the banks of the Red River in 1989, where they enjoyed the company of turkeys, woodchucks, and countless feral cats.
When he wasn’t planting trees or feeding deer, John provided anesthesia service to area hospitals, kept bees, and attended local concerts and recitals.
John is survived by children Lesley DeKrey of Juneau, AK, and Gregory DeKrey of Loveland, CO, as well as siblings Lillian DeKrey of Velva, ND, Dorinne DeKrey of Ames, IA, Florence Hieggelke of Fargo, ND, Iris Leuhr of Helena, MT, Joyce Hasle of Woodbridge, VA, and Charles Ross DeKrey of Willow Springs, MO, and second wife MayElla Dring of Bismark, ND (divorced). He is predeceased by wife Sybil as well as sisters Elna DeKrey and Elaine Leuhr of Pettibone, ND, and canine companion Sarah.
John’s ashes will be placed to rest during a private ceremony at Weiser Cemetery, Kidder County, ND. Memorial donations in the name of John DeKrey may be made to Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Attn: Development Associate, 1055 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.
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