John Wilbur Glass, age 93, passed away Monday, February 13, 2023 in Farmington, New Mexico. John, the youngest of five siblings, was born on December 31, 1929 in Columbus, Ohio to the late John Emerson and Florence May Berry Glass.
John graduated from West High School in Columbus in 1948 and went on to study music and engineering at Ohio State University. He then joined the United States Air Force where he served as a trumpet player in the military band. He was stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean Conflict.
While John was stationed in Utah, he wrote letters to his high school sweetheart and fell in love with her. He married Dolores "Dee" Louise Davis on November 21, 1953. Dee was also born and raised in Columbus and attended the same high school and church, Westgate Church of the Nazarene. John and Dee had two children together: Janet Lynn and James Michael.
John spent his entire working career with Republic Steel Corporation as a sales representative in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He retired in Richmond, VA where he and his wife spent 27 years. When Dee suffered a stroke in 1999, John was a devoted caregiver, caring for her at home and then visiting her daily in nursing homes. In retirement they moved to Venice, FL and finally to Aztec, NM in 2017 to be near their daughter.
John had several hobbies over the years that included campaigning for conservative candidates and ballroom dancing and volunteering at an assisted living facility with his wife-but his greatest love was singing. He was introduced to barbershop harmony in high school and devoted 75 years as a member of SPEBSQSA (The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America). He was a member of dozens of choruses and quartets over the years-performing and singing, directing and coaching. The highlight of his barbershop career was performing with the Arlington Soundworks quartet for President Ronald Reagan at a White House congressional picnic. John also sang in church choirs and productions. His all-time favorite quartet activity was "singing valentines", surprising hundreds of people with a song and a rose.
John couldn't go through a grocery store without telling at least a few jokes to strangers or passing out a coupon for a "free hug." He carried a black book with him for decades that contained lists of barbershop tags, jokes, and spoonerisms. His black book eventually morphed into a black bag with folders of pictures.
During his years in New Mexico, he went to Chick-fil-A on Main Street six days a week and made friends with the employees and patrons. He was greeted with "his usual" at his designated table as soon as he walked through the door, and he returned the favor with songs, stories, and jokes. The ready smiles and listening ears of everyone there made it a home away from home for John. They wrote a beautiful tribute to him on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FarmingtonCFA/posts/pfbid0wVRod5XmYGpcxHPtUdZxtqjm49hFyVxb2zfodUeY2TTVZTgpXcKSRWwTGHeCRcHXl
John was preceded in death by his wife Dolores in 2021 after 67 years of marriage. He was also preceded in death by his brothers Wendell and James Ronald "Ronnie" Glass; and sisters, Eleanor (Dave) Reese and Mary Esther (Dick) LeRoy. He is survived by his daughter Janet Lynn Skeen and her husband, Kimery "Bo" Skeen, of Aztec, NM; his son, Father James Michael Glass of Norfolk, Virginia; four grandchildren-Sarah (Graham) Purcell, Courtney ( Cole) Jeffrey, Meghan (Bryan) Crawford, and Riley Skeen; and nine great-grandchildren Eleanor, Catherine, Nadya, and Alexander Graham Purcell; Reid Jeffrey; and Bronson, Jax, Jett and Ryker Crawford.
A memorial service and reception will be held at 11:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at Grace Hill Church, 4400 East Main St., Farmington, New Mexico 87401. A private committal service will be held at Greenlawn Cemetery, Farmington, New Mexico.
Services will be livestreamed for those unable to attend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZf2g6DJuz0.