Cover photo for John McCaleb's Obituary
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John McCaleb

June 28, 1947 — December 10, 2021

John McCaleb

On June 28th, 1947, the world was blessed with an extraordinary individual. John Virgil McCaleb, son of the late Lorna Doone Lyman McCaleb (the late James Vernon McCaleb) and the late Darrell Kenneth Cloud, was born in Salt Lake City, UT. He attended the public schools of Granger, UT. As a Boy Scout, he developed a love for nature, spending a great deal of time hiking, camping, shooting and string fishing in the Wasatch Mountains.

John joined the United States Air Force out of high school and served during the Vietnam War as an airplane mechanic. He then located back to Utah and graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor Degree.

John enjoyed an adventurous early life, working on a ranch patrolling vast territory on horseback and living in the Grand Canyon, for a time, out of a teepee.

He married Terri Smelser in 1991 and they raised their 5 kids together, an even bigger adventure.

Continuing to serve his country, he joined the Army National Guard and served until retirement. John was called to Army Active Duty after 9/11, serving for 2 years in the Air Defense Battalion "Operation Clear Skies", in Washington DC, alongside many fellow soldiers and the White House Secret Service.

He worked as a Building Inspector for the City of Farmington for 13 years before retiring in 2021.

Though he worked in several industries during his civilian career, he was filled with purpose when he gave his whole life to the Lord in 1996 and he poured his heart and soul into serving Jesus. He became involved in Royal Rangers, where he became known as Commander John, ministering to and teaching survival skills to boys at Winter Campout and many other activities. He and his wife founded The Lord's Pantry, a ministry to feed local families, serving faithfully now for 26 years.

John went on a mission trip to Kenya in 1996, where his heart found an additional home and he met his lifelong friend and brother in Jesus, Bishop Wachira Karani. John was able to take 2 more trips to Kenya in the following years. The last trip he took with his son in law in 2018, focused on building a farm in Nyeri, to feed the people from surrounding areas; establishing The Lords Pantry - Kenya. After returning, John diligently raised tens of thousands of dollars for a food storage building and a water tower for the farm, as well as a fresh water well for the village of Oloitokitok.

John spent most of his spare time in the service of others. He lived an extraordinary life and was a man after Gods own heart.

His faith, positivity and determination shone through in everything he accomplished. He was a man of action, always ready to help where he was needed, always on to the next task, no mountain was too high for him. Many lives came to the Lord with his direction and many lives were impacted by his compassion. He was a craftsman and an artist, a John of all trades. His children attest that they could never have asked for a more loving father.

On December 10, 2021, John McCaleb stepped through the gates of heaven, at the age of 74, after a short illness in Farmington, NM.

He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Terri McCaleb of Farmington, NM. His heart will live on in the lives of his children; Sarah Netzer, DeAmber Montoya and husband Zachary Montoya, Amanda McCaleb, Phillip McCaleb and wife Amanda Medina-McCaleb, John McCaleb and fiance Brittany Cherington. Papa is dearly loved by all his grandchildren; Kayden Valerio, Alhanna Valerio, Lucy Netzer, Micah Netzer, Arianna Beasley, Silas Montoya, Kayleigh Beasley, Caster McCaleb, Riley Montoya, Elorah McCaleb, Jasper McCaleb, Jethro McCaleb and Olivia McCaleb. He is also survived by his mother in law Lois Smelser, brother David McCaleb, sister Rebecca Christiansen, sister Linda Sly and husband Jim Sly, brother Jim McCaleb and wife Sody McCaleb, sister in law Patti White and husband Joe White, and many loved nieces and nephews. He has been important to the lives of countless others, that he has ministered to and encouraged.

He is preceded in death by Lorna Doone McCaleb, Darrell Kenneth Cloud, James Vernon McCaleb, Robert Smelser, Paul Christiansen, Jim Denny, and Matthew Netzer.

Funeral service will be held on December 18th at 2:00pm at The Oasis. It will be live-streamed for those who are not able to attend in person on their website: and also on The Oasis Facebook page. Pastor Randy Joslin will preside.

Out of concern and respect for those attending in these trying times, no reception will follow.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Farmington Funeral Home. Special thanks to The Oasis and John's church family there.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to The Lord's Pantry - Kenya, where John's heart resided.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John McCaleb, please visit our flower store.


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