I came into this world in 1931, born in Mercy Hospital, Denver, Colorado. I am preceded in death by my mother, Anna Filson who passed May 17, 1940, at the age of 42, my brother, Tom who was killed on Leyte Island on December 20, 1944, my father, Henderson Downing Filson, who died on September 6, 1966, my step-mother, Ethel Filson, my sister Leila Berrien and my daughter Kevlin Michele who died on July 6, 2011.
I am survived by my wife of 63 years, Marie Israel Filson, my daughters Julie Filson, of Englewood, Colorado, and Laurie Sletten of Dallas, Oregon, as well as four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
As a child growing up in the Depression, I have some memories of the hardships experienced by folks of that period. I know my father had to ride the rails in search of jobs outside of Colorado and even returned to the ring as a fighter at age 33, in order to make money for us. Times were difficult for most people and survival was the key.
I attended elementary schools in Englewood, Colorado, Salt Lake City, and Lakewood, Colorado. My junior high school years were in Lakewood, Colorado, and San Leandro, California. I graduated from Lakewood, High School in 1949.
I had begun my work career at age 15, working after school and on weekends for a trucking firm, where I managed to learn the business from a veteran businessman, my father. I worked 48 hours per week during the school year and more during the summers. I still managed to graduate with my class in high school. I found early on that there was little athletic talent and my father discouraged me from boxing..too prone to injury.
After high school I continued in the trucking business and when the company changed hands, the new manager encouraged me to continue with my education while still working. It was at this propitious moment that I met my future partner and wife Marie. Finding this woman and eventual mate was the most important period in my life and continued to be until my demise. We were married April 15, 1951.
I worked in the trucking business until 1954, when I went with P Lorrilard Tobacco for a few months and then with General Foods, Jello Products Div. I left the latter job to go into business with my father in Motor Freight Sales and we represented 17 firms at one time. That business was doomed by the recession of 1957-8. Marie and I had three beautiful red headed daughters during this period. After leaving my own business, I worked in sales for Interstate Freight Lines and as District Manager for a small local carrier.
In 1959 I felt the need for growth and a new direction.. I returned to school, while working for my last employer, and finished my teaching degree at U of Denver in 1962. I gained a teaching position at Valverde Elementary School in Denver, under the tutelage of Joseph Hynes. I was appointed assistant to the principal in 1966 and worked in that position and school until 1971, when I was chosen Teacher of the year.
It was at this time we decided to teach overseas. Marie got a position as an English television teacher and I taught middle school in American Samoa. In my second year on the island I was asked to serve as supervisor of Elementary schools. While in Samoa, we traveled to New Zealand, Fiji, and Western Samoa. Our achievements included garnering some lifelong friends from island residents and colleagues. We then returned to Denver and the Denver system, where I taught at Eagleton, and Samuels Elementary Schools and Hamilton Junior high.
In 1977 we set off for another adventure, teaching on Kwajalein, Marshall Island for Global Associates, again reaping a new cadre of friends and great experiences. Our travels included Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand.
In 1979 we returned to Denver where I finished my teaching career at Hamilton Junior High and Henry Middle School.
Marie and I retired from the Denver Schools in 1988, traveled extensively, moved to Princeville, Kauai, in 1996 and then to Washington, Utah, in 2004.
John died February 18, 2015, greatly loved and mourned.
- Friends are invited to the home for food, drinks and memories on Feb. 28, from 2-5 p.m.
Arrangements have been made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454. Friends and are invited to sign John’s online guestbook at the Spilsbury Mortuary website.