JOHN MAX BUMGARNER

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March 25, 1955–Jan. 28, 2018

John Bumgarner, 62, of Upton and Anchorage, Alaska, died suddenly on Jan. 28, 2018. He was born March 25, 1955, in Anchorage.

John was raised in Alaska and graduated from Service High School in 1973. Throughout most of his adult life John worked at Noble Mechanical, an Anchorage sheet metal business owned by his parents, William and Georgina Bumgarner. After William’s retirement in 1992, John operated the business with his brother, Warren. He was a lifetime member of the Alaska Southcentral/Southeastern Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 23.

John was married to Catherine Johnson in Anchorage, and together they had one daughter, Tracy, in April 1977. After they divorced, John married Laurie (Gochanour, Ratliff) Fleming in 1981, becoming step-father to her daughter, Wendy Marie Ratliff.

He was a skilled sheet metal worker and pilot. Together, he and Laurie — with the help of dear family and friends — built a cabin in Alaska, accessible by airplane or snowmachine. It was one of his favorite places to be.

In 2010, John and Laurie bought ranch land in Upton, Wyo., where they built their dream retirement home and began learning the business of cattle ranching from their many kind neighbors and friends along Sundown Trail. They spent the next several years between Wyoming and Alaska, where John was a tremendous help to his father-in-law, Boyd Gochanour and his wife Mary Ann.

John’s family and friends said, “John was one of the most generous people you will ever meet. He would do anything at all to help his family, his neighbors and his friends, and was a devoted husband to Laurie. He also had a warm, witty sense of humor and was sure to make everyone laugh. John was always great with kids; he kept them giggling, and was a father figure to the children of family friends. He will be missed beyond words.”

Survivors include his wife, Laurie Bumgarner of Upton and Anchorage; daughters, Tracy Thompson and Wendy (Robert) Haverfield, both of Anchorage; brother, Warren (Cyndi) Bumgarner of Big Lake, Alaska; sisters, Linda (John) Schwamm of Arizona and Lori (Mark) Haynes of Anchorage; father-in-law, Boyd (Mary Ann) Gochanour of Big Lake; mother-in-law, Donna Gochanour of Newcastle; brothers-in-law, Kevin Gochanour of Newcastle, and Randall (Dou) Gochanour of Wasilla, Alaska; sister-in-law, Amy (Dan) Runestad of Custer, S.D.; aunt, Ruth (John) Swank of Oregon; uncles, Robert (Jane) Sullivan and Lyle (Kay) Sullivan, both of Californa, and Kenny Lancaster of Soldotna, Alaska; grandchildren, Kandus (Garren) Lee, Jashawa Lamb, Kaeyln Barlow, Christopher Thompson and Kara Thompson, all of Anchorage; great-grandchildren, Presley Oxholm and Keilani Lee, both of Anchorage; and numerous nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents, William Carl and Georgina L. (Sullivan) Bumgarner; his birth parents, James and Joanie (Lancaster) Bumgarner; his half-sister, Jamee Bumgarner; uncle, Jack Bumgarner; aunts, Iris Bumgarner and Helen Fay; and grandparents, Noble and Alice Bumgarner, and George and Vera Sullivan.

Funeral Services will be held Feb. 10 at 1 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Newcastle, with a reception at the church following. A Celebration of Life will also be held at a later date in Alaska. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to St. Jude’s in John’s memory.

Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis, S.D., was in charge of the arrangements.

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