John V. Pawloski
June 22, 1954- August 21, 2023
John fought a courageous 10-year battle with cancer. He is preceded in death by his mother, Mae; father, Ralph; and nephew, Tim. One of five brothers he is survived by, Joe (Nancy), Paul (Jane), Mike (Donna), and Tony; many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews. John dedicated his entire working life to service in the non-profit business sectors. He was dearly loved by his family and a friend to many.
Visitation with the family will be Sunday, August 27, 2023, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the West Center Chapel, 7805 W. Center. Rd., with a Service of Remembrance at 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family for future designation. Private family interment will be at Omaha National Cemetery. To view a live broadcast of the Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “Live Cast” button.
John V. Pawloski was born on June 22, 1954, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Ralph and Mae Pawloski. John was the third of five sons. He grew up in North Omaha, attending Holy Angels Grade School. John made life-long friends there and he recently coordinated a 50 year “Angel” class reunion.
His younger years consisted of the usual boyhood things: playing in the neighborhood, family vacations, watching movies, Boy Scouts, and reading books. (Lots of books.)
John attended Northwest High School in Omaha. He was very active in speech and journalism classes and loved to act in plays. He won several national honors in poetry and journalism. He gave a commencement speech at his class graduation.
Soon after high school he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving at a base in Germany, near the town of Neubrücke as a journalist. He traveled throughout Europe whenever possible. He made several life-long friends during this time. Several of them traveled to visit him while he was in hospice care. John attained the rank of E5 and was discharged honorably after his tour in Germany.
Shortly after his service career, John finished his bachelor’s degree at UNO, and then a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas.
John and his wife then moved to Minnesota where he would reside for the next 35+ years. He dedicated his entire working life to service in the non-profit business sectors. He worked for the Bakken Museum and the National Bone Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis.
John had his first bout with cancer in 2013, It was a tough battle, and he decided to move back to Omaha where he was welcomed with his family’s love and support. John subsequently went into remission, but different mutations kept coming back year after year. Constant hospital stays, numerous chemo and radiation treatments, testing, x-rays, and excruciating pain never broke his spirit. He never complained and always had a smile, a joke, or some quip to make you smile. His battle cry was “It is what it is.” He even had it tattooed on his arm.
His most recent diagnosis was the most serious and the lung cancer had metastasized. As always, John received fabulous care from the VA but finally succumbed to his illness on August 21, 2023.
John will be remembered for many things. He was funny, extremely intelligent, kind, scholarly, intellectual, and quick-witted. He loved baseball, especially the Twins, and the Huskers, standing by them through thick and thin. He also loved writing stories and poetry, acting, reminiscing, dressing up in goofy costumes, growing beards, wearing hats, and making people happy. He was a good one.
Recently he said: “When I die and people think of me, I want a smile to come across their face.