Botzet, John “Jackie” P. Jr.
Age 85 of Columbia Heights, MN passed away peacefully on Christmas Day surrounded by his loving wife and 12 children. Born August 23, 1934 and preceded in death by parents, John P. and Barbara Botzet.
John is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara (Guzik), children: Steven (Heidi), Vickie, James, Kateri (Mike) Osbeck, Paul (Julia), Bill, John, Kenny, Susie (Timothy) Walker, Rich, Annie (Tim) Wurst, and Tommy. Also, by his sister Ardelle (Dennis) Feda. John was greatly loved by his 15 grand-children: Jacob (Natalie), Harrison, Jonathan Botzet, Angela, Michael (Jordanne), Jared (Danielle) Osbeck, Logan and Ethan Botzet, Geoffrey and Cameron Niemi, Sophie Walker, Jack, Adam, Luke, and Willie Wurst, and great-grandson Griffin Osbeck.
John was born and raised on his family farm in Carlos Township. He and his sister, Ardelle, attended the one-room country grade school before attending Alexandria High School where he honed his skills as a pitcher for the Miltona Baseball team. That passion continued during his time in the US Armyserving in Japan 1952-54 where he pitched in US-Japanballgames. After his service in the Army, John’s father encouraged him to move to the cities and find a job that suited him. He attended Dunwoody Trade school and worked for Tennant Company in Golden Valley as a Tool and Die Engineer. Soon after, he would meet his future bride and love of his life, Barbara Guzik, on a blind date set up by her brother-in-law, a fellow Tennant employee.
John and Barbara would wed two years later and over the next two decades have 12 children testing out the theory of being cheaper by the dozen (it wasn’t). John was always very active with his family being heavily involved with weekend trips canoeing, fishing, hunting and camping, spending time at the McGregor cabin, and visiting family and relatives “up north. For more than 40 years he forged many lifelong friendships while supporting and serving as a leader of local Boy Scout troops, half of those years assisting scouts with special needs.
John’s love of polka music started in high school where he, his sister, and groups of friends attended local ballrooms. This prepared him very well to keep up with Barb, his dance partner for life. While their kids did pick up a few steps themselves, nothing compared to watching these two twirl around a dance floor. In John’s latter years, his favorite noontime activity was watching “Polka Spotlight” and earlier this year, was able to attend a live recording of an episode and meet the TV hosts.
John was also an avid reader whether it be the daily news, some favorite outdoor magazines, or books on history, sports, or biographies. He also loved traveling with his family. Besides the many Minnesota and Canada trips, he would also make several trips to Europe and the Pacific where a couple of his children, having inherited that same sense of adventure, were living.
Another passion of John’s was flying. Through teaching classes at Dunwoody Institute, John would save up enough money to take lessons and purchase a small Cessna plane with his brother-in-law. This allowed him to shorten his trips to see his parents and expand his outdoor adventures into Canada and checking off that bucket list of flying to/from Alaska. Flying also provided his family and friends with many amusing stories like the time a wheel strut broke off while taking off from a lake in Canada.
Though having left farm life as a teenager, John was always a farm boy at heart, visiting his childhood home often or attending farming and threshing shows whenever he got the chance. Restoring classic John Deere tractors also became a passion, including one of the same make/models he grew up on. His children and grandchildren would enjoy rides on these and even watching “Grandpa” drive one of these in the McGregor Labor Day parade a few years ago.
A devout Catholic, John and his family were active members of Immaculate Conception Parish where John and Barb were married and where all their children were baptized and later attended grade school. Whether helping at the annual Fall Festival or serving as an usher at the Sunday service, John instilled his work ethics, beliefs, and values in his children. John was humble, proud, the calm during a “storm”, and the rock his family could always count on. His family’s shared faith has helped them to celebrate his passing, knowing he is at peace, pain-free, and enjoying the rewards of Heaven.
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