PLEASANTON, Calif. - R.SGM John Pence passed away on April 10, 2011 at Pleasanton, California at the age of 86 with his family by his side. Born Eugene F. (Bud) Pence on July 17,1924 in Lebanon, PA. to Raphael and Kathryn Pence. His family resided on 10th Street and included (3) sisters and (5) brothers. "Bud" as he was known to his family, played all sports which he continued through most of his military career. One of the highlights of his youth was once warming up the great Satchel Paige. "Bud" joined the Merchant Marines during World War II operating on tugboats and freighters out of Bremerton, WA.. In 1946 he joined the U.S. Army and served with the 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Collins, Colorado and later in Trieste, Italy. While in Italy "Bud" became "John", a name he preferred the rest of his life. He played football and baseball throughout his career resulting in extensive travel throughout Europe and North Africa. In 1952 while stationed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal he met and married Sylvia "Tip" Cohen, a marriage that would last (57) years and produce (3) loving children Michelle, Lorri and Michael. "John" served (3) tours in Korea and (1) tour in Vietnam earning the C.I.B., Distinguished Service Medal with (4) campaign stars, Presidential Unit Citations, Meritorious Commendation and Service Medals, Bronze Star and (2) Purple Hearts. His family traveled with him on multiple assignments including France, Germany, New Jersey, New York and Ft. Campbell, KY. where in 1976 he retired with the 101st Airborne Division at the rank of Sgt. Major. John went on to earn a B.S. degree in 1981 from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. He continued to reside in Clarksville for the next (30) years enjoying his lifelong love of hunting and fishing. In 2006, Sylvia and John moved to South Carolina to be closer to their two daughters and families. Upon Sylvia's death in June 2010, John moved to Danville, CA. to be with his son and family where he remained until his final days. John is preceded in death by his wife Sylvia, both his parents, (4) brothers and (1) sister. He is survived by his (2) sisters Madeline Allen and Patricia Pence; his brother Gregory Pence and wife Shirley and numerous nephews and nieces all of Lebanon, PA.; his daughter Michelle Wilson and her husband Chris with their two daughters Taylor and Sydney (N. Augusta, S.C.); his daughter Lorri Wright and her husband Phil (N. Augusta, S.C.) with their daughter Lindsay Elliot and her husband Reynolds (Columbia, S.C.); his son Mike Pence and his wife Holly with their daughters Makenna, Hannah and Haley (Danville, CA.). Graveside services will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, April 22, 2011 at Westover Memorial Park, Augusta, GA, with Rabbi Robert Klensin, Congregation Children of Israel, officiating. He will be buried with Full Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Wounded Warriors Project.
The Augusta Chronicle-April 21, 2011