June 23, 1942—July 27, 2019
John Alfred Gailfus of Longview, WA, died on July 27, 2019, at the age of 77. He was born in Rolla, ND, on June 23, 1942, to Alfred and Mary (Sturgis) Gailfus. He was a middle child among a total of 14 siblings, 11 of whom survived childbirth. John attended Rolla Public Schools through grade 11 and joined the Army on June 1, 1961. He served in Germany as a cryptographer until his honorable discharge on May 18, 1967. When he returned to civilian life, he went to work for Delta Air Lines in Detroit, MI. He was transferred to Los Angeles as a Ticket/Gate Agent, where he met his partner of 18 years, George Maki. They made their home in Carson, CA, and lived there until George’s death in 1984. In 1987, John met Lee Freerkson, and moved with him to Long Beach, CA, where they lived until John retired from Delta in 1994, at which time they moved again to Longview, WA, to enjoy their remaining days in the Pacific Northwest.
John loved to cook and was known over the course of his life for entertaining friends and family with elegant dinners at his home and backyard barbecues, pool parties and ‘homemade pizza and a movie night.’ He was always available to take visiting friends and relatives to see the local attractions. He enjoyed making his yard pristine, loved playing through stacks of ‘the old standards’ sheet music on his baby grand piano and bowled regularly with the Thursday Senior Bowling League from 2005 to 2016. He dabbled in genealogy and collected pictures of ancestors that he framed and hung on his walls. He was happy to give his mother, Mary, the gift of travel in her later years, accompanying her on family visits around the states and on a sightseeing trip to England. His wonderful sense of humor and stories of his adventures kept friends and family well entertained.
John is survived by his brothers, Robert (Janice) Gailfus of Puyallup, WA, Richard (Helen) Gailfus of Bloomington, MN; sisters Greta Monette of Rolette, ND, Debra Iverson of Tioga, ND, and Dianne (Edward) Peltier of Center, ND. He is also survived by 43 nieces and nephews, many great-grand nieces and nephews and very dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his partner George Maki; his partner Lee Freerkson; his parents Alfred and Mary Gailfus; sisters Lorraine Ortegel, Elizabeth Fischer and Marjorie Hoff; and brothers James Gailfus and William Gailfus.
John’s final arrangements will be handled by The Neptune Society. As per his request, there will be no funeral. Donations may be made in his memory to Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital.