NORMAN — John Joseph Yaroslavski Jr. left his earthly body Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Norman Regional Hospital. He was born Oct. 19, 1947, in Hammonton, N.J., to John Joseph Sr. and Marie (Hajek) Yaroslavski.
John graduated in 1966 from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, N.J., where he excelled in cross country track. John graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology. Instead of pursuing his degree, John ventured into construction and never looked back. Before coming to work for the city of Norman as a utilities inspector, John worked for Merco Consultants as an inspection supervisor and also for C. D. Construction as a construction manager. He received his Oklahoma Professional Land Surveyors license in 1996.
John earned his private pilot license in 1980, his commercial/instrument pilot rating in 1987 and his commercial glider rating in 1988. John was a member of Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association, Short Wing Piper Club and Paradise Air Haven Home Owners Association. John and Cheryl shared many amazing adventures in John’s airplane, “Pinky,” a PA22-150 (a converted tail dragger). There were memorable trips to Santa Fe, N.M., Flagstaff, Ariz., New Orleans, Miami, Galveston, Texas, Idabel, Berlin, N.J., Snowmass, Colo., and Montreal, to name a few. Small jaunts just to be in the air made John happy. John even rented a plane in Seattle to see Mount St. Helen after the eruption. When visiting friends in San Juan, he rented a plane for an island hop to St. Thomas for a day’s outing.
Our life was made so full by the fun loving times that John provided. He also loved to “cross the pond” to visit friends in England, Ireland and Latvia. Christmas was always special for John. His full, gray beard always caused children to call him “Santa.” John would say, “Oh, I’m not Santa, I’m Santa’s brother. Have you been good this year? OK, I’ll tell my brother you’ve been good.”