John Francis Surat III died June 24, 2004, at home surrounded by his family. Preceded in death by his parents: John Surat II and Frances Agnes (Hadacek) Surat, and his brothers: Joseph and Frank Surat.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bernadette Surat (Carney), his daughter Marie Catherine (Surat) Pfeifer (Minneapolis, Minnesota); his sons: Tom Surat and Maggie (Watertown, Connecticut); Jim Surat and Denise (Mason City, Iowa) and Charlie Surat and Jane (St. Bonifacious, Minnesota). He is survived by ten grandchildren: Heather Surat, Katy Bugajewski, Jaime Bugajewski, Andy Surat and Becky, Erin Surat, Heather (Goodnow) Hermanson and Scott, Chrissy Goodnow and Rich, Joe Goodnow, Tess Surat and Jacklyn Surat; one great-grandson, Gavin Hermanson.
John was born November 29, 1914, at the family home in Duncan, Iowa. He was raised and educated in Britt, Iowa where he attended Britt Community Schools (K-12), excelling in music (vocal & instrumental), sports (first North Iowan to run the mile in under 5 minutes), visual arts and mechanical drawing. He was completely bilingual in both English and Czech. After high school graduation, John continued his education in art school and a four-year certificate as a Dental Technician. An avid proponent of education, he continued his education, reading modern and ancient history, mechanical science and aviation, politics and current events until the last days of his life.
John married Bernadette Carney (Mason City, Iowa) at Holy Family Catholic Church on October 7, 1940 and established their life-long home in Britt, Iowa. Their life-anchors were God, Family, Community and Country. John served 3 1/2 years in military service, attaining the rank of sergeant and serving two of those years in England in the 8th Air Force, specializing in aircraft school, training Slavic-speaking men to prepare for an assignment, he served as an engineer on the B-24 airbase. After his overseas assignment, he served as an engineer on the B-24 at a secret weapons airbase in Wendover, Utah. Upon complication of his military service, he received the Reed Army Airforce Certificate for Outstanding War Service.
John was a 31-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service. As both a letter carrier and a clerk, he loved the daily contact with many people. He knew everyone in Britt and the surrounding communities. No person’s request for his assistance was ever turned down; he always went the extra mile. He was also self-employed for 60 years John’s Art & Signs.
His dedication to his church and community are evidenced by the list of efforts and extra efforts delineated below: life-long member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, serving as Chair of the Education Board, Church Advisory Board member, Chair of the Building Fund, lector at Mass and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus; 35-year continuous member of the American Legion, serving as local post commander, finance officer, adjutant, scouting coordinator, flag chair, member of the recreation executive board, as Hancock County commander, vice commander and adjutant, as well as serving as District legislative chair and BSA chair, receiving Award as Outstanding Citizen and other meritorious swards; Hancock County Selective Service Board (12 years), receiving Presidential Award; Britt Community Schools Board Member, PTA member (25 years), serving as secretary and treasurer, chair of membership and attendance, chair of Executive Board; Britt Hobo Band (30 years), photo hung in office of Iowa House of Representatives in D.C.; Boy Scouts of America (36 years), serving as local Cub Scout Master, Adult Scout Leader at Winnebago Scout Reservation (5 years), Secretary & Treasurer, Boys State Committee, father of three Eagle Scouts, Adult Member receiving the Scouter’s Key, Order of the Arrow, BSA Arrow of Honor, Silver Beaver Award, and Adult American Legion State Award.
He enjoyed many hobbies including sign painting, gardening, square dance caller, fishing, golfing, bike riding, dancing and many shop projects.
John was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who will be dearly missed by those who love him.
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