John C. Saubak


UntitledJohn Saubak, lifelong resident of the Lustre/South Peerless area passed from this world on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2015.


He was born July 30, 1947, attended elementary school at rural Lustre schools, and graduated from Scobey High School in 1965. John was drafted into the Army in 1966, trained in helicopter maintenance, and then was shipped to Vietnam in late 1967. He was a Crew Chief on a Huey helicopter.


On May 17, 1968, while approaching an enemy LZ (landing zone), John was wounded in his left arm. The pilot flew him immediately to the nearest medical station. John’s comment later was that “I should have known better than to work on a holiday.” May 17th (Syttende Mai) is a national holiday in Norway, the home of his ancestors. John carried recovered bullet fragments from that event in the case with his Purple Heart.


Several of his Army buddies continued to stay in contact through the years. John flew to reunions every couple of years in places like Alabama and California, and he had intended to fly to Savannah, Georgia, for the 2015 reunion.


After healing from his injury, John returned to ranching and started doing a lot of calf roping and team roping in local amateur rodeos. When in his mid-40s he realized that the younger cowboys were consistently beating him at roping events, so he changed sports and began seriously participating in trap shooting at the local and state levels. He also did some target shooting, both with pistols and rifles.


Following in his father’s footsteps, he took flying lessons as a teenager and became licensed prior to getting drafted. He continued to be an enthusiastic pilot for the rest of his life. In 1966, John was offered the opportunity to fly for the Army, which he declined because he would have had to commit to a longer period than the two years required by the Draft. When his health no longer allowed him to fly alone, one of the happiest occasions near the end of his life was having his friend, Travis Nelson, accompany John on a flight in John’s own Cessna.


For most of his life, John had a dog, usually with such original names as Puppy, Pooch, or Dog. His last dog, Oscar, will be remembered as a frequent companion on pick-up trips to town and occasionally even in the airplane. Oscar passed away a year ago at a ripe old dog age.


John was preceded in death by both of his parents, Cliff and Mary Saubak. He will be sorely missed by his only sister, Randi Aki of Kirkland, Washington, and the families of his nephew, John, and niece, Kuilani. His passing is also mourned by numerous cousins, friends, and the loving, caring people in his neighborhood who helped him throughout the last months of his life.


A memorial service will be held at Scobey Lutheran Church on Friday, November 27, 2015, at 2:30 p.m.  No flowers, please. Memorials may be given to your local V.F.W. or another veterans’ organization.

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