John went on to earn a nomination to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was a member of ‘The Zoo’, a group of lifelong friends from Company D4 and the class of 1966. After graduation, John served six years in the U.S. Army and in those years completed Ranger School, Flight School and became a pilot. John flew the Cessna L19 Bird Dog, a plane he loved to fly and a plane that he flew in ingenious and creative ways. He served his country from Oct. 1969 to Oct. 1970 in Vietnam as platoon leader and a pilot of the Headhunters, the 219th Aviation Company located at Camp Holloway in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. He was nominated for the Silver Star, awarded the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross among numerous other medals and honors.
After leaving the Army with the rank of captain, John attended Harvard Business School and graduated in the class of 1973. In between his two years at Harvard, John worked on the financing, planning and building of the Coach House Diner on Kennedy Boulevard and Paterson Plank Road in North Bergen, which was an expansion of his father’s railcar diner, the Boulevard Diner, that he opened in 1939 at the same site. After a brief stint at Goldman Sachs, John returned to the Coach House to work alongside his parents and his brother, Nick.
None of his career accomplishments eclipsed his role as husband to his wife Stella, father to his three children, Gregory, Jason and Diana, and grandfather to William. Together with Stella he built a strong, family, and that was the most important thing in his life. Services arranged by the Barrett Funeral Home, Tenafly.