It is with deep sadness that we must share the news of the loss of a beloved local educator, family man, Lay Minister, and friend, John F. Naegele. John passed peacefully into the arms of Our Heavenly Father on April 7, 2017, surrounded by his loving family.
The first of the 5th Generation of Naegele’s in Montana, John came into this world Feb. 3, 1946, in Helena, Montana, as the ﬁrst born son of Jack C. and Lorena J. Naegele (both deceased) and was later joined by younger brother, Tom Naegele, and little sister Jeanne (Michael) Kohal.
John graduated from Helena High School in 1964. It was here that he met Ruth Larimer, his true love, best friend, and partner for the rest of his life. John went on to continue his education at Montana State University, GO BOBCATS! John became a member of the Lambda Chi Fraternity while at MSU. John and Ruth married in January 1968 and, later that year, welcomed their daughter, Kirstin. John went on to earn a BS degree in Zoology and graduated with a Masters of Science in Zoology along with a teaching certiﬁcate in 1971. John then embarked on a career in education, moving his family to Superior, MT, where he taught science at the local high school. John and Ruth’s second daughter, Jennifer, joined the family in 1973. In the fall of 1976, after moving to Moscow, Idaho, John went on to earn his high school principal certiﬁcation and served as Assistant Principal until 1981. John then accepted a position as assistant principal at Spanaway Lake High School, then as principal until 1989 which resulted in his family setting their stakes here in Graham, Washington. John and Ruth embraced their new home, made many new friends, and John was in a position to focus on what had become his priorities in life…God, his Family, children and community.
In 1989, John received an assignment as the Community Service Director which included oversight of early education programs. This allowed him to expand early childhood education to include over 450 children. Ten years later, John accepted a position as Early Head Start Director for Pierce County with the Puget Sound ESD. Teaming with parents, ESD child development experts and family service personnel, they developed a comprehensive prenatal to three programs at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. He also provided leadership in the creation of three teen parenting programs and community home visiting programs. During this time, John also served on the Washington State Association for Head Start and ECEAP as Board Secretary and later as Board President. He also went on to serve as Board President for the Washington Association of Early Childhood Education. In 2011 until his retirement in 2014 John was employed by the Children’s Home Society of Washington, as the statewide Head Start Director.
God was always in John’s life. He was baptized and raised with Christian values and teachings, but his focus was renewed in the early 90’s when he joined Spanaway United Methodist Church. As a member, he became active in the church, rose to the level of Lay Leader, was a board member, and participated in staﬀ/parish relations and several other leadership teams. John took courses to become a Lay Speaker, allowing him to oﬀer sermons at his home church as well as other churches, and make home and hospital visitations. Under the mentorship of his pastor, he eventually completed courses to become a certiﬁed Lay Minister in the Pacific NW Conference of the United Methodist Church.
John’s love of children was shown vibrantly through the love of his own daughters and their spouses, Kirstin and Dan Menefee and Jennifer and Torry Iyall. They, in turn, continued that love, ﬁlling John and Ruth’s home with the sound of seven grandchildren. Kirstin and Dan were blessed with Kaitlen (Sam), Donovan, Sydney, and Emily. Jennifer and Torry added to this blessing their children, Jordan (Jonathan), Kerah, and Cody. In more recent years, John and Ruth were delighted at the start of a fourth generation with the arrival of great‐granddaughter, Brittan, and news of another great‐grandson, Benjamin, on the way.
Good relationships with his own family paved the way for his dedication to helping other families to be successful. His parents were involved in his early childhood and he saw how important family support was to the development of a child into a conﬁdent, successful adult. John used this knowledge and wisdom in making sure parents were involved in the programs he helped develop for early childhood learning for children prenatal to age 5.
In addition to his wife Ruth, his daughters and their families, and his brother and sister, John is survived by his Mother-in -Law, Sue Larimer, sisters-in-law Nancy (Sam), Elaine and Marge, Uncle Dr. James Macmillan (Laura) and Aunt Catherine Macmillan along with nieces, nephews and cousins across the United States.
The family would like to say a very special thank you to Northwest Specialties and Multicare Hospice for their support and care of John.
Services will be held at Spanaway United Methodist Church at 11AM on July 1, 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Children’s Home Society of Washington Early Childhood Programs at www.childrenshomesociety.org. (Please make certain to note this donation is for Early Learning programs) or to the charity of your choice.
Remember to Share your Smile with all you meet it is free and through your sharing you change lives.
CHURCH ADDRESS: Spanaway United Methodist Church, 135 163rd St. South, (East of Pacific Ave.) Spanaway, WA 98387
TELEPHONE NUMBER – (253) 537-5134 Office Hrs: M-T 9-1
Letters or cards may be sent to:
23910 65th Ave. Ct. E.
Graham WA. 98338