John was born the 4th of July, 1936 in Phoenix, AZ, son of Ruth Evaline and James Gibson Mc Daniel.
Ruth and Gibson adopted John after 9 years of trying to conceive a child. Two years after they adopted John, they were pleasantly surprised, when they became pregnant with James Gibson Mc Daniel, II. John and James were very close growing up and throughout their lives.
Ruth & Gibson were blessed with 3 more children; Mary, Bob, and Chuck. Their family was complete with 5 children. The family lived in Phoenix until about 1946 before they settled in San Fernando, California.
Ruth raised the children in the Seventh Day Adventist church. Gibson worked for the power company in Phoenix, and the family lived on a large property owned by the power company, in employee housing. There were several transformer towers on the 20 acre property. When Ruth was at the hospital giving birth to her youngest child, Chuck, her mother stayed at the home with the other children. John was almost 8 years old at this time, an active little boy, when he and James and Mary were out playing on the property. Mary remembers looking up to see John climbing up one of the transformer towers, and then onto the wire, “climbing like a monkey”. He had the most unfortunate accident of being electrocuted on that wire, and fell off that wire and landed on the cement. As Mary relates the story, she and her older brother James, each grabbed an arm, and drug John up to the house to get help. Later, the Dr. said that the fall actually saved his life because it interrupted the electrocution. John later recalled that the Dr. recommended that his parents move him away from the family home to recover from his brain injury in a more quiet environment without the high energy of 4 rambunctious siblings. Not sure who that childless couple was, John said it was not any family friends or relatives. In spite of losing his literacy from the accident, John dropped out of High School at 16 and entered the work force, where he was successful and provided a middle class lifestyle for his family.
He started out sweeping floors at Continental Furniture Manufacturing, and went on to learn the art of woodworking. His brother James, was hired shortly thereafter also, and they worked together at Continental for a short time.
John met his wife to be, Rosie, on a blind date, set up by his buddy, Doug Farris. John & Rosie fell in love and were married 2 years later, in 1957. John was 20 years old, and Rosie was 18.
They bought their first house in Granada Hills, California shortly after they married. They also tried to conceive children for several years. John was known to LOVE children. John’s mother was a social worker and helped arrange the adoption of Dana at birth for John & Rosie. John worked two and three jobs early on to enable Rosie to quit her job at the telephone company and stay home and raise their daughter. John was always a hard working man, coming from that generation with a “can do” attitude.
After the Sylmar earthquake, in 1971, John took on a 2nd job at the San Fernando Mission for a few years. He worked restoring artifacts, and museum displays, and repairing damage in the sanctuary from the earthquake. He and Rosie traveled up to Lompoc, CA to La Purisima mission in order to gather measurements and pictures for his upcoming endeavor of doing damage restoration as authentically as possible for the San Fernando Mission. (John was noted to be a perfectionist by his family. A trait required for his line of work.) Another 2nd job he did for several years, was working at the cabinet shop his brother James worked at full time. After working at Continental for 25 years, he left to go work with James, at Kustom Wood Kabinets full time for another 25 years. He refined his skill and became a Master Craftsman. The crew worked on many celebrities homes in Southern California and John would come home and tell fascinating stories about the day’s events. During those years, his 2nd job was also with James, at his wood shop, he built in his backyard. As James’ boys grew up, John worked with his nephews as well. Dana remembers most everything in the house she grew up in on Tripoli was made by John.
John’s interests and hobbies were music, camping, traveling, mechanics, hot rods, and World WarII history. John’s signature statement was his wild, loud shirts he loved to wear.
Dana recalls, when growing up, frequently seeing her Dad working on cars and rebuilding the engine in one of his trucks. Dana wanted to help her Dad one day, so John let her paint the gaskets for the block with the gasket glue. Dana remembers waking up every weekend to the music of Elvis playing on the stereo. In later years, when they lived together here in Boise, it was Hank Williams, Jr. Not one of her favorites, but over the years it grew on her a bit.
John remembered as a child when they visited his grandparents in Loma Linda, just after WW II ended, former GI’s, now medical students of Loma Linda University, living in the bungalow’s on his grandparent’s property. Having had these memories of the war as a child may be what sparked his interest in that period of history.
John, Rosie, and Dana vacationed and traveled many places in the Western United State’s through the years. They visited National Parks such as The Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and The Arches.
John lit the fire of passion for boating in Dana. John, Rosie, and Dana would escape the suburbs of Los Angeles every other weekend to camp and waterski at various lakes in central California during the mid-70’s. One summer they went spent 2 weeks on Lake Powell on a house boat with another family.
After Gregg and Dana married in 1986 and moved to Frazier Park, John and Rosie followed them about a year later. They both were fortunate to enjoy beautiful log homes there. Gregg and Dana moved to Boise with their two young children in 1996; John and Rosie followed in 2001. John only quit working to take care of Rosie, as her health started to decline in 2000. Together, they bought a large ranch style home where they all resided; John and Rosie on one side and Dana’s family on the other. It was a perfect set up in anticipation of later years when they may need Dana’s help as they aged. Unfortunately, that time came sooner, rather than later. Eighteen months later, John had a 5 way heart bypass, during which he suffered a severe stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his right side, and difficulty with speaking and swallowing. He was only 65. His prognosis was not good and the neurologist told Dana he would be institutionalized for the remainder of his life on machines.They predicted he would not walk again, have a feeding tube for nutrition, and be on a respirator the rest of his life. She promptly fired that doctor and vowed her father would never have that life, in an institution. He would be coming home with her.
As was John’s work ethic, he worked very hard at his Rehabilitation after his stroke and he regained an impressive amount of function. Dana proudly took him back to that ICU 6 weeks later, where he received that prognosis. He walked in, greeted his former nurses, and together they advised the staff that he also passed a driving test, and was driving now also! He and Rosie continued to live very independently for the following 10 years before Rosie passed away. They bought an RV and continued to travel. And yes, John drove the RV; once to California!
John always lived his life to the fullest of his abilities, right up until the end. Just last summer, Gregg and Dana overcame several obstacles in order to take John to the Garth Brooks concert! He was enthralled! In his last years, he enjoyed watching westerns on TV and started collecting guns at the age of 80! He was a fighter, and had the attitude that there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish if wanted to do so. He did not succumb to death willingly and fought until his final breath, but remained comfortable and finished out his days exactly where he wanted; in the comfort of his own home.
His legacy of hard work, perseverance, & high morals, set the bar high for us to aspire too.
We will miss you deeply Grandpa. Until we all meet again………we love you.