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John R. Kangas

March 16, 1930 - February 16, 2020


John R. KangasJohn R. Kangas passed away in Salem, Oregon on Sunday, February 16, 2020, one month short of his 90th birthday. He was a proud “yooper” – a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a retired naval officer, and a Finn, all of which shaped his independent, determined and resourceful approach to life.

John was born March 16, 1930 in Wakefield, Michigan to John T. and Ella Linn Kangas. In 1949 he enlisted in the Navy, served in the Korean War, and then joined the Seabees. He married Margaret Trudgeon of Ironwood, Michigan and they had three children-- John Mark, Karen, and David.

John served two tours in Vietnam, achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2, and earned several medals and commendations during his 20 years of service. He retired from the Navy in 1969 and settled in Salem with his family.

John worked for the City of Salem for 10 years and for several summers at Yellowstone National Park. His camera was his constant companion. In the winters he honed his woodworking skills, creating clocks and picture frames for his photos. He recruited Margaret, and occasionally his grandchildren, to help sell his work at Salem Saturday Market.

In his 80s, John began to write the tall and humorous tales he’d heard or been part of throughout his life. He paired them with his photographs and has left plans to have them published as a book.

John was preceded in death by his wife Margaret in 2015. He is survived by his children, John Mark (wife Kathy; daughter Amelia), Karen McGlone (husband Ed; children Edward and Elise) and David Kangas (wife Elaine; children Jesse, Hannah, Noelle and Joel).

His memorial service will be 1:30 p.m., Thursday, February 27, 2020 at Trinity Covenant Church in Salem.

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