- About Us
John A DragonOctober 4, 1922 ~ December 14, 2017 (age 95)
John A. Dragon passed away peacefully on December 14, 2017 at the Harrogate Health Center in Lakewood, NJ. John was born on October 4, 1922 and lived in Dunellen, NJ until he retired in 1987. John attended Dunellen High School and upon graduation he enlisted into the Army where he trained to be a gunner on a mobile field artillery unit. He achieved the rank of Gunner Corporal and joined the war effort. Arriving at the completion of the North African campaign, John served during the invasion of Sicily by providing support to the infantry units with a 90mm anti-aircraft gun crew. In January 1943, John took part in the Allied Invasion of Anzio, Italy. Horrific combat conditions were endured by both Allied and enemy soldiers. While neither side was able to defeat the other, artillery barrages continued without any warning for days, weeks and even months. The situation did not improve until May. It is estimated that some 26,000 GI’s suffered P.T.S.D. at Anzio. They called them “Non-combat casualties.” Some men experienced temporary symptoms, while many others carried this burden for the rest of their lives. After the war ended, John returned home, met and married the love of his life, Helen Hmieleski. Joined together on Thanksgiving 1947, they brought 3 boys into the world Jack, Roger and Rick. John learned how to be a skilled carpenter. He then started a business and for 35 years he worked doing housing additions and remodeling as Dunellen Builders, Inc. As a successful entrepreneur, John joined the Rotary International Club, eventually serving as President of the Greenbrook-Dunellen chapter. When the Rotary scheduled their annual convention to Rome, Italy John used this opportunity to return to Anzio and pay his respects to his buddies that did not get to come home – a promise he made to himself 35 years earlier.
John loved to fish and shared the joy of catching fish with family and friends by taking them out on his boat, the “GYPSY DRAGON.” He would often venture out into the salt marsh of Barnegat Bay to trap killies. These were the little fish that he used to catch the bigger ones.
John was predeceased by his beloved wife of 69 years. He was a true warrior, die-hard that really did not know how to give up and quit. Time and again John amazed us all, the doctors and nurses, patient aides and therapists, family and friends. We watched him navigate the gauntlets of illness, sorrow and pain. He would come out the other side ready to fight the next demon. He was the most demanding boss and the most loving Dad. He will be missed by his 3 sons and their lovely wives, Karen, Maureen and Donna as well as 9 grandchildren that enjoyed him as much as he enjoyed them…Amy, Mark, Mike and Jaclyn, Alicia, Timmy and Thomas, Devin and Luke and his 2 great grandkids, Annmarie and Jack.
Services will be held at Sheenan Funeral Home, 233 Dunellen Avenue, Dunellen, NJ, Thursday, 12/21/17 from 4-7 pm. Funeral to be held on Friday, 12/22/17 at St. John the Evangelist Church, 317 First Street, Dunellen, NJ at 8:30 a.m. Burial following at 10:30 am at Brigadier General Doyle Cemetery, 350 Province Line Road, Wrightstown, NJ. Repass will follow the cemetery service: location TBA. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Disabled American Veterans, Ocean County Chapter #24, P.O. Box 1806, Toms River, NJ 08754.