John A. Kellas, age 74, passed away peacefully Thursday, August 17 th surrounded by family. He was the husband of Rita Gingras whom he shared 47 years of marriage. John was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. John attended Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, CA where he excelled as a long distance runner. In 1968, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and proudly served his country for 12 years. While stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, he met and married his wife Rita. After his miliary service, John continued his career with the Air Force Flight Test Center and NASA at Edwards AFB, CA as a civilian. Career highlights include planning and installing new telecommunications requirements and systems being brought to Edwards and Plant 42; spectrum support of all Air Force activity in and around the R-2508 test range complex; Space Shuttle support; Chairman of the Range Commanders Council Frequency Management Group (RCC FMG); Chairman of the IEEE Technical Committee Spectrum Management; bringing fiber optics to the base, and he claimed other top secret things (we can’t tell you about those because he wouldn’t tell us either). He proudly supported and participated in the 1925 th Comm Squadron Booster Club including years of open house and airshow events. He retired from civil service on December 2, 2003.
Always ready to take on the next challenge, he also became a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do martial arts and completed his Bachelor of Science Degree by attending school on nights and weekends.
John enjoyed spending time with family. He often supported the local youth organizations his children were involved in and hosted oh so many pool parties for friends and family. He loved showing everyone the crack in the pool and serving mudslides to us in the jacuzzi. At home, you could find him in the garage tinkering on cars or prepping the backyard for pool fun, barbeques, and fireworks. If he wasn’t home or helping someone else, you could find him at the local movies, enjoying a large popcorn and a diet coke. If you were sitting with him at the table, he would offer you gum (cinnamon) and he would be drumming along to the beat of music. John was always the life of the party! He enjoyed spontaneity, long drives rocking to music and making the largest breakfasts possible for family and friends. He loved Calvin and Hobbes comics and ‘dad jokes’. He enjoyed bowling, good food, razzing family and friends, and playing cards (when he won). John had a deep love of faith and showed his acts of service through his involvement with Our Lady of Lourdes Church and the Knights of Columbus where he became a 4 th Degree Knight, was a member of the Color Guard, always donated fruit and helped with the Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets to the community, chaired the yearly youth Basketball Free Throw Contests and was instrumental in resurrecting Bingo – still available there every Thursday night!
He is survived by his soulmate of 47 years, Rita who lovingly cared for him in the years after his car accident in December 2015; his daughter Kristy, her husband Scott, and their two children Kaya and Kateri of Newbury Park, CA; his daughter Ellie Kellas of Las Vegas, NV; his sister Betsy Kellas and Rocky Gonzales of Whittier, CA; his sister Cathy Johnson of South Gate, CA; his brother Carl (Tooter) Kellas and Verna of Lancaster, CA, his brother Don Cowan and Janet of Edwardsville, IL; his brother Dung Nguyen and Nga of Oklahoma City, OK; his sister in law Irene Boisvert and Ronald Pivik of Tamarac, Fl; his sister in law Claire Taylor and Walter Niemaszyk of Dracut, MA; his brother in law Roland Gingras of Pepperell, MA; and his brother in law Paul Gingras and Adina of Litchfield, NH; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and all the friends and acquaintances.
John is preceded in death by his parents, Seymana and Earl Jester and Carl Kellas and his sister Karin Kellas.
A Celebration of Life will be at the Reardon Funeral Home, 511 N A Street, Oxnard on Wednesday August 23 rd from 4 to 9pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at Santa Clara Catholic Church, 323 S E Street, Oxnard on Thursday August 24 th at 10am. Portions of the Celebration of Life and the Mass will be livestreamed and can be accessed through John’s memorial page on the Funeral Home website. The family wishes that in lieu of flowers a donation be made in John’s name to the Triumph Foundation at www.supporttriumph.org. The Triumph Foundation provides assistance to people in the paralysis community. The Triumph Foundation were incredibly supportive to John and Rita – providing emotional support, equipment, and a community of people who showed life and joy continue. 501(c)(3) non- profit organization Tax ID#26-3295161.