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John E. Warling

April 20, 1950 – February 9, 2020

John Eugene Warling, age 69, of Grants Pass, Oregon, passed away from cancer on February 9, 2020.

John was born on April 20, 1950 to parents John Ferd Warling and Anita Joann Billger Warling in Piqua, Ohio. He was the younger brother to his only surviving sibling, Barbara. In the 50’s, the family left Piqua for a Marine base in North Carolina, and eventually settled in Vista, California. Warling graduated from Vista High in 1968 and got accepted to UCLA. Eventually, he transferred to ASU in Tempe, AZ where he graduated with a BS in Science & minor in History, in 1974.

Warling began teaching at Mayfield Senior school in Pasadena, CA in late 1976, but feeling all but lost about his path in life, he parted with all of his possessions except for his guitar, intending to enter into the Dominican brotherhood. Upon being invited to a Mayfield party hosted at the Poxon family home in Pasadena, he first set his eyes upon future wife, Angela Mehren. The two fell in love quickly and were married in June of 1978. Warling continued on his teaching path, and in 1980, they had their first child, Melanie. The trio briefly moved to beautiful Sequoia National Forest for John to teach, but returned to Pasadena when John was hired to teach at Horace Mann School in Beverly Hills, CA. In 1983, the family expanded again with son, Colin. By 1987, the family settled in the fresh new town of Valencia, CA.

John continued teaching life science at various junior high schools in LA county, and eventually got hired by the William S. Hart district in 1995. Two years into his tenure, the district had a growing need for history teachers. In 1997, Warling transitioned into teaching US History (early years through Civil War) at Placerita Jr. High. During this time, he got a Masters of Education at the University of La Verne.

Intending to spice up his class curriculum, he sought a Civil War reenactor to speak to his classes and was later invited to participate at a battle reenactment at Fort Tejon. Having enjoyed it so much, John and Colin began Civil War reenacting regularly as part of the 3rd Georgia Infantry. By the time he had retired from teaching, he had created what became well known on the Placerita campus as “Civil War Day,” a day when all of the 8th grade classes put their curriculums on hold to participate in an enormous “living history” display which included well over 50 civil war reenactors, cannons, horses, hospital tents, infantry, women’s clothing and roles, and far more.

Career aside, John was a lover of music. From the mid 60’s on, he could be found playing his guitar and singing with at least one other friend. In the early 80’s, “music night” became a regular weekly staple in the Warling living room - a tradition that lasted 30 years. He passed his passion for music to both Melanie and Colin, who both took piano lessons in the early 90’s. Colin eventually began playing regularly with the living room “band” at age 12. Both Melanie and Colin are still musicians and well-versed music lovers. John loved taking his family to concerts and enjoyed countless unbelievable celebrity encounters. He was also a bagpiper and could be found playing the pipes at various events, including weddings and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at local restaurants in Santa Clarita Valley.

Nature, camping, and traveling were also among his passions. His favorite place in the world was Grant Grove in Sequoia National Park. It was probably the most favorite vacation place of the Warling family. His other favorite places to visit were the Kern River, the East Coast, Boston, D.C., Civil War & Revolutionary War battlefields, and the British Isles. John and Angela were lucky enough to see the Queen of England in person on each of their only two trips to the Isles, once in Dublin, Ireland, and again in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 2009, Warling took early retirement, and with wife Angela, left for a simpler life in Grants Pass, OR. There, he and Angela made a tight knit group of friends that shared in many interests including music and wine tasting. John made so many friends along his journey and had a knack for making others feel included and special. He was also a thoughtful practical joker and had a way of bringing people out of their shells. He is survived by his wife (of 42 years) Angela, son Colin, daughter Melanie (husband Rob Scott), and two lovely and gifted grandchildren, Natalie and Elliott. Both grandchildren are also budding musicians, inspired by their “Papa”. John passed away on the 56th anniversary of the Beatles playing Ed Sullivan in 1964, the day that kicked off the British Invasion of Rock ‘n’ Roll, his absolute favorite music genre.

A Celebration of Life will take place on Zoom on Sunday, August 22, 2020 from 1pm - 4pm. An invitation to this virtual event will be emailed and posted to this page.