John L. Goetz, 96, of Cedar Rapids, passed away on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at Northbrook Manor Care Center in Cedar Rapids. A visitation will be at 10 a.m.
on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home with services to immediately follow at
John Lawrence Goetz was born April 14, 1921, the second child of George and Clara Goetz. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Faye, Norma, and Lanetta; son, Larry; and wife, Elaine (Long) Goetz. He is survived by brother, Don; son, Glenn; daughter-in-law, Mary; grandchildren, Max and Hollan; and great-grandson, John Brooker.
John began doing farm work with horse-drawn equipment when he was 11. He grew up without electricity in the home, but in his teens he built a crystal set and became a radio enthusiast. From tuning into WSUI, he learned that he could study electrical engineering at the University of Iowa. He became determined to go to college and graduated from Riverside High School as valedictorian.
John paid all of his college expenses with farm work during summers and by working 21 hours a week in the UI hospitals during college. He had the top grades in his engineering class for his first three years. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Fraternity and president of Eta Kappa Nu. In July 1942, he volunteered for the Army Corps of Engineers. His military training was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Ft. Belvoir and Ft. Lewis. He served in France, Germany and the Philippines during WWII, and in Japan after. He completed his service as a staff sergeant, and during his time in the military, he received seven ribbons and a Letter of Commendation for Meritorious Service.
In March 1946 shortly after returning home, John met Elaine Long at a dance at the Highland Palace. He returned to the University of Iowa and graduated in the top 10 percent. He started at Collins Radio on July 1, 1947, and married Elaine on June 26, 1948. Their first son, Glenn, was born in 1950 and Larry was born in 1953.
John had a successful career at Collins. Arthur Collins often visited to work with him during his early years at the company. He had top-secret security clearance and worked on radios for the U-2, the X-15 and many other aircraft. He participated in the development of scrambled speech communication. He served as the president of the Collins Radio Technical Association and had many interesting trips during his career. He retired in 1985 after 38 years with the company.
In retirement, he devoted himself to his family. John and Elaine took care of son Larry at home for 18 years. John and Elaine moved to Keystone Place in 2007.
John will be remembered for his intelligence, hard work and self discipline.
Any memorials in John's honor may be made to the University of Iowa Institute of Vision Research Fund, found at www.wivr.uiowa.edu/support-gift.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.