John Walter Kearney, 75, passed from his earthly home on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, with his loving family surrounding him. John was born in Sweetwater, TX, on July 15, 1937, to Dovie and Burice Kearney. He was an only child and his parents loved him dearly.
He graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1955. In 1955 his 4-H Club won the State 4-H Judging Contest and went to Nationals. John placed 9th overall at National. He attended San Angelo Junior College 1955-1957; graduated from Sul Ross University, Alpine, in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science in Range Animal Husbandry. In 1961, he received his Master of Education from Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville. While in Huntsville, John met Sue Ann Gibbs and swept her off her feet. The two of them eloped on the way to his first agriculture teaching assignment in Marfa, TX, on Sept. 1, 1961. All three of their children were born in the area: Karen, John Jr. (Bub) and Rebecca (Becky). The family spent 16 years in Marfa and loved every minute.
In 1977, the family moved to Sterling City where he taught agriculture for another 16 years. In 1993, John retired from teaching, but did not retire from working. He was at Howard College in Big Spring for eight years then moved to ASU as half time with Texas Education Agency monitoring new agriculture instructors and half time with the ASU Agriculture Department for two years. He worked as PR for Winnersâ€™ Edge and then SureFedFeeds asked John to become their sheep specialist and he did so with honor. John and Sue Ann worked many years with a FFA Fundraiser, RiverStarFarms. This helped John stay in touch with his many ag teaching friends. With their children married and away from home, John and Sue moved to San Angelo. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this year.
In Johnâ€™s many years as an agriculture teacher, he received many awards and had the opportunity to represent the agriculture industry in numerous ways. His students had Grand Lamb, Grand Reserve Lamb in every major show in Texas: El Paso, Sandhills, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and San Angelo. In 1975, the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisersâ€™ Association awarded John Outstanding Agriculture Instructor and then in 2005 they awarded him the Special Achievement award. John has had the privilege to judged shows from California to North Carolina from Iowa to Texas.
John did not have a hobby â€” you might say his family, friends, stock shows, lambs, goats were his hobbies. He was the official announcer for the Fort Worth Lamb Show, San Antonio Lamb Show, Houston Lamb and Goat Show and the San Angelo Lamb Show. He was instrumental in beginning the Agriculture Mechanics Show and the Fall Spectacular with the San Angelo Stock Show Association. He started the Howard College Lamb and Goat Clinics. He promoted the youth anyway he could. He also announced many AJRA and collegiate rodeos in his early years.
John is survived by his wife, Sue Ann; children, Karen and husband, Gil Komechak, Ozona; John Kearney Jr. (Bub) and wife Melissa, Burleson; and Rebecca and husband Russell Kott, Junction. Also, 10 grandchildren: Kesha and husband Steven, Sonora; Benny, Austin; Karley, Sonora; Lyndsey, Ozona; Cade and Zach, Burleson; Tamra and Caleb, Junction; Matthew and wife Jayme, San Angelo; Russel, Irran; four beautiful granddaughters: Sage and Stevie, Sonora; Masiela, Sonora; Kasiebel, Ozona. He is also survived by many cousins and friends everywhere.
His service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at the San Angelo Spur Arena, with a visitation immediately following in the foyer of the Spur Arena. Burial will be in the Palava Cemetery, north of Sweetwater at 4 p.m. Pallbearers will be his grandchildren: Caleb Kott; Cade and Zach Kearney; Benny Fraser Matthew and Russel Komechak. Johnson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
The family would like to thank Hospice of San Angelo for their compassionate support and understanding. Donations may be made to Hospice of San Angelo, 64 West Twohig, San Angelo, 76903 Area II FFA Association, PO Box 60, VanCourt, 76955.
Family and friends may sign the online guest book at www.johnsons-funeralhome.com.