John Wilhelm Gilbertson

July 4, 1945 - June 7, 2020
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On Sunday, June 7th of 2020, John Wilhelm Gilbertson, 74, passed away at his home in Irving, Tx. John was born in Traverse City, Michigan to Frederick Wilhelm Gilbertson and Margaret Elizabeth Lawson. He had three siblings, Marlene, Sharon, and Steve, and also had two half-siblings, Dick and Elaine. Unfortunately, Dick, Elaine, and Sharon preceded John in death.

As a child, John worked long and hard days helping his father on the family farm and as he grew older his already strong work ethic grew even stronger. When he entered the workforce, he tried his hand at a variety of jobs before he found a passion for mechanical work. In the beginning, he would work as a mechanic for various car dealers and when he moved to Texas in the 1970’s John hired on as a mechanic for Lion Country Safari. In 1976, John went to work for the City of Irving as their Heavy Equipment Mechanic. Big John, as he was affectionately called, worked there for twenty-eight years before retiring in 2004. During his time with the City of Irving, he made a lot of friends that he treasured very much.

To know John was to love him. He was a man of large stature, standing at 6’1, and had an even larger heart. Therefore, in the eyes of his family, John was a giant among men and was truly larger than life. He was also a strong, wise, and compassionate man. A man who was well-respected and looked up to. John was always willing to lend an ear, hand or some good old fashioned advice. However, he didn’t mince words. John told you what he thought and what he thought you needed to hear. He was also a firm believer in two things: You kept your word, especially if you shook on it and that life was a cruel teacher because it gave you the test before the lesson.

He also loved to tease and joke with his family and friends. There was never a dull moment with him around. John always had a comeback or a joke that only he could get away with at any given situation. It made the stories about his misadventures as a young adult fascinating and interesting to his grandchildren. They also made very funny side commentary during reruns of Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and other westerns.

John was very much a family man as well. His family was his pride and joy, especially his grandkids. He took joy in watching his family grow and make their own ways in life. John also loved hearing about his family in Michigan, and his first wife, Linda, made sure to keep him up to date with all the news from up north. Linda and John had three children together: Johnny, Bradley (Buddy), and Kristy. Sadly, Johnny and Buddy both preceded John in death. John also has two grandchildren from Kristy: Tracy and Tara, and they in turn gave him four great-grandchildren: Mason, Mitchell, Riley, and Amelia. When John married his second wife, Dorothy, she already had three children, Brenda, Lisa, and Kevin. However, only Brenda and Kevin were alive at the time John and Dorothy were married and he loved both children very much. Sadly, he was preceded in death by both Dorothy (his wife of forty-two years) and Kevin. Brenda would go on to give him two more grandchildren, Rebecca and Johnathon. John watched with pride as his grandchildren carved out their own paths and grew into the people they are today. Rebecca, though soon gave him his pride and joy in Lucas, or as John called him Punkiedoodle. Lucas and John were two peas in a pod and their faces would brighten up every time they saw each other. John loved his family with everything he had and his family (sibling in-laws included) loved him just as much.

A memorial service for John will be held on Friday, June 19th, 2020 at Chism-Smith Funeral Home at 1 pm.

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