John Cihota • February 27, 2019
Master Sergeant John Edward Cihota, USAF, Retired, 78, of Pensacola, Florida, peacefully passed away on February 27, 2019, surrounded by family at his home.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 10650 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, Florida (32507). A funeral mass will be held immediately following the visitation on March 5 at 6:00 pm at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Burial will take place on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at 2:00 pm at Barrancas National Cemetery on board Naval Air Station Pensacola. If you would like to attend the burial, attendees are encouraged to assemble no later than 12:55 pm at Pensacola Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home, 7433 Pine Forest Road, Pensacola, Florida (32526) for a 1:00pm departure and procession to Barrancas National Cemetery.
John was born in Mingo Junction, Ohio, to John and Anna Rose (Burch) Cihota on January 26, 1941. He graduated from Clairton High School in Clairton (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania. He married Katherine (Kay) Eknes on June 8, 1963, in San Angelo, Texas, and had two sons (John Jr. and Jerry). They divorced in 1973. John then married Lauretta (Laurie) Zemblowski on December 22, 1978, in Pensacola and had two daughters (Natalie and Diane) and one son (Thomas). John honorably served in the U.S. Air Force Security Service for 20 years and was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base San Angelo, Texas; Karamursel Air Force Base, Turkey; Darmstadt Army Base, (West) Germany; Iraklion Air Station Crete, Greece; and Pensacola. He retired in 1979 at the rank of Master Sergeant.
Following his service in the Air Force, John stayed in Pensacola and worked in telecommunications for the U.S. Department of the Navy and Electronic Data Systems (EDS). He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and master’s degree from Troy (State) University. He proudly served on the Pen Air Federal Credit Union Board of Directors for more than 30 years, including several years as chairman. He enjoyed being part of the Pen Air Federal Credit Union family.
John lived a full life. He enjoyed traveling and spending time at the beach with family and friends, babysitting his grandkids,cheering for the Steelers, coaching sports, working on his 1966 Chevy Impala convertible, attending military service and high school reunions, meeting the Saufley crew at weekly lunches, and walking Baxter daily around the neighborhood. Most of all, he cherished the time he spent with Laurie, his best friend and bride of 40 years. John will be remembered for his selfless service to others; his warm and loving personality; and his great love for God, family, friends, and country.
John is preceded in death by his father, John, and mother, Anna Rose Cihota; stepmother Mary (Ferko) Cihota; sisters Patricia (Cihota) Bellis and Sister Jean Marie Cihota, O.S.B.M; and father-in-law Waclaw Zemblowski.
John is survived by his wife Laurie; mother-in-law Antonietta Zemblowski; children John Edward (Maria) Cihota Jr., Jerry Paul Cihota, Natalie Anne (Ryan) Heitman, Diane Lynn (Curt) Cashour, and Thomas John (Kristy) Cihota; sister Mary Lynn (Joseph) Rebholz; stepsister Rita (Patrick) Joyce; grandchildren Kelsey Marie Cihota, Kathleen Anne Cihota, John Edward Cihota III, Mikayla Rae Davis, Zachary Paul Cihota, Jack Andrew Cihota, Noah Sloan Heitman, Olivia Irene Heitman, Carter Thomas Cihota, Finley Rose Heitman, Gracelynn Anne Heitman, and Charlotte Marie Cihota; nephews Brian (Catherine) Rebholz, Jason (Kate) Rebholz, Jesse (Emily) Joyce, and Matthew (Victoria) Joyce; and niece Annette Rebholz.
We are all proud to have such a wonderful, caring husband, father, brother, grandfather, and uncle. We love and will miss him very much!
Pallbearers will be John Cihota Jr., Jerry Cihota, Thomas Cihota, Ryan Heitman, Curt Cashour, John Cihota III, Brian Rebholz, and Jason Rebholz. Honorary pall bearers will be Zachary Cihota, Jack Cihota, Noah Heitman, and Carter Cihota.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in John’s name to the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, Mount St. Macrina, Uniontown, Pennsylvania (http://www.sistersofstbasil.org), who have been so dear to the Cihotas over the years. The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock; the wonderful employees at Pen Air Federal Credit Union; and his friends from over the years.