John R. Lawhead, 89, of Greenfield, passed away Aug. 25, 2015. He was born Feb. 2, 1926, in Frankfort, Ind. He was the youngest of 7 children born to Ross Lawhead and Della (Dove) Lawhead. He attended Frankfort High School and enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 in 1943.
As a Parachute Rigger, he served in the South Pacific during WW II and in Japan during the Korean War. During his Navy career, John was in the first group of Navy Test Parachutists. He made, packed and jumped 36 times to test those parachutes that would be used by Navy pilots. He designed a quick release that was patented by the Navy which enabled pilots, who had to eject from their aircraft, to disengage from their chutes in an emergency situation. At the end of 20 years in the Navy, he retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 1963. After the Navy, he worked for Roberts Dairy, Allison Transmission and at Mt. Vernon Middle School before fully retiring in 1988. He was a member of the American Legion Post 391 and the Fleet Reserve.
He liked traveling with his wife, Sue and they enjoyed visiting old military friends in Hawaii and Newfoundland. He also enjoyed watching movies, woodworking and vintage cars.
He is survived by his wife, of 58 years, Sue (Hanna) Lawhead; daughters, Terry (Tim) Kelly, Paula (Bruce Gibson) Lawhead and Lori Moss; five grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, at Seals Funeral Home, Fortville. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. Burial will follow at Gravel Lawn Cemetery, Fortville.
Memorial donations may be made to: Hancock Regional Hospital Hospice Unit.