Edwin John Vilter

John was born August 31, 1929 in Chicago Illinois, the only child of Edwin and Rosalie Vilter. He was Premature at birth, weighing only two pounds, and survived in an era when few preemies did. From the time he was four years old John joined his father, Zippy the Clown, as Zippy Jr. performing as a clown magician at political rallies, parties and picnics all over the Chicago area. For over twenty years he performed and this was the way in which he worked his way through college. He attended St. Pascal Elementary School, serving long hours as an altar boy at Mass. He graduated from DePaul University with a B.S. in chemistry and an M.S. in Physical Chemistry. In 1953 during the Korean War he volunteered to serve in the Air Force and Married Irene Bradtke as he began his service. He served at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, at Sandia Base in New Mexico (where son Steven was born), at Westover Strategic Air Command Base in Massachusetts, and at McClelland Air Force Base in Sacramento (where son David was born).
After three years as a nuclear officer he left the Air Force as a 1st Lieutenant and returned to Chicago (where son Daniel was born). Work in the aerospace industry followed, installing and managing Cobalt 60 radiation sources at Cook Electric in Chicago and in 1958 at Aerojet General in Azusa California. He was part of the managerial support staff there until the first moon landing. He earned his M.B.A. at the University of Southern California and for several years he ran his own company doing business and occupational counseling.
His lifelong interest was in education. He was a prized mentor and teacher to his accomplished sons. Heavily involved in Boy Scout activities when his sons were young, he taught adult scout leaders and was given the Silver Beaver Award. He taught chemistry while in college and taught small business management, organization and marketing at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut California for twenty years.
John had varied and much loved interests in the community. He was a founding member of the Charter Oak Chamber of Commerce and a long member of the Covina Chamber of Commerce. For several years he served on the board of the Visiting Nurses Association. He also served as the chairman of the board of Valley Light Industries, a sheltered workshop in Covina for many years. A member of Rotary International for decades he helped run the Special Olympics held yearly at Mount San Antonio College. He delivered Meals on Wheels for years until he himself could no longer walk without support. Degenerative arthritis forced him to inactivity, which ultimately caused his death February 14, 2004 due to Pneumonia.
An unforgettable presence in the lives of his family and friends, who gave freely of himself, his love and his time, he is deeply missed.

This is an old newspaper photo of dad looking the way I remember in my childhood.You have to imagine his red hair.


Mom prepared the biography to the right for the funeral.


A few more
Photos

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