John Thomas Botsford

Cemetery Record Information

Full Name: John Thomas Botsford


Birth: August 22, 1948
Death: November 18, 2016
Age: 68
Veteran: ETN3 U.S. Navy, Vietnam



On the evening of November 18th 2016 John Thomas Botsford went on to eternal peace following a long valiant battle against cancer. He was born in Janesville Wisconsin on August 22, 1948, the firstborn son of Thomas and Dorothy(Snyder) Botsford. He was later joined by five siblings: Bill, Joe, Mary Ann, Paul and Bob. Together they grew up right next to the Rock River in Janesville.

Their childhood was storied and lively, full of activity. During his youth, John was an Order of the Arrow Boy Scout, an altar boy, a member of a boy's choir (where he learned he could hit D above high C), a state qualifying wrestler and a competitive rollerskate dancer. He graduated from Janesville High School in 1966. As a young adult, he was a member if the Rock Aqua Jays ski club where he showcased his barefooting and stunt jumping skills.

In January of 1972, he married Mary H. Ruppe. Their union lasted 26 years and produced five children: Kristine, Shawn, Elizabeth, Mary Sarah and Kathryn Rose. Early in the marriage John enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving 2 1/2 years as an Electronics Technician during the end of the Vietnam War. While he was enlisted his young family resided in California near his Naval Base.

When his Navy days came to an end, he tried his hand at a variety of new skills which included building a house from the ground up, studying Naturopathic Medicine and Neuromuscular Massage, volunteering as a fireman and EMT and working for a brief period as a Forest Ranger.

In the mid 1980's, he moved his family back to Wisconsin settling in Lancaster and went to work for the State of Wisconsin Job Service where his primary job was finding jobs for disabled military Veterans. He did that for many years before taking a short lived job at the Janesville GM plant. After that, he revisited his massage therapy roots and also began roller-skating again. This led him to Fond du Lac where he met and fell in love with his Special Sweetheart Eunice. For many years, they skated, skied, danced and had many wonderful adventures.

Education had always been important to John. He had studied various things over the years, obtained a degree in massage therapy, a CNA license, but not content he continued. In 2012 he achieved a Bachelor's degree in Human Resources Leadership from UW Oshkosh. He was so proud to cross that graduation stage. A feat all the more sweeter, because he had already begun his first cancer fight and treatment made it tentative as to whether he'd be able to participate.

Always at home on the water (having grown up next to a river and being in the Navy), you could often find him either on one of his boats, swimming after his boat (that's a story in itself), or hanging out at the local yacht club. He was frequently the first to initiate many water activities like water-skiing, pontooning, canoeing, sailing etc.

Through the compassion of good people, John was given the opportunity late in December 2015 to fullfill one of his bucket list dreams. He and Eunice traveled to Vienna, Austria to attend a spectacular New Year's Eve Ball at the Kaiser Palace. While they were there they also visited many of the places made famous by The Sound of Music (his favorite movie).

Some of his additional life achievements include: Working with aboriginal tribes in Australia during his Human Services Training and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. He initiated, wrote and presented a massage therapy law to the Wisconsin State Congress and Senate, which eventually was implemented. He was a team leader, Overseeing and providing massage services at the 2002 Olympics and Paralympics in Salt Lake City. He worked as a Ski Patrol / Instructor at Little Switzerland. He successfully delivered two of his daughter in home births. He was a Wisconsin delegate for AMTA conferences. John was a self-taught yodeler who was always willing to share that skill.

Those that knew him well will remember him as strong, loving, tender, friendly, playful, a man of faith, an adventurer, a beautiful singer, a graceful dancer/skater, a skilled masseuse, determined (even bull - headed at times), with an infectious laugh and a corny sense of humor.

John is survived by his daughters: Kristine Botsford, Elizabeth Towsley, Mary Sarah Botsford; brothers: Bill (Ann) Botsford , Joe (Patty) Botsford, Paul Botsford (Val), Bob Botsford; sister: Mary Ann (Bob) Frei; Special Sweetheart: Eunice Scheberl; Sisters in Law: Mary C. Botsford and Wendy Botsford; the mother of his children, Mary H. Botsford; Grandkids: Austin Carl, Jordan & Dominic Botsford, Tristin, Tyler & Winter Towsley, Donavin Botsford, Richie Towsley and Emmarie Thoma.

He is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews, Eunice 's children: Susan (Joe) Hammang, Scott (Kara) Scheberl, Todd Scheberl (Jill) and Sandi (Brian) Pischel, an extended family of Eunice 's grandkids which he loved as his own, and many special cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by: A son, Shawn T Botsford, An infant daughter, Kathryn Rose Botsford, his parents, Thomas and Dorothy ( Snyder) Botsford, and a son in law: Carl C Towsley.

Visitation: The family will receive relatives and friends at the Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 E Division Street, Fond du Lac, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 from 4:00 PM until 6:45 PM.

Service: At 7:00 PM on Tuesday, November 22, at Zacherl Funeral Home, there will be a funeral celebration of John's life. Burial at St. Mary's Cemetery, Lomira, will take place on Wednesday, November 23.


St. Mary’s Cemetery – Lomira, WI

Headstone Location:
Section B, Row 20