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John M. Wolff

January 2, 1928 ~ March 24, 2018 (age 90)
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John M. Wolff of Scottsdale died peacefully in his sleep at his home March 24, 2018, at the age of 90. John, known as Jack to his friends, was born January 2, 1928, in Clayton, Saint Louis, Missouri, the son of John M. Wolff Jr. and Florence L. Christmann. In 1946 he moved to California, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1949 from San Diego State College in Mechanical Engineering. After college he joined the Navy, and completed his qualification as an aircraft carrier pilot. He was a decorated combat pilot during the Korean war, flying off the U.S.S. Essex with squadron VF-821 from 1952-1953, earning two air medals. When the war ended, he returned to California, where he married Martha (nee Cargill) on July 21,1953, in San Diego. He continued his Navy career, receiving a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1955, and a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1956. He flew off the U.S.S. Kearsarge with squadron VF-194 from 1957-1958, and served as operations officer on the U.S.S. Midway from 1959-1960. In 1975, he received the Presidential Management Improvement Award from President Gerald Ford while commanding the Naval Air Rework Facility at Naval Air Station Alameda in California. After his retirement from the Navy in 1975, with the rank of Captain, and from private industry in 1984, he and his wife Martha moved to Scottsdale. As residents of Arizona for 33 years, together they enjoyed the symphony and art galleries, until Martha’s death in 2014. He retained his love of airplanes, building and flying radio-controlled models. He had a longtime interest in astronomy, and was a supporter of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. He is survived by daughter Sharon (Neil) Van Natta, son Mike Wolff and his fiancée Theresa Mastrogiovanni, daughter Debbie (Ken) Michel, grandchildren Rachel (Ryan) Decker, Austin Michel and Emily Michel, great-granddaughter Coraline Decker, sister Joy (Frank) Wili, five nieces and nephews, as well as many friends. Jack was preceded in death by his sister Dot Nahlik. Special thanks from the family to his friend and caregiver Justus Kunyiha Mureithi, as well as his friends Pat and Dave Sauer, for their care and support in his final years. He was greatly loved and will be missed.
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