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Col. John J. Peeler
U.S. Marine Corps retired Col. John J. Peeler passed away on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at the age of 86. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, on April 22, 1927, to Jefferson Davis and Marguerite Jefferson (Guinn) Peeler.
He graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1944. John attended Texas A&M University from 1948 to 1949 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in 1956. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17 and served aboard the USS New York during World War II. He was commissioned in 1951 and served in Korea as a platoon commander and infantry company commander, where he was twice awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Later command assignments included two rifle companies, a reconnaissance company on Okinawa, infantry battalions twice during combat in Vietnam, and finally an infantry regiment at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He also served in various staff positions including the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., and USCINCEUR Staff in Germany. His last year in the Marine Corps was as commanding officer of Camp Garcia in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Numerous other personal decorations were awarded, which included the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal w/1 Star, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal w/2 Stars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/4 Stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Silver Star, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm, and six additional unit citations. Following retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps after 30-plus years of service, he became a financial planner with IDS/American Express (Ameriprise) for 22 years before retiring in 1998. John was a member of the First Marine Division Association, the Texas Chapter of the Third Marine Division Association, Retired Officers Association, Purple Heart Association, Marine Corps League, and the Brackenridge Eagles of the Forties.
John lived a fulfilling and meaningful life, being active with his two great loves: his family and the Brotherhood of the Marine Corps. He was also very proud of his Texas heritage and took pride in preserving the land of his two South Texas ranches for future generations. Some of his fondest memories were of hunting with family, especially his cousin Johnny Morris and his interactions with his Marines, which he never forgot. In recent years, the term “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was never better demonstrated then by former Marine Mike Sohn, a true friend to the end.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Marjorie Jordahl Peeler; son John J. Peeler Jr.; sister Jeanne Peeler Moore; and son-in-law Anthony “Tony” J. Sekula.
John is survived by his three daughters, Linda Ball and husband U.S. Marine Corps retired Lt. Col. Edward J. “Rocky” Ball III, Patricia Fleming and husband Tom, and Cindy Littlefield and husband Bruce; grandchildren Edward J. “Ted” Ball IV, Rebecca Salazar and husband Gene “Sal” Scott, Michael Ball and wife Lyndsay, Shannah Watson and husband Randy Walker, Emily Krueger and husband Travis, Katie Hetzer and husband Darrell, and Megan Sekula; great-grandchildren Dallas Watson, Elizabeth Salazar, Michael Ball, Zachary Krueger, Darrell Hetzer, Faith Krueger, Lily Salazar, and Derek Hetzer.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1, from 5-8 p.m. in the Sunset Funeral Home in San Antonio.
A funeral service will be held on Monday at noon in the funeral home chapel.
Interment will follow with full U.S. Marine Corps honors in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Cancer Therapy & Research Center, 7979 Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, TX 78229, 210-450-5552; or the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675, 855-448-3997.
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