John D. Healy, Jr. December 19, 1934 - October 14, 2019

Healy, John D. Jr., 84, of St. Paul, MN, died on October 14, 2019 on a sunny autumn afternoon, holding his wife’s hand.

Born the second of six children to John D. Healy Sr and Katherine Hicok Healy on December 19, 1934 in Houghton, Michigan. On June 14, 1958 he married Gretchen Hamar, who survives him.

Preceded in death by parents John D. Healy Sr. and Katherine Hicok Healy, stepmother Eleanor (Ellie), brothers Timothy and Peter (Becca), sister-in-law Colleen Healy, brother-in-law Juan Mentink.

Survived by “favorite wife” of 61 years Gretchen, brothers Robert (Boots) and Michael Healy (Irene), sister Mary Mentink, sisters-in-law Mary S. Healy and Ingrid Lynch, seven children Margaret (Mike) Pickard, Susan (Mehdi) Rafian, Father Daniel Healy, Paul (Tico) Healy, Joan Healy (John Andrastek), Peter (Cole) Healy, Rebecca Healy. Beloved Grandpa to 18 grandchildren: Claire, Joseph, Luke and George Pickard; Jahan, Ehsan, Paymon, Arman, and Kian Rafian; Shane and Ryan Healy; Sam, Henry, Bridget, Alice and Elizabeth Andrastek; Olin and Victoria Healy. Beloved ‘Uncle Jake’ to many nieces and nephews.

John was born in Houghton in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He and Gretchen were childhood friends and high school sweethearts. After high school, John graduated from St Thomas College in St. Paul, and then joined the U.S. Navy. After the Navy, John attended law school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. John and Gretchen were married on June 14, 1958. He spent a year clerking for the Oregon Supreme Court. In 1961, John and Gretchen settled in St. Paul to raise their family. John was a partner in the Oppenheimer Law Firm in St. Paul for 35 years. As a lifelong Catholic, his deep spiritual beliefs shaped and guided all aspects of his life. He generously spent many hours volunteering his time and talents for his church community at Nativity and various prolife and Catholic organizations. His awards and activities include: St Thomas Humanitarian of the Year Award; President of the Ramsey County Bar Association; Vice President Fort Snelling State Parks Association; President Nativity Men’s Club; President St. Paul Serra Club; Board member of the MN Physician-Patient Alliance; founding member, and President of Citizens for Community Action; International Frisbee Association charter member.

John and his three brothers created the popular game, Guts Frisbee, and hosted the first tournament in 1958. John lived the motto “work hard, play hard.”  An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed hiking, biking, camping and canoeing. He biked, and played softball and ice hockey into his 80’s.

John’s favorite and most important roles were as husband, father, and grandpa. With the onset of dementia, he started to lose his mental acuity, but he never lost his sweet and generous nature or his sense of humor. Even if he wasn’t quite sure who you were, he would greet you with a smile and a handshake!

His family sheds tears of joy and gratitude for his long and well-lived life.

Special thanks to Ehsan Rafian, Paymon Rafian, and Henry Andrastek for their loving care of Grandpa in final years.

Special gratitude to the Nativity Church community for their care and support.

The family would also like to thank the staff at the Alton and Breck Homes for their kindness and care over the last six months.

Mass of Christian Burial, 10:30 am Friday, October 18 at Nativity of Our Lord Church, 1938 Stanford Ave., St. Paul. Visitation one hour prior to Mass at the church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery.

Memorials to:

Prolife Action Ministries, 1163 Payne Ave, St. Paul, MN 55130

Prolife Across America, 2817 Anthony Lane S. #312, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Or donor’s choice.

Mass of Christian Burial, 10:30 am Friday, October 18 at Nativity of Our Lord Church, 1938 Stanford Ave., St. Paul. Visitation one hour prior to Mass at the church. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Memorials to: Prolife Action Ministries, 1163 Payne Ave, St. Paul, MN 55130 Prolife Across America, 2817 Anthony Lane S. #312, Minneapolis, MN 55418 Or donor’s choice.

Condolence(1)

  1. REPLY
    Margaret says

    Uncle Jake’s generosity, intelligence and search for new and fun adventures with his kids, nieces and nephews will never be forgotten! His cornbread and thimbleberry breakfasts are legendary. Thank you for all the wonderful memories Uncle Jake! We will miss you. XOX, Margaret Mentink-Kane

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