John Malcolm Dryke, 98 of Maplewood, MN passed away peacefully in his sleep February 26, 2018 at Regions Hospital, St. Paul, MN. John was born October 5, 1919 in East Duluth, in the home of his parents, John F and Grace Dryke.
John graduated from Duluth Central High School, he then joined the Marines in May 1940 and served during WWII. He was awarded the Purple Heart and received an Honorable Discharge in 1945. John absolutely loved his career as a Railroad Engineer spanning from 1945-1990. He worked for the Northern Pacific, Burlington Northern and Amtrak. He never lost his love for Railroading; especially steam engines, and was always willing to share stories of his rail adventures.
John lived in Hermantown many years and raised his family there. He was an animal lover and avid hobby farmer, tended large gardens and cared for many animals. He dearly loved to travel and took his family on annual educational adventure vacations throughout the US, to National Parks and Wildlife areas to enjoy and learn. John was a Hermantown Volunteer Fireman for over twenty years, and a lifetime member of the Duluth American Legion and the Brainerd VFW.
One of John’s greatest honors was to travel to Washington DC in 2017 with the Twin Cities Honor Flight Network and to have met many incredible people.
As a resident of a Maplewood retirement community, he was loved for his happy demeanor and vivid stories. Although John didn’t achieve his dream of reaching the age of 100, his life was adventure-packed, active and fulfilled enough for two 98 year lives. Some of his last words were “I lived a long and good life” and “I am at peace”.
John is survived by his wife of 68 years, Helen Marie Dryke; five children, Kate Dryke (Tim), Los Angeles, CA, Susan Kjeldahl (Jeff), Lake Crystal, Elizabeth Dryke (Greg), Little Canada, Charles Dryke (James), Aurora, CO, and Andrew Dryke, Colorado Springs, CO; two grandchildren, Wyatt Kjeldahl, Minneapolis, and Jillian Dryke, Denver, CO; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 pm on Monday, March 5, 2018 at Bell Brothers Funeral Home, 601 N. 56th Ave. W. Duluth with a visitation starting at 11:00 am. Interment will take place at Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery with Military Honors by the Duluth Honor Guard. Please leave a memory of John or words of support for his family at www.bellbrothersfuneralhome.com