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The Last Sortie

[Photo] John E. Klika (779).

John Edward Klika, 779th

29 January 2013

[Photo] John E. Klika (779).

   John E. Klika, 91, formerly of Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, died Tuesday 29 January 2013 at his home in Spring Hill, Florida. John was born in 1921 to Lillian and George Klika in Cleveland, Ohio. He is survived by Mary, his loving wife of 70 years (nee Tindera); son John R. Klika and his wife Elisa of Newberry, Michigan; and daughter Kathleen Roberts and her husband Gary of Madison, Virginia. He was predeceased by his brothers George and Robert but is survived by several special nieces and nephews from both the Klika and Tindera families.
   John had distinguished service as a B-24 bomber pilot in the Army Air Corp during World War II, flying 50 missions across Europe and North Africa as part of the 779th Squadron, 464th Bomb Group of the Fifteenth Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 for "bringing his formation through extremely heavy enemy opposition" through "superior leadership, coordination and maintenance of strict flight discipline, and despite severe damages sustained by his aircraft."
   After the war, John continued as an Air Force reservist, retiring in 1969 as a Major. He spent his professional career of four decades as a combustion engineer at North American Manufacturing Company, beginning as an apprentice in Cleveland, Ohio and retiring as manager of the Detroit division.
   Services were held at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Spring Hill, Florida on 4 February 2013. Interment with military honors was at Florida National Cemetery at Bushnell on 5 March 2013. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), all organizations that were important to John.
   He will be missed by his family and friends and all who knew him.

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