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Obituary - John William McCann

John William McCann, 85, of Amarillo, Texas, and Pagosa Springs, died Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Private burial will take place in Albuquerque.

John was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., on Dec. 11, 1924, to James Paul and Stella Page McCann. He was the youngest of six children.

He lived an idyllic childhood in Pittsburgh, where he and his dog would walk to the incline pulling his wagon to meet his father each evening, pick up the groceries and pull them home. He graduated from South Hills High School in Pittsburgh in 1943. He joined the Army Air Corps and served as an aerial gunner in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge from the Army Air Corps, he attended Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor of science in bio-chemistry in 1950. He returned to his love of flying and joined the United States Air Force. He completed his pilot training and graduated from the cadet program and earned his wings at Randolph AFB, San Antonio, Texas, and his single engine jet aircraft pilot training at Williams AFB in Chandler, Ariz. He flew F-84s in the Korean Conflict. He was involved in extensive travel and hazardous duty in Japan and Korea, and for his extraordinary achievement during this period he was awarded the Air Medal. Upon his return from Korea, he was stationed at Special Weapons Command, Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, N.M. He met and married Marilyn Breckenridge in Albuquerque and they celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary in 2009. He was a proof test pilot in the research and development of nuclear/thermonuclear weapons/devices. He was an assistant professor of air science at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Penn. He was stationed at Amarillo AFB, Ramstein AFB, Germany, Luke AFB, Ariz., until he retired. In 1968, the family moved to Amarillo where he lived the remainder of his life.

He was a Christian and a perfectionist. He expected the best from everyone and gave that to everyone in return. He enjoyed snow skiing, fishing, landscaping and was an avid fan of the Tascosa High School band. He mastered everything he attempted.

He was preceeded in death by his parents, a brother, Paul, and three sisters, Stella, Imelda and Amanda.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, three children, John W. McCann, DDS and his wife Maureen of Vancleave, Miss., Kimberly M. Hebrard and her husband Mike of Portland, Ore. and Denise M. Blanchard and her husband Hank of Amarillo; a sister, Doris Forshey, of Newark, Del., and five grandchildren: Robert Blanchard of Houston, Katie McCann of Vancleave, Miss., Andy Hebrard of St. Joseph, Mo,, Allison Smith of Gautier, Miss., and Thomas Blanchard of Amarillo. He had two great-grandchildren Austin and Evolet Smith.

The family suggests memorials be made to the Amarillo VA Medical Center, 6010 Amarillo Boulevard West, Amarillo, TX 79106.

Please sign the online guest registry at