John Hong, 58, of Destin, FL, passed away at his home Monday, September 16, 2019, surrounded by his family after a long cancer journey. John was born in Dobb’s Ferry, NY, on December 20, 1960 and grew up in New Jersey and Orlando, FL. John was preceded in death in 2004 by his father Theodore Chin Hong and in 2012 by his mother Seouhee “Sue” Hong. John is survived by his wife and partner of 27 years Mary (Schmiedicke) Hong and by their twin children Rain Hong and Kai Hong, age 12. He is also survived by his brother Robert of Tokyo, Japan, and many aunts, uncles and cousins in the United States and Korea. John served as a Captain in the United States Air Force and flew the KC-135 Sratotanker between 1981 and 1988 and was recognized by the 22nd Air Refueling Squadron for outstanding service. After his time in the service, John became a First Officer with Northwest Airlines and then Delta Airlines, flying internationally and serving two terms as a representative in the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). John enjoyed traveling the world and most especially the camaraderie of his fellow pilots and crews. The highlight of John’s career was being based in Honolulu for 14 years flying wide-body trips to Asia and beyond. He and Mary formed lifelong friendships and memories during their time there.
John’s greatest sources of pride were his children Kai and Rain who brought him endless entertainment and joy. He bore his responsibility as a father nobly and gave great attention to their care, education, artistic pursuits, hobbies, and happiness. When they were babies, John would jokingly refer to his children as “food-to-noise converters” John was amazed as they developed into talented pianists and artists, chess whizzes, card sharks, sailors, and funny, bright-hearted, gifted souls. He loved them as true angels in his life and the one thing on planet earth he wasn’t quite ready to leave.
The painful stages of John’s journey were not only brightened by his children but also by the humor and dedication of his colleagues and friends, the real and virtual co-pilots from his professional and personal life who became the quickest and surest sources of laughter for him on the darkest of days.
John also an avid collector of electronic gadgets at a bargain price, and was proud of his frugality. In spite of his notorious bargain shopping, he was well known for his generosity, gifting his bargain deals to many grateful recipients. He truly enjoyed taking care of friends and family in every way with dinners out, lively conversation, genuine interest in our goings-on, with his wit and wisdom throughout.
John’s family extends its heartfelt thanks for the compassionate and professional care he received from Dr. Mose Hayes and his staff at Sacred Heart Oncology; Dr. Kasi at the Mayo Clinic- Jacksonville; Alyssa, Tracey and staff at Emerald Coast Hospice; and Katherine and staff at Destin Health Care and Rehabilitation. The care and humanity you all showed John and his family was exceptional and a blessing to us.
We will remember John for his strong sense of justice, his folly in pointing on the idiosyncrasies (idiocies) in the world around him, his love and pursuit of good sushi, good massages, and anything related to his second-home Hawaii, especially his expansive Hawaiian shirt collection. John brought us all humor with his dry sarcasm, comfort of the pure generous heart sort, gadget advice, a few conspiracy theories, and, when he beat you in a verbal spar, the purest smile of simple joy at winning the argument. Dearest John, we miss you already. Aloha. Mahalo. A hui hou.
Arrangements are being coordinated with Davis-Watkins Funeral Home in Miramar Beach. Services for John Hong will be Thursday, September 19 at 11am at Saint Rita’s Catholic Church, 137 Moll Dr, Santa Rosa Beach, FL followed by a catered reception and celebration of life that same day from 4:30 to 6:30 at Pavilion F at Henderson State Park in nearby Destin, FL. Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops welcome. A burial service will be held in Hawaii in November.
A fund has been established for Kai and Rain at https://www.gofundme.com/f/hong-children-scholarship-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet
Hi Everyone! Thank you so much for reaching out, being with us, celebrating with us and surrounding us with God’s grace. We are very humbled. I just wanted to amend the obituary slightly to note that we will not be burying John in November. It’s just too hard for me to get that all together with two kids in school. I’m shooting for Mid March 2020. It will still happen at Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific (John and I lived near there for many years!!) I will update this site as well as my blog and the funeral home’s obit too. Plz share pictures and stories on the gofundme.com site for Kai and Rain’s educational fund. I love all the old pictures! It’s amazing. With gratitude..