High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Remembering John

17 years ago today...

on the 16th
of January, 1993...
John Ettline
passed away.

John spent the last nine years of his life without Helen.

Can you imagine the strength and courage that it took for John, a man in his 80s, to go it alone...enduring the hardships of winter and keeping the Dell in operation even as the clientele became increasingly rough? How many of us could have stood up to that kind of challenge?

Things to know and remember about John:

* John never had any children of his own but he loved kids and believed in them.

*John was the oldest of eight children, four boys and four girls, and took on the responsibility of caring for his siblings.

* Shortly after marrying Helen in Texas John enlisted in the U.S. Army. Nearly 40 years of age, John was believed to be the oldest enlisted man in WWII. He was promised the cavalry but, as fate would have it, wound up in a communications unit. John’s unit referred to him as Pops. John attained the rank of sergeant, served in the European Theatre, and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. John was hit in the head with shrapnel and ordered to go home but he reportedly refused to leave his men.

* John was a card shark, a gambler, and a wheeler dealer – a larger-than-life type of person – a colorful, loveable, and memorable character.

* Am I my brother’s keeper? To that question, John Ettline boldly answered “Yes!” To John, a friend in need is a friend indeed was more than a familiar old proverb, it was a policy statement – they were the words that John lived by. John was known to give financial aid to friends who were down on their luck or owed money to unsavory individuals. Neighbor helping neighbor was the John Ettline philosophy. John and Helen opened their doors and opened their hearts to troubled youth, battered women and others who needed their support. John and Helen walked their talk.

* As a member of his family expressed it, "John was loved and respected by everyone he came in contact with...especially his family. He offered love, guidance and advice to anyone who would give him the respect and listen.”

Please take a moment and watch this video
as we honor the memory of Mr. John Ettline.

John, you were the King of all Dell Rats.
If we have anything to say about it
you and Helen will always be remembered!

We love you and miss you, John!


  1. brought a tear to my eye..John was a person I could never forget. He helped me do a school project one year about WWII and he sat and talked to me for hours about it. He and I would talk for hours anytime. Such a great man. Once he gave me money to go with everyone else to the fair. What an awesome human he was~

  2. Many of us have similar stories about John's generous nature - a generosity that went far beyond financial aid. John offered shelter and protection. He imparted wisdom and shared advice. He gave freely of his time and listened to us. He gave every kid a second chance and made every one of us feel important. Thank you very much for your comment!


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