John L. Birgel died Jan. 1, 2014, at Alaska Regional Hospital, at the age of 59. He was born in Ohio on Jan. 8, 1954. John resided in Homer with his wife Patricia and stepdaughter Kayla Frances.
A celebration of life service was held on his birthday, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. by his church family at the Christian Community Church in Homer at 3838 Bartlett Street. It was officiated by Tim Steiner.
John moved to Homer in 2011, where he met Patricia, who had recently relocated from Mississippi. He said “he had to come all the way across the world to meet the love of his life.” They were married in July of 2013 when he was also blessed with a stepdaughter, Kayla. John spent much time with Kayla during the season while he was off work due to a work-related injury. He shared his love of cooking with Kayla and taught her to cook.
John had his first job on a boat at the age of 18 and his mother said, “He has been on a boat ever since.” He spent many years squid fishing in California on one of two boats he built by himself from scratch. He worked most recently as a boat captain in Alaska. John also loved to hog hunt in California and was an avid sport fisherman. He served in the National Guard.
John won his first battle with leukemia in 2003 at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California where he is still fondly remembered. John was always ready to lend a helping hand and give all that he could to others in need.
His family and friends are comforted to know that John is home with Jesus now. He passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife after experiencing complications from chemotherapy. Most of his ashes will be scattered by friends in his favorite fishing hole in Anacapa Island, Calif. The remainder will stay with his wife in an urn that resembles the angel on a stone John bought for her during his last hospital stay.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Birgel, and stepdaughter, Kayla Frances, of Homer; parents, Don and Linda Birgel of Gladwin, Mich.; brother, David Birgel of Gladwin, Mich.; and his two dogs, Princess and Precious, that reside with his family in Homer.