John E. ‘Jack’ Chalfa

August 21, 2012

By Contributor

John Chalfa

John E. “Jack” Chalfa, of North Bend (formerly of Issaquah), passed away at his home Aug. 16, 2012. He was 87 years of age.

Jack was born Jan. 2, 1925, in Renton, the son of John Joseph and Mary V. (Pedro) Chalfa. He was raised in Issaquah and voluntarily enlisted into the U.S. Navy in 1943 before completing high school.

After technical training at the University of Wisconsin, he saw battle as a radioman third class on the LCS(L)(3) No. 8, one of the Mighty Midgets used in the South Pacific for close support before landing forces on beaches. He fulfilled several campaigns in the Pacific theater, including the Philippine Liberation.

Those who knew Jack gained a profound respect for his deep dedication to country and wisdom through his naval service. He wrote, “fighting a war on any Navy ship is no cakewalk … in our dotage we understand how quickly we grew from teenage boys to manhood, how much we appreciate God’s gift of life and deliverance from danger and the perspective we gained from our wartime experiences.”

In one harrowing battle, his ship was only one of seven in his flotilla to survive. Yet despite those odds, Jack always managed to find humor in the most desperate of times; his stories of Elmer the deaf monkey who climbed the halyards to rally the crew during the roughest of seas, the live chickens in the 40-millimeter gun tub and the pop-up toaster caper, whereby he repurposed the commodore’s toaster to his radio shack, were all-time favorites. For those who may wonder, the toaster still works today and maintains a stately position on Jack’s kitchen counter.

John Chalfa

On honorable discharge with commendations in 1946, he returned to civilian life, graduating from Issaquah High School as a star football player. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Science from Seattle University in 1951. Attracted to a life of adventure, he became a trucker and enjoyed the challenges of transporting fuel and oversized loads.

He worked for Renton-Issaquah Auto Freight, Harms Pacific Transport, Pacific International Express, and later hauled beer to stores and taverns in the Northwest for Greens Distributors and K & L Distributors. He retired from trucking after 40 years of service in 1987.

Jack married the love of his life, Alice Lorraine Hahne, on April 28, 1962, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They resided in Issaquah from 1963 to 1987, and then retired to North Bend.

In their later years, Jack and Alice enjoyed travelling around the world and close to home. Ocean salmon fishing was Jack’s passion and he enjoyed reminiscing about his many fishing trips almost as much as fishing itself. He loved cutting firewood, was an avid vegetable gardener and baker, and was generous in sharing the fruits of hard labor.

He and Alice were inseparable companions, celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary in April 2012.

Jack was preceded in death by his wife Alice (July 8, 2012) and his twin sisters Donna and recently, Dulcie Chalfa.

He is survived by his cousin Jim Barnes, and several second cousins.

He was a lifelong member of Albert Larson Post No. 3436 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 3054 and Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge No. 1843.

Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Issaquah. Committal will follow at Lower Hillside Cemetery, Issaquah, with military honors.

Remembrances may be made to the LCS Museum and the National Association of USS LCS (L) 1-130, c/o Dennis A. Steenbergen (www.mightymidgets.org), or the American Cancer Society.

Friends are invited to share memories and sign the family’s online guest book at www.flintofts.com.

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