Wordsmith

John Charles Stalter

John Charles Stalter

John Charles Stalter was born in Spokane, Washington on July 18, 1944, at Decones Hospital. His parents were Jack Gaddis Stalter and Nancy Coil Stalter. His paternal Grandparents were Charles English Stalter and Lida Gaddis Stalter. His maternal Grandparents were Judge William Gaddis and Margaret Young Gaddis.

John’s sisters are Margaret Ann Stalter Swenson born June 20, 1940, and Mary Lou Stalter Bahr born July 13, 1942.

John lived with his family in Spokane until 1947 when they moved to Clarkston, WA. He attended Clarkston public schools and graduated in 1962. He played football, tennis and track and was editor of his High School Annual. During high school he worked at the local weekly newspaper beginning as a janitor and later learning a lot about printing.

He entered Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in the fall majoring in Printing Engineering and Management. He worked washing pots and pans and later at a local printshop to pay his way. He was a member of the printing club Mat Pica Pi and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. He went to work in Portland in February1968 and entered the Navy a few months later. He spent boot camp in San Diego and spent a year in the Washington D.C. area working in printing at a Naval defense installation. He opted to go to the West Coast the following year.

John was assigned to the print shop of the USS Midway aircraft carrier in dry dock at Hunters point in San Francisco. After two years the ship was ready and set sail for Viet Nam. John had been promoted to be supervisor and had modernized the shop and ordered supplies. The Captain took the ship through a storm shaking a gun mount loose. They docked in Hawaii for repairs. John and many of the crew were able to have liberty and see Oahu.

The tour was for seven months and John had liberty in Manilla, Hong Kong, Yokosuka, Tokyo and Kyoto Japan. Then he was sent home with the welcoming crew from Sasebo in southern Japan. When he arrived in his Navy Uniform he asked Carmen to marry him when she met him at the airport in Alameda, CA. They visited the Northwest where John had lake view property and met his family. They were married in Santa Barbara December 26, 1971.

They had three children, Scarlett in 73, Charles in 74 and Scott in 76. They moved to Spokane after a few months in San Francisco. John had trouble finding work with the anti-war sentiment but finally landed a job at a press-to-log factory. They moved to Coeur d Alene for a job at a print shop and bought a house. A year later they moved to Pullman for a job at Washington State University (WSU) at the student newspaper. He worked there four years with a year in the middle in Santa Barbara. Carmen’s Father died in a tragic plane accident during that time.

After a move to Clarkston the couple divorced after Carmen took the kids to Seattle. She overcame uterine cancer but was killed in a robbery in 1982. John brought the children back to Clarkston to raise them. He worked many different jobs and had several small businesses including publishing the Clarkston Herald for a short time, plus many volunteer jobs.

He met Joy Keener at church when her husband was suffering from throat cancer. When he died they became close, fell in love and married in 2001. They had fourteen wonderful years together until she passed from cancer. They had traveled extensively and had hoped to go to Paris. About a year later John made the trip missing her terribly while carrying her picture in his wallet. Journaling the trip inspired him to begin his writing career in their home overlooking the Snake River.

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