John Stanley Kareski, 45, of Merritt Island, Florida, beloved son, brother and friend, died on March 25 after a long battle with cancer. John leaves behind his devoted and loving parents, Rocky and Janet Rauckhorst of Merritt Island, Florida, his father Stanley Kareski, of Akron, Ohio, sister Michele Nemschick, and special nieces Lauren and Lily Nemschick of Cocoa Beach, Florida, sister Stephanie Frazier, brother Matthew Kareski, grandmother Virginia Maxine Morris, all of Akron, Ohio, and many cherished aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
John was born on January 28, 1967 and spent his childhood playing on the red brick streets of the North Hill section of Akron, Ohio. He was a tender hearted and adventurous little boy who loved hiking through the woods in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, playing little league baseball, and reenacting World War II battles with his best friends and father. John had a lifelong love of the ocean and fishing; he taught himself how to play the guitar and was an avid reader. Those are "WHAT" John liked to do. But "WHO" John was, was a soul with a rare innocence of spirit and a purity of heart that made those around him feel more hope in their fellow man.
On May 17, 1987, John was a sailor aboard the USS Stark, FFG-31, when it was hit by two Iraqi Exocet missiles. Thirty-seven United States Navy personnel were killed and twenty-one others were wounded. Although John had no medical training, he cared for the wounded and the dying in the aftermath of the attack. John carried the sorrow of the horror and suffering he witnessed on the Stark for the rest of his life. Some sacrificed their lives on the Stark, and some who survived sacrificed their opportunity to have a happy, healthy future because of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. John would want you to be a little kinder, a little gentler, and less judgmental of the people you may encounter in your life- you never know what their journey is all about.
A very special thank you to John's health care team: Dr. Timothy O'Hare, The Cancer Care Center of Brevard, Dr. Germaine Blaine, Dr. Todd Panarese, Dr. Ravi Shankar, nurses Nita and Chris, and the nurses of Hospice of Health First. John's family would also like to extend their gratitude to John's Band of Brothers: Jim, John M., John D., and Devin.
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