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engineer sydneyDec. 4, 1933 – April 2, 2023
John Peter Binder of Shawnee, KS, passed away Sunday, April 2, 2023, at Brookdale at Rosehill Nursing Home. A Vigil will be held Wednesday, April 12, with a rosary at 5 p.m. and visitation until 7 p.m. at Porter Funeral Homes & Crematory, Lenexa. The Funeral Liturgy will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 13, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 13615 W 92nd St., Lenexa. Burial in Resurrection Cemetery will follow. Family and friends may gather for a light meal at Holy Trinity following the burial service.
John was born December 4, 1933, in Cleveland, OH, the son of the late John and Augusta (Wirth) Binder and later became the stepson of the late Pete Liebersberger as well as Joseph Bletterer who were as proud of him as if he were their own son.
From a young age, John valued hard work, education, and frugality exemplified by his loving mother. He treasured his Catholic faith. And he rooted for the Cleveland Browns and Indians and the sports teams of the subsequent cities and states where he lived.
John’s excellent math and language skills served him well throughout school in his classes and in his extracurricular activities as a cub reporter rising to co-editor of the highly recognized and awarded East High Blue and Gold student newspaper. As a first generation American, John learned to speak German at home, a skill that came in handy at his first job when he was 12 at a Benny and Rachel’s fruit and vegetable market that served the German and Jewish community. By 8th grade and responding to his mother’s high expectations, John knew he wanted to become an engineer.
John’s dedication to his classes coupled with his extracurricular activities earned him a spot in the National Honor Society. That, along with the experience he gained at several part-time jobs with local manufacturers of hydraulic and HVAC systems, won him admission to one of the country’s most prestigious engineering schools, Case Institute of Technology. The small yet important Lothman Scholarship Award and the savings from his part-time jobs allowed John to put himself through college.
During his formative years, John’s love of Christ continued to grow. He loved attending catechism classes at Immaculate Conception church. At Case, John was able to combine his passions for engineering, journalism, and his Catholic faith. He became an active member of the Newman Club, first as the editor of the Newman Scoop, an intercollegiate newspaper that allowed him to meet like-minded Catholic youths in the greater Cleveland area. In his senior year, he became the Newman Club Case Chapter president and the copyeditor of the Case Differential Yearbook while carrying a 20-credit hour load. As if that weren’t enough, John answered an advertisement for a senior-level mechanical engineering student position at the Bryant Manufacturing Company, makers of residential HVAC systems, and got the job. John’s hiring manager, himself a Case graduate whose own family was active in Catholic parish life, was impressed by John’s Newman Club experience giving John the winning edge.
After graduation, John accepted a job from Bryant and relocated to Indianapolis, IN, in a career that saw John crisscross the country back to Cleveland, then on to Pittsburgh, PA, Portland, OR, Newtown, CT, Philadelphia, PA and finally to Overland Park, KS.
Indianapolis changed John’s life forever. As a new young professional in town, John attended weekly senior Catholic Youth Organization meetings and related events at the Indianapolis Cathedral. One night, a stunning, blue-eyed brunette walked into the Cathedral CYO and took John’s breath away. Jeannine herself wondered if she’d just met the man she’d marry, even though he didn’t make such a great first impression. He was as struck by her faith as he was blinded by her beauty. They started dating in the fall of ‘56, became engaged the day after Christmas, and were married on June 8th, 1957, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Their union was blessed by six children whom they sent to Catholic schools through the 8th grade. John was active in his children’s lives, especially as his girls’ softball coach and supporter of his sons’ grade school football team.
As a sales engineer, John traveled the world. John’s career blended his engineering and communication skills for major companies as well as start-ups, such as Bailey Meter, a Babcock & Wilcox Company, the Hagen’s Systems Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp., and Black & Veatch, last. After his retirement from engineering, John became a substitute high school teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas and several local public schools until he accepted a full-time teaching position with Padre Pio Catholic School. His students were always excited to see him when he was out and about with Jeannine.
John and Jeannine were among the first wave of owners in the Village Cooperative of Shawnee where they made many great friends who supported him and Jeannine throughout his final years. Jeannine, especially, is grateful for their neighbors’ loving kindness during John’s final struggle with diabetes.
In addition to his parents and stepfathers, John was preceded in death by his older brother, Andrew Toth, his son, John Peter, Jr., and his infant daughters, Andrea Marie and Mary. He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Jeannine, his daughter Trina (David) Wafle and grandchildren John, and Michael and Zachary Karolchik, daughter Kimberly (Charles) Hopkins, daughter Elisa (Randy) Bruce and grandchildren Franklin (Kourtney) and Gabriel Richen, son Darren, and daughter Jennifer (Charles) Morss and grandchildren Haley (Ross Miller), Jared (Hannah Weimerskirk), Benjamin, and Samuel Morss, plus three sweet great-grandchildren, Jack, Natalie, and Lucy Morss.
The family wishes to thank End-of-Life Doula, Ashley Boydston, of The Next Effort for her knowledgeable, compassionate, and invaluable assistance for John and Jeannine. Condolences may be expressed at In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations payable to Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 13615 W 92nd St., Lenexa, KS, 66215. Arrangements are by Porter Funeral Homes & Crematory, 8535 Monrovia, Lenexa, KS 66102, (913) 438-6444.
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