John John Ulmer
John John Ulmer
  • December 31, 1951 - December 28, 2014
  • Camas Valley, Oregon

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"Anything is possible." That is what Frederick John Ulmer II believed about life. Known as John Ulmer to all who knew him, he was a creative man, a perpetual inventor, and a man able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had confidence in his ability to find solutions, and John thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. He possessed an inquisitive and confident nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. John was a person who believed that he could achieve whatever he set out to do.

Raised in Myrtle Point, Oregon by his parents, Fred and Willa Ulmer, John grew up with two siblings, Jerry and Becky. He and his brother, Jerry, were always getting into mischief. He liked to tell of the story of his brother, friend, and himself taking turns riding a bike around the house while the others would chuck dirt balls at the biker trying to knock him down. John was curious, resourceful, and interested in anything original. In his spare time he liked to explore the outdoors and race cars around the streets of Myrtle Point. In high school, John played in a band and was also involved in many sports. He graduated from Myrtle Point High School in 1970 and went straight into the Navy.

John's "never say die" attitude and his ability to face any challenge no matter how difficult it might be were tremendous assets that John carried with him into the military. John saw action in the Vietnam War, as well as both Gulf Wars. He also was deployed to many classified areas that if he told us about he would have to kill us. John was a member of the Navy Special Forces Team (now known as the Navy Seals). He achieved the rank of E-8 Senior Chief and then transitioned into Officer's Training during his Naval Reserve years. In 2011, after 41 years in the Navy, he retired as a Commander.
When John returned from the Vietnam War he entered college. He married, had his first child and held down three jobs while attending school full-time. With determination and perseverance, John was able to put himself through college and earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University in 1981.

Endowed with the ability to scrutinize different possibilities and design innovative solutions, John was definitely in his element in his work place. Theories intrigued him, and he was good at solving complex problems. He could easily create new and innovative systems, and incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation. John was a focused worker with a strong drive for achievement. He could assess all of the options before him and, using his analytical skills, could comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. His civilian occupation was in nuclear energy. He was employed at Trojan, Hanford, as well as many other nuclear power plants, and was well sought after for his specific expertise with nuclear energy.
John had many passions. He enjoyed many activities in nature such as hunting, hiking, camping, scuba diving and wrestling with his favorite dog, Jake. John was also good with a wrench and was always under the hood or the chassis of one of many "muscle" cars that he was very passionate about. His '72 Chevelle, bought new, was his favorite. He loved to take an engine apart and put it back together again just for the fun of it. He also enjoyed pranks and letting loose, such as when he dressed up in his Big Foot costume and chased the other Halloween costume contestants around the stage until he was declared the winner.

John married Catherine (Tina) Bologna in 1977. They were together for 26 years, and divorced for 10 years, but it was Tina who came to John's aid as his cancer took away his ability to care for himself. After a long fought battle with cancer, John passed away on December 28, 2014 at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. He is survived by his mother, Willa, his former wife, Tina, his children Melissa, John and Erich, and his grandchildren Eliana, and Annelise. His family plans to honor John by laying him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

During his lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to John. He met the words "it can't be done" with the enthusiastic challenge of a "wanna bet" attitude. John was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even when those around him could not. For John, the traditional way of doing things fell short of his expectations, especially if there were original and untested methods for handling a challenge. For Frederick John Ulmer II, the fun of living his life could be found in the challenge.

Arrangements provided by Pegg, Paxson and Springer Funeral Chapel.