John Forrest Gulledge

John Forrest Gulledge

August 21, 1937 - November 25, 2015

John Forrest Gulledge

August 21, 1937 - November 25, 2015


John F. Gulledge II, 78, from Coto de Caza, CA passed away on November 25th, 2015, from complications of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He is survived by his loving wife, Pili; his mother-in-law, Consuelo (aka, Lala); his daughter, Jennifer; his six sons, Karl, John III (and wife, Trish), Alex (and wife, Gretchen), Aaryn (and wife, Vannesa), Reuben (and girlfriend, Courtney), and Andrew (and wife, Leslie); and six grandchildren. John was also very close to his nephew, Elias (and wife, Lori), and their three children. He will be missed greatly by all for his kindness, easy sense of humor, loyalty, and honorability.

John was born on August 21st, 1937, to Joseph and Faye Gulledge in Siloam Springs, AR, and grew up in Salisaw, OK. His academic and athletic accomplishments in high school paved the way for him to be invited into the very first class of the Air Force Academy. While at the Academy, John made many lifetime friends, started on the Cotton Bowl winning team, and began his noble military service. After graduating in 1959, John flew in Korea and Vietnam, achieving the rank of Captain before leaving honorably for a career in commercial aviation. He served Western and Delta Airlines as navigator, copilot, captain, and instructor for over 28 years before retiring in 1997.

John Gulledge was much more than a military and commercial pilot in his long, fruitful, and fulfilling life. He was a loving and caring husband and best friend to Pili for 27 wonderful years, a supportive father and role model for his six boys, and a kind and generous husband to their mother, Mali. He served as coach, referee, and #1 fan for all of his children, both on and off the athletic fields, instilling in them the importance of sportsmanship and fairness. He spent much of his free time traveling with and to friends and family across the country because they meant so much to him. One of John’s favorite activities was watching football with his family, especially Steelers’ games, while sipping a beer or Scotch. His home was often a gathering place for friends, family, great food, and even better times.

Memorial services for John Gulledge were held on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at the Coto de Caza Country Club. John’s ashes will be interred at the Air Force Academy in January, 2016. Contact Pili ( or Alex ( for details. John’s smile, kindness, and genuine friendship will last in the hearts of everyone who knew him.

“Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun..”

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3 responses to John Forrest Gulledge

  1. Susan Dumais says:

    Although we only spent a short amount of time with John (Uncle John, as Theresa so lovingly called him) at Steve and Theresa’s wedding, it was evident that he was a very warm caring man, distinguished, and with a presence not soon forgotten.

    We send our deepest sympathies to his family and pray the loss you feel today will soon be replaced with loving memories that John shared with each of you in his life.

    ~ Susan & Steven Dumais

  2. My father was the football team doctor at the Air Force Academy when it started. Growing up, John was one of my first heroes along with the rest of the Class of 1959.

  3. Dear Pili, I was writing my Christmas cards and came upon the name of John and yourself on my list where I track my friends and family with whom I exchange cards. I knew that we hadn’t exchanged cards in quite some time so I decided to do a search for John’s name. I just came on this site after seeing an entry that John had passed away some years ago. I’m surprised that I never noticed the announcement in the Air Line Pilot magazine; perhaps he wasn’t entered into their “In Memorium” section. I’m very sorry to hear of his passing. Captain Gulledge was a consummate gentleman, a superb pilot and a wonderful person to be around. I always appreciated that you both took the time to come to my now long defunct Christmas parties. Please accept my most sincere condolences over the loss of John and I would appreciate it if you would pass on my sincere sympathies to the rest of his family. Take care and God bless, Capt. Kevin M. Mac Donnell, Delta Air Lines

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