John Mika

Obituary of John Isadore Mika

John I. Mika, 100 years old of Hackettstown, New Jersey passed away on Friday, January 3, 2020. John was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on November 4, 1919, the only child of Isadore and Valeria (Rupar) Mika. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York. While growing up, he held a variety of jobs. Notably, he worked in the garment industry in New York, first sewing linings for coats at twenty-five cents an hour and eventually becoming a tailor. John attended St. John's University, where he was a member of the fencing team and graduated with a degree in Economics in 1942. On September 6, 1942, John married his childhood sweetheart Claire Jasiecki. They were married for 51 years when Claire died in 1993. One month after the wedding Uncle Sam called, and John joined the WWII Army Air Corps. He spent 39 months stateside at a variety of locations becoming a radio communications expert. When the war ended, the Mikas moved to Washington, D.C., where their daughter Barbara was born. In Washington, John worked for the National Bureau of Standards and continued his education, receiving a radio engineering degree from the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute. Then, the Mikas were off to Philadelphia where John worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, focusing on airplane control towers, and later at Frankfort Arsenal, working on proximity fuses and power supplies. Claire and John added two more daughters, Claudia and Denise to their family. In the 1950s, John decided to leave government service and move to private industry. He accepted an offer from an Avco division in Cincinnati that was in the defense business. He worked on many projects including the Polaris missile system. He rose through the managerial ranks relocating to Hamilton, Ohio and became the Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing at the plant located in Richmond, Indiana. While at Avco he developed a push button and card door entry system for which he received a patent. His invention was the predecessor for the system in widespread use today. When the Avco plant closed in the 1970s, John relocated to Morris Plains, NJ and joined a New Jersey defense contractor until founding his own company Mika and Associates. He provided consulting expertise for various clients that included many Picatinny Aresenal programs. He retired at 75. John had many other interests besides his work. He loved to travel, and he and Claire took their daughters to 42 states by car! They also traveled to Europe and South America. After Claire's death he continued his travels to Europe and the Far East. He also enjoyed flying and qualified his pilot's license when he was 51. He loved clocks and built and repaired clocks over the years. In fact, he took care of the 1720s grandfather clock in the Heath Village lobby. He was extremely handy. He could build you a stone wall, provide electrical work or expert carpentry and even design and construct a room addition, which he did at one of their homes. He was a volunteer, too. He served on the Junior Achievement Board in Richmond, Indiana and was Treasurer of the Resident's Council and President of the Men's Club at Heath Village Retirement Community in Hackettstown, NJ. John is survived by his daughters, Barbara Keck and husband William, Claudia Wagner and husband Richard, and Denise Mika and husband James Biga; his grandchildren, Brad Keck (Jennifer), Courtney Peters (Matthew), Cole Wagner, and Casey Wagner (Hailey), and his six great grandchildren, Claire and Chloe Keck, Jackson and Keane Peters, Emory Wagner, and Brooks Wagner. A Celebration of John's Life will include a visitation from 5pm to 8pm on Friday, January 10, 2020 at the William J. Leber Funeral Home, 15 Furnace Road (corner of Rt. 206), Chester, NJ (908) 879-3090. A 10am Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 11 at Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Long Valley, NJ. Interment will follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Chester, NJ. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Heath Village Friendship Fund, Attention: Debbie O'Brien, 430 Schooley's Mountain Road, Hackettstown, NJ 07840.
Friday
10
January

Visitation at Funeral Home

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, January 10, 2020
William J. Leber Funeral Home
15 Furnace Road
Chester, New Jersey, United States
Saturday
11
January

Mass

10:00 am
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Our Lady of the Mountain Church
2 East Springtown Road
Long Valley, New Jersey, United States
Saturday
11
January

Final Resting Place

11:00 am
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Pleasant Hill Cemetery
85 Pleasant Hill Road
Chester, New Jersey, United States
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