James L. Van Zlike, 89, of Junction City, passed away May 23, 2017 at Geary Community Hospital. James was born March 19, 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Henry J. Van Zlike & Anna Mae (Hull) Van Zlike Herdina. He grew up in Sedalia, Missouri and attended school there. Immediately after high school, James joined the U.S. Army. While stationed in Trieste, Italy, shortly after World War II, he met and married Pierina Bernardi on Oct. 29, 1949. They were married for almost 65 years before Pierina passed away on Oct. 12, 2014. His military career spanned 33 years, where he served during the Korean War and in Vietnam where he received two bronze stars. He also received the Legion of Merit. He was honorably discharged on April 30, 1976, having earned the rank of Sergeant Major (E-9). Prior to being stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, James was stationed in Augsburg, Germany. He loved living in Europe. After his discharge from the U.S. Army, James worked for Civil Service on Fort Riley for several years. He and Pierina made Junction City their home for over forty five years.
James was a Past Master and former member of Masonic Lodge #374 A.F. & A.M. at Dwight, Kansas. Some of his many interests included an interest in cars, reading, particularly books about history, listening to music, watching sports, landscaping his yard, bird watching and nature, playing poker with friends and family, grilling hamburgers and steaks, and making fudge at Christmas. He was devoted to his family and was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He had a fun loving personality and many friends. He was happy, content and lived life to the fullest.
Survivors include: a daughter, Barbara Johnson and her husband Clay, Junction City; three grandsons, Jared Johnson and his wife Adele, Cleveland, Ohio;
Jimmy Van Zlike, Sierra Vista, Arizona; Corey Van Zlike and his wife Amanda, Junction City; and a granddaughter, Alicia Gonzalez and her husband Jose, Lebanon, Pennsylvania; and 3 great grandchildren, Christina and Sophia Gonzalez, Lebanon, and Wyatt Van Zlike, Junction City; his former daughter-in-law, Deborah Jones, Junction City; three cousins: Barbara Eichholz, Jefferson City, Missouri, Charles Yeager, Otterville, Missouri, Myna Lawson, Topeka, Kansas. James was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Pierina, and his son, James (Jamo) Van Zlike.
Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas. Masonic Services will be provided by Masonic Lodge #374, followed by Military Honors, which will be provided by an U.S. Army Honor Guard from Ft. Riley. The family will greet friends on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Penwell-Gabel Junction City. Memorial contributions may be made to the donor's choice in James L. Van Zlike's name.