John Zabel Moran, Jr. of Jefferson, NC passed away peacefully at his home in Jefferson, NC on September 22, 2023. He was born on November 19, 1941 to John and Ethel in Suitland, MD. John spent his childhood enjoying the large garden his parents and neighbors owned and bragged about the salt shaker that he kept in his back pocket to snack on the produce straight from the vine. He also spent most of his time as a young boy in his uncle’s body repair shop and his father’s auto repair shop. This is where he developed his lifelong passion and appreciation for automobiles.
After graduating from Suitland High School he enlisted in the United States Air Force on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. He served as a Heavy Equipment Technician. He fought in the Vietnam War where he earned Combat and Marksmanship Metals along with many other awards.
In 1965 John met the love of his life, Patricia Brownrigg, in Tampa, FL. They married on November 19, 1966.
After discharging from the Air Force, John took a job in Civil Service at Patrick Air Force Base where he remained working as a Heavy Equipment Technician primarily for the Fire Department on base. John continued his education and graduated in 1978 with a degree from Brevard Community College in Industrial Management.
In 1977, John and Pat built a home on 3 acres in Melbourne, Florida where they raised their 4 children and he affectionately earned the title of Pop. John quickly set up shop in his new garage and started to manufacture and build many toys for his children to enjoy on the land from go carts and motorcycles to full size vehicles turned into All-Terrain Vehicles. Many times acquiring things through trading, bartering, or repairing something for others. There was nothing “Pop” couldn’t repair from electronics to baby dolls to autos. He also very quickly started a farm of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys, goats, ducks, horses, peacocks, and built a bird sanctuary for cockatiels. John would pride himself on being able to feed the animals with the proceeds he made from chicken eggs and baby cockatiels sold to the local pet store so the animals did not affect the family budget. There wasn’t a stranger John ever met and everyone he ever came in contact with came to call him Pop. His prized possession was a 1950 Chevrolet Pick Up truck he traded for some college books. It certainly needed some TLC and he had to get it running before he could even take it home. He spent countless hours restoring it and brought it back to life better than ever. Everyone in the county knew Pop and his beautiful Candy Apple Red old truck.
In 1990 he transitioned his career on base to Electrician which he learned in his college education.
In 1993, John and his sons built a large barn on the property where he was able to expand his hobbies. On January 3, 1998, John retired from Patrick Air Force Base. Later that year John and Pat sold their home and moved to Ashe County North Carolina to start their retirement together. They built a log home with the help of their son John and remained there for 22 years before downsizing in 2020 to a smaller home on their son John’s property.
He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia (Pat) of 56 years; children, Sheila Butler, Dawn O’Donnell, John Moran, and James Moran and their spouses. Forever missed by his 10 grandchildren: Meagan, Ricky, Jeremy, Tiffany, Tara, Ray, Nick, Johnny, Jimmy Jr. and Destinee: 17 great grandchildren:, 2 Step sisters: Carol Ann Holben and Nancy Satterfield along with many cousins, nieces and nephews. and every friend of his children that he loved like his own.
No formal service will be held.
Codolences may be sent to the family at www.mountaincityfh.com
The family of John Moran has entrusted his care to Mountain City Funeral Home, 224 S. Chruch Street, Mountain City, TN, 37683.