John Gilbreath

Obituary of John Gilbreath

John Charles Gilbreath

John passed away at Tucson Medical Center on June 6 from heart failure. John was born in Clovis, NM, on June 26, 1937, and spent most of his formative years in Texas. He was the loving husband of Josefa of Tucson, AZ. He is survived by sons Eric and his wife Allison and grandson Garrett, son Kristoffer and his wife Kirsti, and grandson Wyatt and granddaughters Brecken, and Molly, as well as his sister Doris Ann, brother-in-law Neal and family. He is grievously missed by Jo's mom Glyn Barrameda Maravilla, Pa Ely Maravilla Sr., and her siblings Lani Tenuto and husband John, Ely Jr and wife Christine, Ana Mae Guillergan and husband Raymond, Ferdinand Chito Maravilla and his wife Jenny, Christine Christensen and husband John, and Mark Maravilla and wife Evelyn, and their families, and our cousins Dolora/Eric Sillman and family, and many beloved friends and relatives.

John had a long and distinguished military career in the U.S. Army where he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and had been the recipient of more than nine awards for valor, including two Silver Stars with First Oakleaf Cluster – For gallantry in action involving conflict with armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, Major Gilbreath with complete disregard for his personal safety made several low level reconnaissance passes on the embattled region in the command  and control ship as he marked aggressor positions for airstrikes, directed ground forces in determined assault of insurgent emplacements which his courageous initiative  and exemplary professionalism significantly contributed to the successful outcome of the engagement and the death of 95 enemy soldiers,  three distinguished flying crosses, three Bronze Stars, an Army Commendation Medal, 22 Air Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, a U.S. / South Vietnamese Military Award, and later a Commendation Award from the U.S and Jordanian Army where he provided training. Major Gilbreath’s unquestionable valor in close combat against a hostile force on multitudes of engagements is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, the 11th Cavalry, and the United States Army. As an active duty Lt Colonel in the US Army, he finished his graduate studies from UC Irvine and taught leadership to cadets at West Point. After his career from the U.S. Army, John was employed in several DoD engineering companies until his retirement from Raytheon Company in 2004.

To all who have known John, he clearly lived and enjoyed life to the fullest and he will always be remembered for his very kind heart, his terrific sense of humor, his storytelling, his words of wisdom and sage advice, and his love of family, shared experiences, camping and four wheeling in the sand dunes of Yuma and beyond.