Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
John Gilbert Castorena, USAF (Retired)
November 18, 1934 – February 07, 2019
Deacon John Gilbert Castorena entered into eternal rest on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at the age of 84.
He graduated from Fillmore High School and attended Ventura College before enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1953. He was a Veteran and survivor of the Korean War where he flew as a pilot for the Search and Rescue Helicopter Squadron. After his retirement from the U.S. Air Force, he began a career as a Quality Assurance Aircraft Specialist Inspector for the Department of Defense at Pt. Mugu Naval Air Base.
John married the love of his life, Eva Lopez, on November 28th, 1959. They made their home in Oxnard, raising six children and enjoyed 60 years of marriage. In addition to being a devoted husband and father, John was a gentle soul who took compassion on others. His home was always open and he took in friends, family and many strangers off the street who needed shelter, food or clothing. He was a selfless man who put others before him.
John was a religious man and became a Eucharistic Minister before being ordained as a Deacon in 1995 for Santa Clara Church. He dedicated his life to his ministries and served his church faithfully throughout the week both at Mass and to the home-bound. His ministries continued throughout the week leading prayer groups, evening rosaries, assisting with funerals, burials, weddings and special masses. John followed his Deacon teachings and was a servant to his faith.
Deacon John had a passion for flying and deep knowledge of aircraft. He could identify a plane flying overhead by the sound of its engine. In addition, he enjoyed his road trips and annual camping trips to Yosemite with his family. His hobbies included wood-shop projects, building birdhouses and model airplanes, making leather accessories and collecting military memorabilia. He was an avid reader, enjoyed smooth jazz, loved to dance and relished a good BBQ while watching a good western movie.
John is preceded in death by his wife, Eva Castorena, and his sisters, Sally Ebell and Carmen Castorena. John is survived by his son, Steve Lopez (wife Maria), daughters, Francine Robinson (husband Mac), Alice Baum (husband John), Gina Esherick (husband Joseph), Mia Ditto (husband Brad), and Renee Castorena (husband Gil Adam). He is also survived by five grandchildren, Araceli Lopez, Anysse Lopez, Stephanie Baum, Andrew Brown, and Sophia Esherick, and his sisters, Laura Escobar and Sylvia Ramirez.
Services for Deacon John will be held Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at Santa Clara Church in Oxnard. A Rosary will begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral mass at 10:00 a.m. Burial will take place at Santa Clara Cemetery. A celebratory luncheon honoring Deacon John will be hosted by the family immediately following the services.
Deacon John was proud and passionate about serving his country and being a Veteran. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (www.dvnf.org).
WE LOVE YOU DAD AND WE KNOW YOU ARE DANCING WITH MOM IN HEAVEN!!!
Published by Ventura County Star from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24, 2019.
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