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1945 John 2016

John C Ninneman

October 29, 1945 — December 20, 2016

John C. Ninneman

December 20, 2016

John C. Ninneman, 71 of the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona, Arizona died Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
John was born October 29, 1945 in Lincoln, Nebraska to a German immigrant farming family. He was the first member of the family to be born in a hospital, his siblings having been born in the farm house. The family farm had a good well but no indoor plumbing. John grew up farming and hunting, and he remembered fondly riding his horse to a two-room school house.
In 1960 at age 14, John and his family moved to Wheat Ridge, Colorado where he went to high school, played football, and was a self-described greaser who enjoyed fast cars and motorcycles. He met his wife-to-be Karen in 1965 and they were married later that year. In December 1965, John was drafted and served in the U.S. Army as a Long-range Reconnaissance Patrol scout and Helicopter Door Gunner in Vietnam. The Army awarded him two Air Medals (with Valor), the Army Commendation Medal, and he earned three Purple Hearts. He was honorably discharged from military service in 1968. John was a proud veteran and supported numerous veterans charities and causes throughout his life.
Upon his return, John went into banking, eventually becoming Bank President of Zions Bank in Colorado. John and Karen raised their son and two daughters in Arvada, Colorado, then he left the banking business to pursue farm/ranch life again, and moved to Sedona in 1988. John and Karen owned and operated Fizbos restaurant in the Village of Oak Creek for several years, and John began working on ranches and collecting horses. He became friends with Sedona area pioneers and relished riding horseback with them, savoring the company, the history, and the remote and beautiful red rock country of the Coconino National Forest. Anyone who saddled up and rode with him was a life-long friend.
Johns and Karens granddaughter Madison moved in with them and they raised her like another daughter. (She will graduate with honors from Sedona Red Rock High School in May 2017.) In 2010 at the ranch, John put up a basketball hoop and created a volleyball court, and instituted Sunday family and friends ranch volleyball games.
John always said that when he died, he wanted no funeral, no memorial. Just tie me to the back of my horse and slap it on the butt and make him run me out into the forest, and let nature take care of me. As seriously as he meant it and as much as his family would like to carry out that wish, the family had a private remembrance in Johns honor, and will spread his ashes at one of the many red rock overlooks that he frequented on his horse.
John was preceded in death by his parents Carl and Marie Ninneman; brother Dwayne Ninneman; brother-in-law Rodney Borgman; granddaughter Carli Ninneman who died at age six months; and is survived by his wife Karen of Sedona; sister Ilene Borgman of Lincoln, Nebraska; son Mike and his wife Barbie of L.A.; daughter Cari and her husband Mark of Sedona; daughter Tina and her husband Rem of Sedona; grandson Jacob Jensen of Colorado; three granddaughters Madison Ninneman and Xan Hawes of Sedona, and Morgan Hawes of Tempe; nieces Tracy (and husband Phil) Wharton, and Audra (and husband Cory) Cotton of Lincoln, NE; sister-in-law Pearl Ninneman; nephews Steven (and wife Patty), Thomas, and Robert Ninneman; sister- and brother-in-law Kris and Craig Wells; and literally hundreds of cousins and friends.
Please sign Johns guest book at Greers Mortuary online at In lieu of flowers, John would want you to make a donation to your favorite charity or in care of Tina Hawes. Proceeds will go to


Military Honors
2 Air Medals (with Bronze "V" device awarded for acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy).
3 Purple Hearts (Purple Heart medal plus 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. The Purple Heart is awarded for being wounded or killed in action against an enemy of the U.S. Each subsequent award is denoted with an oak leaf cluster worn in lieu of another medal. Qualifying injuries include wounds caused by enemy bullets, shrapnel, or other projectiles created by enemy action.)
Army Commendation Medal (For distinguishing himself by heroism. The Army Commendation Medal is awarded for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service. For valorous actions in direct contact with an enemy. John was awarded the Commendation Medal with "V" Device to denote valor.)
National Defense Service Medal (For serving honorably when a "national emergency" had been declared during a time of war.)
Vietnam Service Medal (with Bronze Star).
Vietnam Campaign Medal (1967-1968).

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