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John P. Dobyns

March 8, 1944 August 28, 2020
John P. Dobyns
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Obituary for John P. Dobyns

John Patrick Dobyns, of Fond du Lac, died after a long fight with liver disease on August 28th, 2020, at Aurora Hospital in Oshkosh.

He was born on March 8, 1944, in Fond du Lac, the son of George and Olive Meidl Dobyns.  The Dobyns family has been in Fond du Lac since 1847. 

John grew up in a loving and caring family on Rose Avenue in Fond du Lac.  He enjoyed his summers at the McKinley playground, visiting the Thuerwachter home on Sandy Beach, the fun times in Frisque’s field, and his winters skating at the Follett St. rink.  He survived the polio epidemic of 1954.  He credited the dedicated doctors and nurses at St. Agnes Hospital and his loving and caring family for his recovery without serious after- effects. 

John graduated from St. Mary’s Grade School in 1958 and St. Mary’s Springs High School in 1962 and was a 1974 graduate of UW – Oshkosh with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology.  He served 27 years in the Army Reserves.  He started as a Pvt E-1 and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He was a graduate of the Command and General Staff College.  During his service he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserves Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.  John was proud to have served as a soldier for his country.  He was especially proud to be a trained infantryman.

John served 26 years in law enforcement in Fond du Lac County; he walked a beat, drove patrol, worked traffic, and served as a detective, welfare fraud investigator, and child support enforcement officer. 

John was elected to the City of Fond du Lac Council, serving as Council President for one year.  During his tenure the Council removed the blighted Rueping Building, built three industrial parks, created many jobs for the City private sector, and reduced the tax rate.  He was proud to be part of such a hard-working Council.

John proudly served three terms in the Wisconsin Assembly as a State Representative from the 52nd District. As a member of the Assembly he authored/co-authored 21 pieces of legislation into law. While a member of the legislature he received numerous awards including:  Wisconsin Firefighter’s Legislator of the Year Award, Friend of Agriculture Award, and Outstanding Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Army.  He tried to work in a bi-partisan manner and was respected by both sides of the aisle for it.  He was especially proud of his work on numerous Bills to keep Wisconsinites safe. He worked on numerous transportation issues for the Fond du Lac area:  the expansion of the Fond du Lac County Airport runways, the Hwy 151under-pass, the West Johnson St. overpass, and the Pioneer Road upgrade and grade separation study, all of which came to fruition.

During his time in office on the Council and in the Legislature and after, John was able to meet many interesting people, among whom were Reggie White, the Dalai Llama, Gilbert Brown, Bud Selig, Sal Bando, President George Bush 41st and his son, George, 43rd, Robert Dole, and others.         

John enjoyed sports.  He was active in hardball and softball in his younger years and was an ardent Packer, Brewers, Ledgers, Titans, and Badger fan. John was a life member of the Reserve Officer’s Association of which he was past President of Chapter 07, and the American Legion.           

John supported his lifetime friend, Bishop Paul Schmitz, in his missionary service as the Bishop of Blue Fields Diocese in Nicaragua.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Karen Jo, who was the love of his life, best friend, nurse, and favorite real estate agent; two children, John Robert (RaeAnn) and their girls, Maggie and Hollie of Oshkosh and Julie (Stewart) Davis of California;  his brother, Thomas Dobyns, of  Fond du Lac; brothers and sisters-in-law, Joan Dobyns, Denise (Robert) Hoepfner of Fond du Lac, Nancy (Randy) Redlin of Fond du Lac, Joseph (Debra) Dion of Rosendale, and Mary DeSeve of Brooklyn Park, MN, plus numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and many friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents; John’s brother, Mike; sisters-in-law, Kathleen Dobyns and Mary Dobyns; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Gary and Mary Louise (Mueller) Dion; brothers-in-law, Greg Dion and King DeSeve III.

From Karen Jo..John P…you have, and always will, be a shining spot in my heart. 

Memorials can be given in his name to St. Mary’s Springs Academy.

Due to the current pandemic, no services will be held at this time. Cremation has taken place.

“I loved many things in my life, but none more than my family.  I had a rich and full life receiving more benefits than I should have.  I was honored to serve my community, my state, and my country.  I was proud to be a soldier, law enforcement officer, and a member of the Legislature.  The best experiences in my life were marrying Karen Jo and living with her and seeing my children grow and mature to what they are.  I love them very much and was proud of them.  I never thought I would have grandchildren, and just to live that long and love them, was an awesome life experience.” ~ John P


Event Information

Celebration of life to be held at a later date. Cremation has taken place.

Memorial Contribution

St. Mary's Springs Academy


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