John William Kern

John William Kern, 88, died at Mulberry Health, Mulberry, IN on October 1, 2022.  He was born in Frankfort, IN, on May 31, 1934, to Paul H. and Okal (Hart) Kern.  John graduated from Frankfort Senior High School in 1952 and attended North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.  He enlisted in the United States Army and served in Baumholder, Germany.

After completing his years in the service, he traveled to California to propose to Vonda Mae Genda, childhood friend and then sweetheart.  They were united in marriage by Rev. James Y. Brown at The First Christian Church, Frankfort, on July 28, 1957.  Their marriage had a special bond and commitment which would last 65 years.  They were always a close-knit team, and he was very devoted in caring for her over the last few years.  Being blessed with three children, he was a true father figure and loved as a husband, dad, grandpa, and a great-grandpa.  Providing a loving home and a good education for his children as well as attending their activities was very important to him.  Whether taking time to read his version of a book, celebrate a birthday, romp on the floor, or cook a special dish for the kids or grandkids, he did it with energy and passion.  His sense of humor always made someone smile or had kids giggling.

As the owner of J. A. Kern & Son, Inc., a home furnishings retailer in Frankfort, IN, he managed the business started by his grandfather and father.  He provided quality service while installing carpet, selling furniture, and building relationships with many customers in the community.  He served as a deacon, a member on the renovation team, and a historian at First Christian Church, continuing his family’s heritage of commitment to the church.

John’s talents included being a skilled athlete.  He was close to a scratch golfer, lettered three years in high school football and golf, and led his army base football team as captain. In 1954, he completed flight hours for his private pilot license to fly single engine Cessna aircrafts.  As an avid and skilled fisherman, he landed many catches during vacation trips to Wildcat Lake in northern WI, from the 8 lb walleye as a boy to his keeper muskie with his son.  He was known as chef extraordinaire for his cheeseburgers or full turkey holiday dinners.  A musical ear allowed him to enjoy music by directing big band tunes or singing along with his favorite Broadway musicals.

John is survived by his daughter Kathy (Brownsburg, IN), son Greg and daughter-in-law Amy (Woodstock, GA), grandchildren Meghan and Andrew (Woodstock, GA), grandson Matthew (Baltimore MD), grandson Sam Abbott and Jessica Kozy (Toledo, OH), great-granddaughter Vivian (Toledo OH), brother-in-law Neal Genda (San Marino, CA), and an “adopted brother”, Phil DePoy (Leesburg, VA).

Preceding him in death are his wife Vonda Kern, his daughter Deirdre Abbott, his brother James (Jimmy) Kern, his parents, and his grandparents.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 9, 2022, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. with a memorial service on Monday October 10, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at Genda Funeral Home in Frankfort and burial in Green Lawn Cemetery in Frankfort.

Memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  Messages of condolence are welcomed at

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