John Mark Cranshaw was born on February 25, 1932, to James and Ruby Cranshaw in Dallas, Texas. He was the second of three boys: James, John, and Patrick.
John’s father immigrated directly from Ireland, and John always told stories from his Dad about Ireland and his Irish pride. John grew up on the east side of Dallas. His father was a bricklayer, and he followed in his footsteps.
He turned 18 in 1950, the year the Korean war started. He was drafted into the Air Force and served for two years. He was trained as a mechanic (which he would add to his bricklaying skills) and served most of the time on Guam, taking care of B-29s.
He met Louise Stanton (Gibbons) just before entering service. They both served in the Air Force, and they got married in 1953 after their tours. John and Louise settled in Dallas, and in 1965, they welcomed their only child, Jack.
John was active in the community. He was a member of both the Masonic Lodge and the Oddfellows. He served as Quartermaster and then Commander at the local VFW. He also participated in the American Legion. He loved to tinker, and he loved motorcycles. He would often go on rides with the TMRA or friends. In 1990, as John and Louise both approached retirement, they moved to Mabank, where they embraced small-town living.
Bricklaying is a physically challenging profession, and over time it wore down John’s body. He advanced from pain when walking, to a cane, to a walker. One night at home, an accident shattered his left femur. From that point on, he was unable to walk, and he was confined to a motorized wheelchair.
John and Louise grew old together in Mabank. In 2017 she passed due to ongoing health issues. John fought hard to maintain his independence. He remained in the house in Mabank with the help of the VA and members of the community until, in January 2021, he reached the point where he could no longer live independently. The VA placed him in a medical foster home in February, where he passed peacefully on February 22, 2021.