He reached the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict, stationed on the USS Caperton, where he worked as a boiler and desalination operator. He earned the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal with European Clasp. John was a member of the James Dickey Post American Legion.
While on liberty in Massachusetts, he went on a blind date with Alice Boyle. The first time Alice saw him he was in uniform, eating a popsicle. They were married on October 27, 1956. She preceded John in death September 2, 2013.
John provided for his family; over the years when his sons were young, he moved the family from state to state for promising job opportunities. Among these was working for Brush Beryllium at the Lucky Atomic Power plant near Toledo, OH; as a quality control inspector on the Atlas missile for GE in Cheyenne, WY; as boiler operator and HVAC maintenance and repair for Columbus, Ohio Public Schools
When the family finally settled in Ohio, he taught HVAC at Guernsey-Noble Vocational School in Senecaville, OH, and Central High School in Columbus, and owned an HVAC sales, service, and maintenance business in Cambridge, OH on Blaine Ave, where he employed one of his former students.
As Energy Manager at South-Western School District in Columbus, he was an early adopter of computers to perform cost benefit analysis on replacing aging HVAC equipment with more efficient technology.
He took pride and pleasure in building additions on to his homes, doing all or most of the work himself. He was a lifelong learner, taking classes and teaching himself plumbing, carpentry, auto repair and other skills from books. He loved to sit on the porch in a rainstorm and listen to the rain, and loved fishing with his friends and his granddaughters.
Preceded in death by his wife Alice, brothers James Lester Lovely and David Glen Lovely, and sisters Lexi Christian, June Napier, and Dorothy Stentz.
Surviving are sister Rose Smith of Portsmouth, son Robert Lester (Sharon McDaniel) Lovely of Missoula, MT, son Brian William (Martha Caroline Sims) Lovely of Richmond, VA, Granddaughters Jennifer Lovely-Yarbrough, Sarah Fleming-Lovely, great-grandson Robbie Lovely-Yarbrough, his faithful companion, Nita Louise Campbell Lovely of Wheelersburg, nieces Renee Smith, Tela Stocksdale, Sue Leathers, Phyllis Aspridis, nephews Bruce Smith and Larry Napier, and a large extended family.
Graveside services will be held at 11 A.M. Monday at Scioto Burial Park with Pastor Dennis Campbell officiating. The James Dickey Post #23 American Legion Honor Detail will conduct military rites. The flag of the U.S Navy will fly at the funeral home Monday in honor of Mr. Lovely's service to our nation. Arrangements are under the direction of the Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home in Portsmouth.