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The incomparable John Moon singing The Star Spangled Banner at the Jan. 18, 2018 women's basketball game at WIU.
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Moon Celebration of Life

November 1, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University alumnus John Moon passed away in Macomb Oct. 29. The oldest known survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima was 103 years old. A celebration of life for the 1939 WIU alumnus and Purple Heart recipient will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 at Wesley United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home.

After graduating from Macomb High School in 1934, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Western Illinois University (then called State Teachers College) in 1939. After the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941, and inspired by his WIU Football Coach 'Rock' Hanson, on Dec. 29, 1943, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Upon completion of his training and boot camp at Camp Pendleton, CA, a part of the 5th Marine Division, he deployed to Iwo Jima. He landed on the beach on D-day (February 19, 1945) where he fought until he was wounded. He received the Purple Heart Award for his bravery and was discharged on September 25, 1945.

After returning to Macomb, Moon ran two restaurants, the S&J Cafe and Andies Candies Restaurant, on the town square. He also was a carpenter, a school bus driver and sold life insurance. His last career was teaching driver's education at Macomb High School.

Excerpts from From the Sands of Iwo Jima," Illinois Country Living magazine (Nov. 2017).

Every day, when weather allows, John Moon hops on his bicycle and goes for a ride. He bowls at least twice a week. Every Thursday, John goes to choir practice, and every Sunday, he sings at church. He used to do a series of calisthenics every day, including push-ups and deep knee bends, but he decided to give that up when he turned 100 years old. John is now 101 and the oldest known survivor from the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Since turning a century old, John continues to keep himself busy. He gained national media attention in January 2017 when he sang the National Anthem before a women's basketball game at his alma mater Western Illinois University. The clip of him singing was even picked up by ESPN.

'I feel like I'm one of the luckiest men in the world, and I have been lucky all my life,' John says."

An active community member, Moon was a member of the Optimist Club, Masonic Masons, Rotary, VFW, American Legion, and Kiwanis. He also previously served as an alderman for Macomb City Council, and was a lifelong member of the Wesley United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir, and he was known for many years as the driver of the ‘church car' taking the elderly to services every Sunday. He also enjoyed bowling on the senior league at College City Bowl (Diggers).

In 2017 and in 2018, at ages 100 and 101, respectively, he sang the National Anthem before a women's basketball game.

At the age of 101, accompanied by his son, David, and daughter, Jeanine, he participated in the The Greater Peoria Honor Flight. He was recognized as the oldest veteran to have flown.

A complete obituary can be found at

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