John was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 19, 1928 to John Lawrence and Lorain (Pearson) Mihlbauer. He graduated from Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island in 1946 and from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut on June 2, 1950. Betty was born on July 21, 1928 in Newport, Rhode Island, the second to the youngest daughter of Rodolphe and Sophie M. (née Arsenault) Blondin. Her sisters Eileen and Grace were her best friends and she always enjoyed spending time with them. In 1946, she graduated from Rogers High School in Newport at the top of her class.
Not one for wasting time, John married Betty, the former Rogers High School glamour girl and love of his life, at St. Augustin's Church in Newport just one day after his graduation from the USCG academy. Betty accompanied John on his assigned duty stations, making homes for their family in Portland, Maine; Saipan in the Mariana Islands; Ledyard, Connecticut; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Cape May, New Jersey; McLean, Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; Kailua, Hawaii; Governors Island, New York; and North Olmsted, Ohio. In 1980, after officially retiring from the Coast Guard, they resettled in Kailua, Hawaii where they remained for the duration of their lives.
Both John and Betty were long-time parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and former Eucharistic ministers. John was also active in the St. Anthony of Padua Parish Council, the Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor, the Coast Guard Foundation, and numerous other community organizations. Betty often donated hand-made afghans and other knitted items for fundraisers. The "Captain" was a sailor and an engineer with a long and distinguished career that included 30 years as a Coast Guard officer and over 30 years with All Ship & Cargo Surveys. Betty was a faithful first mate who skillfully managed the home front during their 70 years of marriage.
John was honest, kind, principled and thoughtful — a true gentleman and man of integrity. He loved animals, especially dogs, having had numerous "best friends" throughout his long life. He loved to sing in an "off key" kind of way and had a sense of style all his own. If he wasn't working or involved in community services, he was sailing (every chance he could get), walking (it was a great way to get to know a new place), biking (when he could convince Betty to go), traveling (if an opportunity presented itself...or Betty could convince him), visiting with family and friends and a little (very little) cooking (he could burn a good steak, make a mean omelet and, once, he even baked a delicious, albeit flat, chocolate souffle). But mostly, he enjoyed quiet time with his wife and family.
Betty, though small in stature, could be described as a firecracker — feisty and strong-willed. She was an ardent reader and a crossword puzzle enthusiast. She was good with her hands, and gifted in the arts of sewing, knitting and crocheting. She was an excellent baker (and crazy about coffee, sweets and everything chocolate). Betty may have preferred to be home, but she also loved to travel. Fortunately, John's careers provided many travel opportunities. Like John, she loved to talk of their many adventures, often reminiscing about their "once in a lifetime" trip around the world. And, though not as fond of sailing, particularly on small boats, as John was, she did share his enthusiasm for walking (she walked so fast she could leave you in the dust), biking and exploring new places.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, services were put on hold until this time. A combined Service/Celebration of Life for John and Betty will be held at 0930 on Thursday, June 3, 2021 (their 71st wedding anniversary) at St. Anthony of Padua in Kailua, Hawaii. A small, private burial service for family will follow at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.BorthwickOahu.com for the Mihlbauer family.