John Carns Profile Photo
1949 John 2020

John Carns

July 7, 1949 — April 19, 2020

Due to Covid-19 the service for John is as follows:

Visitation: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. with a Masonic service at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 6, 2020, at Hockenberry Funeral Home in Atlantic.

Memorial Service with military rites: 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Atlantic, Iowa. A luncheon in the fellowship hall will follow the memorial service.

Inurnment will be in the Fontanelle Cemetery, Fontanelle, Iowa, following the luncheon.


John Allan Carns, 70, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Sunday, April 19, 2020, at home due to chronic liver disease.

John was born July 7, 1949, on a farm in Adair County, Iowa. He was the oldest child born to Donald E. and Itha Ann (Huff) Carns. He attended Bridgewater/Fontanelle Schools graduating with the class of 1967. Following graduation, he worked at road construction as a heavy equipment operator, as well as attending college at SW Community College and the University of Northern Iowa. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving from November 1969 until March 1972. After his honorable discharge and receiving a bronze star, John returned to Iowa.

On July 2, 1977, John was united in marriage to Karen Sue Elwonger in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The couple lived in Adair where John was co-owner of Midwest Leg Contractors along with Evan Ryal. He enjoyed his work but realized after several years he would not be able to climb a hundred feet up the side of a grain elevator forever, so he made the decision to return to college to earn his degree. Karen and John lived in North Liberty, Iowa, when they started their family and John was attending the University of Iowa. In May 1983, John graduated from the University of Iowa with a civil engineer degree and went to work immediately with the D.O.T. in New Hampton, Iowa.

After moving to several Iowa locations with his career, John retired in December 2012 from the D.O.T. as the Council Bluffs Interstate System Project Coordinator. John missed knowing what the next phase of the project was but managed to keep in contact with many colleagues who gave him personal tours of the project.

John was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine, the Pymosa Masonic Lodge #271, and the Order of the Eastern Star #194. His service to his country was always something he took great pride in and was active with the Atlantic Color Guard and the American Legion Post in Atlantic. In 2010, John participated in the Iowa Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to commemorate his service as a Vietnam veteran.

His love for gardening showed in the flowers and vegetables he grew. He also enjoyed hunting and fishing when time and health allowed. John learned to fly and took lessons at Carroll, and later from his good friend Greg. Together they bought a twin-engine plane and with their wives traveled all over the U.S. But John’s most enjoyable leisure activity was riding his motorcycle. He and Karen took many motorcycle trips throughout the years to all the lower 48 states and 5 of the Canadian providences. Together they traveled to many destinations near and far.

John’s love and pride he had for his family poured out in his actions. He loved family get-togethers and attending his grandchildren’s various activities when he was able.

John is survived by his wife of 42 years, Karen of Atlantic; son, Ryan (Tara LaMere) of Council Bluffs, IA; and daughter, Christen (John Schneider) of Phoenix, AZ; grandchildren, Oliver Carns and Avery Schneider; mother, Itha Carns of Fontanelle, IA; brothers, Frank (Kate) Carns of Greenfield, IA and Clark (Michelle) Carns of Greenfield, IA; father-in-law, Byford Elwonger of Springfield, MO; sister-in-law, Diane (Dennis) Junge of Kansas City, KS; and brother-in-law, John (Sharon) Elwonger of Summerfield, NC; and numerous nephews, niece, and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his father, Donald Carns and mother-in-law, Evelyn Elwonger.

He will be missed by his family, many friends, and all who knew him.

Memorials may be directed to the family for later designation according to John’s wishes.

Services will be held at a later date.

Hockenberry Family Care in Atlantic, Iowa, is in charge of the arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Carns, please visit our flower store.


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