Service Details



Taking place at a later date
Maui, Hawaii



Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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West Des Moines

John Victor Florian John Victor Florian died peacefully in his sleep on December 4, 2017 from complications of cancer. He was 75 years old.

John was born in 1942 in Wyandotte, Michigan to Stella M. Basta and John C. Florian. He was a protector and loving brother to three younger sisters, Estelle, Therese and Georgian. The love of his early life, Diana, whom he married after graduating from Eastern Michigan University, died only a few short months later in a tragic accident.

In 1969 John enlisted, attended Officer Candidate School, and served in the United States Army as a much-decorated combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam, attaining the rank of captain. He struggled the rest of his life with the lack of meaning of his service in a war he ultimately considered monumentally misguided. He often said that every day he lived after serving in Vietnam was a gift.

His marriage to Donna Brough during the war gave him three children – Bryan, David, and Cassandra. In 1991 he married Carol Bamford and became step-father to Leslie Bamford and Todyanna Frakes. John had four grandsons: Dean Florian, Elijah Frakes, Gabriel Frakes, and Ethan Smith. In addition to his human family, John loved his Shelties and cats, who brought him endless joy, companionship, and unconditional love.

After many years in the military and sales, John returned to teaching, the career he originally planned. His years teaching at Roosevelt High School were among the happiest of this life. His students, who affectionately called him J-Flo, became almost like family, and he continued to communicate with many of them up to the time of his death.

John was predeceased by his parents, his favorite uncle Stanley, his sister Therese, his first wife Diana, and his son David. As a young man, John dreamed of a life of adventure. He certainly achieved that, but he came to believe that life’s ultimate adventure is the love we give and receive. He achieved that, too.

Services will take place at a later date in Maui, Hawaii, the home of his sister Georgian, where his ashes will be scattered with those of his sister, Therese. Memorial contributions can be directed to the Jensen Fund at Grand View University.

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