J.J. graduated from Palco High School in 1996 and from Fort Hays State University in 2000 with a degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis in Leadership. J.J. was proud to have been honored as Homecoming King both at Palco High School in 1996 and at Fort Hays State University in 1999. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Damar, the 3rd Degree Knights of Columbus Council #2365 located in Damar; the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, Father Bill Killian Assembly, a lifetime member of the Fort Hays State University Alumni Association, and Lions Club.
During his teaching career, J.J. taught in Macksville, Healy, and Hays (Westside) School Districts. In June of 2006, he signed on as a field agent with the Knights of Columbus for which he sold the most life applications for the entire company in 2007, the most long-term care applications in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. J.J. was a consecutive member of the Supreme Knights Club (top percent of agents from 2007 to 2015 and qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table consecutively from 2008 to 2017. He earned the prestigious “Court of the Table” honor in 2012, marking him as only the third United States agent (sixth order-wide) in the KofC at that time to accomplish such a feat of production. He was the past Grand Knight of FHSU Knights of Columbus Council 10211 for which he was given Knight of the Year honors in 1998. Last June he achieved the lifetime status of the Million Dollar Round Table.
J.J. enjoyed his work and was very devoted to the vision of Father McGivney in protecting Catholic families. J.J. loved his faith and loved to travel, experience life, and spend time with his family and friends. His children were always the pride of his life, and he realized that nothing was possible without the love and support of his wife, Susan. He and Susan Lynn Oborny were married May 22, 2004, in Liebenthal, Kansas. They were blessed with four sons before a daughter was born, then another son and a baby expected in August.
J.J. will forever regret all the time lost, games and activities unattended, baseballs and footballs not thrown back and forth, fishing poles that were not cast nearly enough, and accomplishments missed in hopes that he would provide a financially secure future, a lasting legacy, and an accomplished track record his wife and children could be proud to remember.
He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents; his father Virgil, and infant brother. Left to mourn are his mother, Trudy Deges of Damar; his wife, Susan of the home; sons: Benjamin Patrick, Andrew Virgil, Anthony John “A.J.”, Paul McGivney and Matthew Leonard; daughter, Julia Grace, all of the home; sisters: Janel Norris (Jeff) of Waunakee, Wisconsin, Brenda Lemon (Ty) of Chapman, and Michele Garvert (John) of Plainville; seven nieces; nine nephews; one step-niece; one step-nephew and numerous cousins, great nieces and great nephews.