John "Cactus" Ware passed away of natural causes at his home Wednesday night, April 20, 2011.
Born February 16, 1923, Ware lived and worked in Laguna Beach for most of his 88 years. He was a Laguna Beach lifeguard and owned J.D.K. Builders, a masonry and cement business, where he could be found working on the job up until the last weeks before his death.
He served in three wars—World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. According to his son Kelly Ware, he will be buried in his military uniform wearing his construction boots.
A colorful character who could strike up a conversation about adventures and escapades while charming the ladies with compliments during afternoons at Auto Supply, his nickname "Cactus" is said to have come from a day in grade school when he dressed up in a barrell with nails sticking out of it as a costume on Sadie Hawkins Day.
His memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 2, at in Laguna Beach. He will be buried at Ascension Cemetary in Lake Forest with full military honors "followed by a big bash with family and friends," says Laguna Auto Supply owner Jerry Piper. He is survived by his former wife, two sons and six granchildren.
[Photographs of John Ware at the 80th Annual Laguna Beach Lifeguard Reunion by Marilynn Young, 2009.]