John D. Riesenberg, sergeant first class U.S. Army (retired), 71, of Lakewood, Wash., passed away Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, at the Georgian House Hospice in Lakewood. John’s 21 years of honorable active military service included two tours in Vietnam. Death was attributed to complications of glioblastoma.

John was born Aug. 29, 1941, in St. James, Minn., the oldest of eight children born to Tony and Aldine (Foley) Riesenberg. He attended the Catholic School of St. James, and graduated from St. James High School with the Class of 1960.

On March 14, 1960, he joined the Minnesota National Guard and was assigned to Battery “A,” 125th Field Artillery, 47th Inf. Division, Minnesota Army National Guard based at St. James.

On Dec. 21, 1960, he was released from his National Guard obligation. He enlisted in the regular Army, and would spend the next 21 years in uniform as a professional soldier: both as a war fighter and a peace keeper.

His stateside duty assignments included: Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Riley, Kan. (1St Inf. Div.); Fort Lewis, Wash. (9th Avn. Bn., 9th Inf. Div.); Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind. (Hq&Hq Co.); Army Nerve Gas Plant, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver. Colo.; Fort Riley, Kan. (823rd Maint. Bn.), Fort McCoy, Wis., Fort Sill, Okla.

Foreign duty assignments: 2/33, 3rd Armored Division (Gelnhausen, Germany),

1/33 FA, 1st Inf. Div. ( R.V.N.) 1965- 66, 7/2, 38th Artillery Brigade (Osan Air Base, South Korea), 1st Logistical Command (R.V.N.) 1970-71.

His military awards and decoration include: Bronze Star Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (four times), Good Conduct Medal (seven times), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (one silver battle star and one bronze battle star), National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam campaign medal with “1960” device, Korean Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Leaf, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal First Class, and Meritorious Unit Commendation .

Following his military career, John obtained a degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Service from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, and for the remainder of his working life, he would be responsible for outdoor recreation equipment maintenance at Fort Lewis.

John was a member of American Legion Post 110 at Fort Lewis and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 969 of Tacoma, and an active participant in the Washington State University Master Gardener program. John spent much of his spare time in the outdoors hunting (big and small game) and fishing (fresh and salt water) and promoting and supporting conservation programs and activities.

In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by a brother Bill in 1983.

He is survived by two sisters, Pam (Mrs. Jim) Kietzer of Vernon Center, Minn., and Michelle Engelby of Madelia, Minn.; and four brothers, Jim of Plymouth Wis.; Rick of Lewisville, Minn.; Gary and Kevin of Minneapolis; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and the Society of the First Infantry Division.

In accordance with John’s wishes, there will be no public service. Cremation has taken place with inurnment with full military honors at a place of honor, Tahoma VA National Cemetery at Kent, Wash.

A memorial fund has been established in John’s name.

John’s family would like to extend a special “Thank You” to the doctors, nurses and staff at The Madigan Army Medical Center for the professional and compassionate care provided John during his ordeal. A special Thank You also to the members of the DAMIFINO Sportsman’s Club for their daily visits.

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