Johnny W. Klanika passed away Wednesday, Oct. 28, surrounded by some of his immediate family. As he transitioned into Heaven, a new life began, as his youngest great-granddaughter took her first breath.
Johnny was born in Sealy, Texas, on Dec. 18, 1942, to his loving parents John and Annie Klanika. Johnny grew up on a farm in San Felipe with his parents, and older sister, Annie Mae where they spent many years farming with their mom, dad, uncle Bill, and aunt Francis. During his high school years, he was a track star holding many records until the ’70s when the famous Eric Dickerson stole the show. Rumor has it, he held strong to one record until the ’90s. The word on the street was he could run as fast backward as he could forward. After graduating from Sealy High School in 1961, he enlisted in the Army and was part of the 155th infantry. He bravely served his country with pride and integrity.
In 1965, Johnny began his career as a professional over the road (OTR) truck driver, hauling loads coast to coast for 43 years. During his many adventures, he unexpectedly met the love of his life, Betty, on June 25, 1981. They spent their days on the road, antiquing, or going to various flea markets, and auctions, and attending many country and western concerts until her passing in 2016. Before retiring, Johnny passed along his many years of experience, and passion for driving to his nephew, Steven Cooper, teaching him all the ropes.
If you knew Johnny, you knew him as the wild and crazy guy and sharp-dressed man. He had a bold personality and although age took a toll on him, it never took his sense of humor. He was that guy to crack jokes at all the wrong times, and that was the person everyone came to love and adore.
The past several years he loved spending time with his only sister, Annie Mae Havran and “his favorite niece” Sheryl Kasper. Johnny especially loved all their breakfasts and dinners together at Tony’s in Sealy and their many road trips to small surrounding German and Czech towns to “taste test” poppyseed kolaches, and klobasneks. Weikel’s in Brenham always was his No. 1. He never missed speaking with his sister each night before bed, and always prayed for those in need. He was his niece’s biggest prayer warrior in her battle with breast cancer and will always be her Guardian Angel.
In his retirement years, he drew closer to God, and his church family, the First Baptist Church of Brookshire. It is there he met his closest friends, the pastor Calvin Webb, Ron, and BB Waddle, and the late Jack Murray. They were always there to lend a helping hand, or get him out of his many messes. Despite the uphill battle with his health, his faith was unwavering, and he remained steadfast in his assurance of eternal life with Jesus Christ. He did not fear death but welcomed the time to join his beloved wife Betty, and mom and dad before the throne.
Johnny was preceded in death by his parents, John and Annie Klanika, and wife, Betty Klanika. He is survived by his son Billy; daughter Pauline Simon and husband Gus; grandson, Steven; granddaughters, Javona, and Ashaureah; three great-grandchildren; sister Annie Havran; and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Nov. 4 from noon to 2 p.m. with a service to follow at Knesek Bros Hwy. 36 Funeral Chapel 1140 Meyer St. Sealy. Interment at San Felipe Cemetery at FM 1458 and Campo Santos Street, San Felipe, TX 77473.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of: Knesek Bros. Funeral Chapel 768 Fourth St., Sealy, TX 77474; 979-885-3535; www.knesekfuneralhome.com.