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Local World War II Veteran celebrates 100th birthday

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Ten decades young, that's how the loved ones of John Pletkovich describe the World War II veteran, longtime superintendent, and John Deere employee who came from humble beginnings.

"I came from an outstanding family. I was one of eight children in our family and of the eight children in our family we were all college graduates." said the 100 year old Pletkovich

A 1941 graduate of what is now Western Illinois University, he was a successful golfer, But put everything on pause to serve his country 11 days after the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

"On that 21st birthday I was called to duty." said Pletkovich

He served aboard the USS Jacob Jones as a petty officer making more than two dozen trips across the Atlantic before being transferred to the Pacific, where he directed the transport of Japanese prisoners.

After the war, he was principal and superintendent of schools in Edwards for 10 years.

"I enjoyed every minute of it, during that time I met my lovely sweetie wife." said Pletkovich, "I miss her, but I continue and I continue to do what I felt I should do. "

A father of four and a great-grandfather, there is one thing he is sad about on this monumental birthday.

"After driving a car for 88 years, I had to give the driving up." said Pletkovich with a chuckle

Surrounded by family and friends he shared his gratitude to have all of them in his life.

Kaitlin Pearson

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