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John Telles Jr

john telles
John Telles, Jr, 84, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2023, with his family at his side.
A native of East Los Angeles, John was the son of Rachel (Garcia)and John Telles. While still attending Roosevelt High School, John joined the Naval Air Reserve at age 17. He always wanted to fly! He received his flight wings in 1960 as a 2nd Lieutenant. The following year, he married Cecilia (Coria), whom he’d known since childhood and together they grew a beautiful family with four children. The family was stationed in Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Rhode Island, California, and Japan.  John served in two Vietnam combat tours flying both the F8E Crusader and the AH-1 Cobra helicopter gunship. He humbly received 63 Air Medals and 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses for his duty. John later flew  the VH-3 “Marine One” as a Presidential Helicopter Command Pilot for Presidents Nixon and Ford. His many accounts of these adventures will be missed by all! John was very proud to serve this country and did not take his life for granted, nor the many who paid the ultimate price. For years he taught children about the American flag and other patriotic duties, occasionally displaying his embellished sword.
John is a graduate with a BS Industrial Management from Roger Williams College, and MS Systems Management from USC. He is also a graduate of the US Naval War College. As a staff officer he later served as Director of Logistics Operations IlI MAF in Okinawa, Japan. John retired from the US Marine Corps in 1984 with 28 years total service advancing to the rank of Colonel.
Following retirement, John traveled the country as a trainer for PeopleTRAK software company. The past 20 years, he worked as an aviation consultant and educator. He served on executive committees for military air shows in San Diego and AIAA aerospace technical society as an educational instructor, and never passed up the opportunity to sit in any simulator. He loved to inspire flight and wanted to be among the stars. He often joked he was born too soon because he wanted to be an astronaut. If you spent any time in the evenings with him, he would point out the constellations and talk about the night sky and unfathomable galaxies.
John was an avid musician, primarily playing the saxophone from junior high through Vietnam and eventually many years with big bands and jazz bands. He leaves a music education legacy, having taught students at St. Joseph Academy in Escondido and numerous family members. John also directed the church choir for 7 years at St Francis Parish in Vista. He was a faithful man who used his gifts well, and again, always inspired others to do the same. John was an accomplished artist who enjoyed aviation and other still life using acrylics and pencil. He enjoyed tennis, fishing, football, and all things associated with his beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren.
John is preceded in death by mother Rachel (Hank) Acosta, father John Telles, and brother Leonard Telles.
He is survived by sister Cissy (Ernie) Villanueva, wife Cecilia (Coria), John (Kelly) Telles, Lisa (Chris) Ledyard, Catherine (Richard) Bagwell, and Diana Telles. He also leaves 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, with 3 more due this year.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to St. Joseph’s Academy at
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  1. Sending prayers for your soft landing
    In heaven with our Lord. Sleep with the angels. Love , Melinda

  2. Above all, John was a Marine, a leader of people, an accomplished military pilot, a man devoted to his family and religion, and dedicated mentor and educator. John inspired all who came to be in his presence. I considered John a true friend and he will be sorely missed.

  3. Through numerous interactions with his gracious family, John graced me with his example of faith and humility. This man, who flew with presidents, sang with the choir at my wedding. I treasure every memory. He now sings with the choirs of Angels.
    His life reflects the following prayer:

    Let nothing disturb you,
    Let nothing frighten you,
    All things are passing away:
    God never changes.
    Patience obtains all things
    Whoever has God lacks nothing;
    God alone suffices.

    — St. Teresa of Avila

  4. I am honored to have known John. I knew him and his world of musical talent at St. Francis where we played together and prayed together. He will always have a special place in my heart.

    • We were also honored to have known John & his musical talent’s, during the time he played in our Big Band & Jazz Hall of Fame Orchestra. He was a special friend with many talents and will be truly missed.

  5. John thank you for always being kind to us and thank you for sharing your family with us you will always be missed

  6. Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air ….

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark nor ever eagle flew—
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    High Flight

  7. I miss you, dad! You are in heaven; full of light, love, and joyful music. I am happy for you and sad for me. Life is different without you here. Words fail me all the time now. Except the words, “Hi, dad. I love you”. Love, your mija Cathy

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