GY SGT. John Cash (ret)
GY. SGT. JOHN W. CASH, U.S.M.C. (Ret.)
John Wesley "JW" Cash was born September 18, 1927 in Hendersonville, North Carolina to Otis Benjamin Cash, Sr. and Margaret Lucille Neill Cash. He was the second of what would eventually be fifteen children born to that union. He grew up in Hendersonville and was educated in the Hendersonville Public School System.
He accepted Jesus as his Savior at an early age and joined the Star of Bethel Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
At the age of 16, he volunteered to go into the Armed Services. This required his father to grant special permission as he was under the legal recruitment age, which was 18. He joined the U.S. Naval Seabees and was a messenger under Commodore A.G. Bissett and Commodore Willie B. Short. After completing 3 years and nine months, he returned home to complete his High School education and he attended North Carolina College at Durham, now known as North Carolina Central University.
He is the recipient of a number of medals and honors, including: The China Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Battle Star, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal with 3 stars, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 stars, United Nations Medal, and the Cold War Ribbon.
He met and married Ethel Mae Irby. From this union, three children were born: Keretha Mae, Wesley Brenton and Dean Rydele (n/k/a Ajamu Olaniyan). He has six beautiful grandchildren, Ean Weslynn Cash of California; Tessa Marie Cash, Lanre Berg Olaniyan and Harmony Folasade Olaniyan of Wisconsin; and Aszurae Olabisi Olaniyan and Maili Adeola Mae Olaniyan of Florida. He was very involved in his eldest grandchildren's early lives driving to "hang out" with Tessa after school.
When he was 23, he decided to return to the military and joined the United States Marine Corps. He faithfully served 29 years with tours of duty in WWII, Okinawa; the Korean Conflict, Lebanon; and the Viet Nam Conflict. He returned to the United States in 1969, and completed his years of duty in Madison, Wisconsin at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, as an Inspector, Instructor and Gunnery Sargent. He was the head scoutmaster for Troop 80, Madison's first all-black Boy Scout troop and the head football coach while his son, Dean, was in middle school. In his spare time, he was a boxer, achieved a black belt, and served as a police officer in Madison and Sun Prairie; was the first black Chief of Police at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and was employed as a Wisconsin State Capitol police officer. He also was an EMT, providing safe transportation for veterans from VA hospital to VA hospital in the Midwest.
In 1969, John and his family joined ST. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Madison, Wisconsin, where he served in various ministries including Trustee, Steward and Lay officer. He also served as choir director and organist at ST. Paul A.M.E. Church and S.S. Morris Community A.M.E. Church in Madison. Since relocating to North Carolina, he attended St. Paul's Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church in Hendersonville, where he would play the organ on occasion and teach others to play the piano.
John enjoyed gardening. His homes in Wisconsin and North Carolina were adorned with beautiful flowering plants, especially dinner-plate dahlias, roses and impatiens. In addition to gardening, he loved to play the organ. He said that his ability to play music "by ear" was a gift from God and that he communed with God through his music. Since retiring, he started each morning, as he was able, playing his organ thanking God for allowing him to return home from the wars. It was not unusual for him to play the organ for two and three hours a day.
John was preceded in death by his devoted wife, Ethel Mae Irby Cash; his parents, Otis B. Cash, Sr. and Margaret Neill Cash; brothers, Otis B. Cash, Jr. and Edward R. Cash, Sr., and a sister, Mary C. Banks.
John leaves to cherish his memory three children: Keretha Mae of Sun Prairie, WI; Wesley Brenton of Madison, WI; and Dean Rydele (n/k/a Ajamu Olaniyan) of Milwaukee, WI; six beautiful grandchildren: Ean Weslynn Cash of CA; Tessa Marie Cash of Stevens Point, WI; Lanre Berg Olaniyan and Harmony Folasade Olaniyan of Milwaukee, WI; and Aszurae Olabisi Olaniyan and Maili Adeola Mae Olaniyan of Port Lucie, FL. In addition, he is survived by seven siblings: Margaret Hampton, Stoughton, MA; Edith Cash Sloan, Salisbury, NC; Homer W. Cash, Sr. (Barbara), Pisgah Forest, NC; Virginia Cash Kemp, Mattapan, MA; Curtis V. Cash, Pisgah Forest, NC; David L. Cash, Stoughton, MA; and Rose Cash Harrell (Charles), Salisbury, NC; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, adopted children and friends; and his caregiver in his final years, Peggy Duff El.
It has been said that he was a man of integrity and "privilege". He lived the motto "No man left behind" with his faithfulness to his wife during her illness. He was a man of service to his country -- Semper Fi!
Written By Family
US Marine Corps
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