John David Woltcheck
John Woltcheck was born on October 26, 1926 to Dimitri Philip and Lena Juliana Woltcheck, who immigrated to the United States from Russia in the early 1900’s. The youngest of four children, John grew up on Long Island, New York. After graduation from high school, John enlisted in the Army Air Force and served for two years during World War II.
Upon his discharge from the Army Air Force, John headed west, eventually settling in Santa Barbara in 1957. That same year, John joined the Santa Barbara Fire Department as a “hoseman.” In 1959, John was promoted to “fireman” (as firefighters were called at that time) and later to the position of “engineer.”
His fellow firefighters remember John as someone who enjoyed all the firehouse stories and was eager to share his own stories and experiences with others. “John was fun to work with and never had a bad thing to say about anyone he ever met,” said one firefighter. “He was always ready to teach and share with the new firefighters the many things he had learned.” John retired from the Fire Department in 1976 following a work-related injury.
John married Margaret Burnham, a registered nurse, in 1960 and they enjoyed their life together until Margaret’s passing in 1998.
John had a keen interest in current events, history, cars and motorcycles. During his youth, he often took to the open road on a motor bike, criss-crossing the country and stopping often to talk with people from all walks of life. In his later years, John treasured his daily walks at Shoreline Park with his beloved Welsh Corgi, Mack Barney.
It was at Shoreline Park in December 2000 that John was reintroduced to a long-time acquaintance, Rhoda Stevens, and they quickly became inseparable. Together, this happy couple enjoyed many of life’s simple pleasures: taking day trips to scenic areas throughout Santa Barbara County, meeting friends at local restaurants, watching classic movies and savoring delicious meals that John prepared in the kitchen of his Goleta home.
John passed away on November 9, 2015 at the age of 89 with Rhoda by his side. John will be fondly remembered for his quick wit, zest for life and generosity to many local charities. John is survived by his sweetheart, Rhoda Stevens, her daughter Karen Lee Stevens and many friends, near and far.
In accordance with John’s wishes, no memorial service will take place; his ashes will be scattered by Rhoda and Karen “from the highest mountaintop.”