THE PASSING OF A LEGEND: JOHN COON
January 2009 our Federation lost a Great Member, and friend, John Coon from Winchester, Indiana passed on and is now raisingin Heaven . John was an Icon in the fraternity and had been a member since 1928, for 81 years. He was an historian for our organization telling many stories from the past about our members, that most of us could only know by name, and the Flemish Giant Rabbits. Personally, I have had a great relationship with John for many years, and I found him always to be a great friend, very entertaining in his stories about our organization, and its great history. After his love for Ardith, and the Lord, came his great passion for raising and showing Flemish Giant Rabbits. It was his life. John appears on the cover of our last guidebook with Keith Forbush, of Michigan. They, for sure, belong on this cover because they both are Fathers of our organization, and have left a major impact on our Members and the wonderful Flemish Giant Federation.
John, living in Winchester, Ind., was known best for his “Top Brass Rabbitry” that were highly sought after by all members of our organization for years. Members waited in line to receive the chance to own a John Coon Rabbit. John was meticulous in only letting others have what he would only keep for himself, and many fine animals were given to help others. He was known for the color and brass his offered. John was well known from years at the “Ohio All Flemish Shows” in Greenville, Ohio. Many old breeders and Judges would meet at John Coon’s home the weekend of the show and go over rabbits. Some of those were Herb Bashore, and our current from MO.. Those that did visit John could certainly remember John and Ardith at the dinner table with a prayer before eating. (Tradition). For sure I know that some of the breeders to visit were Kurt Witt, Jim Ahyou, Bob Dunham, Less Angel, Dan Brink, and Dale Gearhart to name a few. I can remember personally driving down in a blizzard with Ralph Barr to pick up John’s last rabbits.
John told me about getting his first rabbits, attending shows during the depression, and his years of experience with great breeders of the past. He personally told me that Ted Holsinger had the best Flemish Giants he had ever seen (Sandies). Ted also was the father of the Fawn Variety Flemish. He afforded me, thru our friendship, to have keepsakes that were dear to him and I will cherish until I meet him in heaven. All the old guidebooks, His first pedigree Flemish Giant , June 15th, 1928 from Dr. Krajeck (A gray). His Pedigree from 1942 from Dr. Andrews showing “German” buck (Hitler) in the third Generation. Also, what I call the Flemish Giant Grail, is a trophy of John’s from the 1941 Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1st Jr. doe. (A masterpiece) . John spent a lot of time with his great friend , Keith Forbush from Michigan. I can remember John and Keith and their wives visiting my home to see my rabbits when I was a young one. Having these legends come to my home was quite an honor. It was people like John Coon and Keith Forbush that made our Federation the Best in the ARBA. It is about the love of the Flemish Giant Rabbits, and friendship.
John Coon and I talked on the phone a lot, but as all those that spoke with John know the end could come at any time with John saying call me again soon, and click (LOL). I have many stories he told me and I put a couple on the web site to share with others. John Coon is what Flemish Giants are all about, and a book could be written on his contributions to our organization. John made many , many friends over the years. John will be raising rabbits in heaven. He will be missed by all that knew him. I will always miss him. It was my pleasure to have known such a great person. My heart is with his lovely wife Adith who was married to John for 70 years. God Bless both of them, and may we never forget our Legend--- John Coon .
God be with you…. Bob Bomia