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Memories of John by Dale Foss

Dale Foss was a lifelong friend of John. Here are some of his recollections...

newspaperphotoJohn grew up in the very small town of Leland, IA, population about 200 people. John was the youngest child of Richard and Mabel Hugelen with 2 older sisters, LaVonne and Sandy and an older brother, Eldon.  John and the other boys in town spent a lot of time in the woods and slough on the north side of town.

There was a large tree for climbing and sitting in which the boys named “the Big Tree”. There were other areas in the slough called Tomahawk Hill and Rabbit Village. When the slough was full of water, they boys would take “duck” boats and paddle around the slough catching frogs and turtles.

Another favorite pastime was fishing in the Winnebago River for bullheads and northerns. One time, while John was fishing with his father south of town, he was done fishing and was just goofing around, swishing his daredevil around in the water. A fairly large sized northern hit the lure, surprised him and John eventually landed the big fish.

John was the Des Moines Register paper carrier as a young man. He was up before school to deliver the morning paper everyday. Saturday was his collection day to go around town and collect money for the paper.

As a teen, he got a job at one of the local gas stations. John started out patching tires and eventually worked up to changing oil on customer’s cars and trucks.  When John was mid-teens probably, he got his first motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson “Sprint”. That started John’s love for motorcycles which continued for the rest of his life.

John got his first guitar, an electric model, fairly young, sometime around 10 or 12, I would guess. John would practice for hours in the basement. The first song he tried to master was the Rolling Stones song “Get Off My Cloud”.  John was always a happy, go lucky kind of guy and always fun to hang out with.

John’s musical interests continued through junior high, high school and beyond as evidenced by his learning several instruments and becoming a member of the “Cajun Hot Soles”.

As an adult, John also became interested in sky diving, bee keeping, harvesting honey, growing apples and making different types of wine. He was a man of many talents.