Cover photo for John Ketchum's Obituary
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1936 John 2022

John Ketchum

February 17, 1936 — July 31, 2022

John Lawrence Ketchum, age 86 of Mountain Home, Arkansas, passed away on July 31, 2022. John left this world as he lived his adventurous life with honor, courage, and the heart of a lion. John was born on February 17, 1936, in Linton, Indiana to William (Bill) and Marigold (Goldie) Ketchum.

John basically had five families of which he was very loving and protective to. He had his immediate family, who have all passed on. He had his wife, Donnie, who was the absolute love of his life and her family which all welcomed him with open arms. Then he had his adopted family that accepted him as Dad, best friend, and grandfather. Always in his mind and heart was his military family. John’s many friendships filled his heart with pride and joy and to know John was to love him. The constant laughter he brought to everyone’s lives will live on as each of us look back at our cherished memories. He gave each of us the priceless gift of laughter and his unconditional love.

John Lawrence Ketchum was born into show business. He had his first acting part at age 5. The family left the repertory theater and settled in Dalton, GA., to put John in school. His dad managed the WBLJ radio station. The family used their stage name, and John attended school in Dalton, Georgia as Larry Armond.

At 15, John returned to summer stock theaters between school terms. He did red-haired freckled-faced juvenile comedy and juvenile leads, danced, and played drums on three different repertoire shows, and worked as a comedian and dancer on Bill Bailey’s All-Star Minstrels. He also played drums with Shirley and the Dukes.

He was a member of the following organizations: Gun Owners of America, National Rifle Association, U.S. Concealed Carry Association, The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), Ozark Writer League (OWL). He was a member of the Pacific Northwest Association of Investigators, Inc. A member of W.A.D., World Association of Detectives, Inc.; The Washington Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers; Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

John joined the North Miami Beach Police Department and served as a Patrol Officer. After completing a Military Criminal Investigation Course, he returned to the Miami Springs Police Department. He worked undercover for the county narcotics bureau for two years until his life was on the line, and then he volunteered for Viet Nam.

John joined the Army after finishing advanced Infantry training. His buddies got orders for the war zone in Korea, and John was discharged for being underage. He returned to school and, still underage, joined the National Guard. They would call him out of school once a month to take a ¾ ton truck, drive to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and pick up corn liquor. He brought it back, and the liquid was distributed to every Sergeant who would then sell it. They built the best National Guard Armory in the State of Georgia. He maintained his Reserve status until he became active during the Viet Nam war.

John was a highly decorated wounded Army veteran. The Army awarded him two Bronze Stars, five Army Commendation Medals for Valor, a Purple Heart, two Air Medals. But his prized medal is the Soldier’s Medal for heroism, for entering an uncharted minefield at night and bringing out a wounded soldier. John received so many prestigious awards they would cover an entire wall. He joined the Army as a Private and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Before earning a master’s degree in Psychology from Nebraska in Omaha he had earned a Master of Arts degree from Webster College in Saint Louis, Missouri. This knowledge became helpful when setting up and operating the third-largest private investigation agency in the state of Washington. John was a licensed polygraph examiner. He conducted 6000 polygraphs and conducted or supervised 3000 criminal and domestic investigations.

John was working on his twelfth book when he became too ill to continue. He wrote nine books in the John Bodie Private Investigator, Polygraph Examiner Series, and two in the Aubrey Finley Domestic War Series. John also wrote a weekly article for Pace Setting Times in Horseshoe Bend, AR when he lived there on the lake for several years. The best part of living on the lake was he had a great view of all his ‘critters’ that he fed daily.

John is preceded in death by his son Michael Ketchum, his mother, Marigold Lawrence Ketchum, his father William (Bill) Ketchum, paternal grandparents, John Lawrence, and Goldie Ketchum.

John is survived by his wife Donnie Finley-Ketchum, of Mountain Home, Arkansas, and a daughter, Sharol Donoso, in Washington State.

Arrangements are by Kirby and Family Funeral and Cremation Services - Mountain Home, Arkansas. Visit an online obituary and guestbook at .
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Ketchum, please visit our flower store.


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