John R. Sjobakken

John R. Sjobakken, age 75, lost his 2 ½ year battle with pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at his home surrounded by his loving family.  To celebrate John’s life, family and friends may visit from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street.  To honor John’s life, funeral services will be held immediately following visitation at 11:00 a.m., on Wednesday at Behr Funeral Home, with Rev. Karen Candee officiating.  Burial will be in Linwood Cemetery, where military honors will be accorded by the American Legion Dubuque Post 6.

John was born on January 10, 1946, in Dubuque, the son of Orvin and Viola (Doherty) Sjobakken.  He graduated from Wahlert High School in 1964.  John served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967, with 1 year in Vietnam.  John was honorably discharged in 1967.

He married Janann R. Heller on October 9, 1971, at First Congregational Church in Dubuque.

John was employed with the telephone company (Northwestern Bell/US West/QWest Communications) for 34 years, retiring in 2003.  He was a lifelong LA Dodgers fan.  He enjoyed fishing, yard work, collecting and repairing old clocks, and driving his 1969 Buick GS 400, which he special ordered in 1969, with no power except under the hood.  He also cherished spending time with his children and grandchildren, plus many vacations to Cancun, Mexico.

John is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Janann; a son, Scott (Annick) Sjobakken of Des Moines, IA, and their children, Audrey and Elliott; a daughter, Laura (Michael) Wilkins of West Des Moines, IA, and their children, Evan, Alexis and Aleah; his sister, Jean Lees; and several nieces and nephews.

John is preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister-in-law Jerry (Ruth) Sjobakken; and a brother-in-law, Richard Lees.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Avery Foundation, 3058 Deerwood Circle, Dubuque, IA, 52003, Dubuque Rescue Mission and Dubuque American Legion Dubuque Post 6.  The family will also thankfully receive your support through phone calls and greeting cards in John’s memory which may be mailed to Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa 52001, Attn. John Sjobakken Family.

The family would like to thank Dr. Hillard Salas at Grand River Medical Group; Dr. Leila Kutteh, Dr. Wook Lee and all their phenomenal staff at Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, and the kindhearted staff of Hospice of Dubuque.

“Don’t Forget to FEED THE BIRDS”

Online condolences may be left for the family at

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