John William Gouker

Born: Sat., Oct. 7, 1961
Died: Sat., Mar. 22, 2014


2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Wed., Mar. 26, 2014
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Wed., Mar. 26, 2014
Location: Cleveland Rd. Location

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Thu., Mar. 27, 2014
Location: Epworth United Methodist Church

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Music by The Piano Brothers

John W. Gouker, Jr.

October 7, 1961 – March 22, 2014

John William Gouker, Jr., 52, of South Bend died unexpectedly at 9:10 a.m. Saturday in his residence surrounded by his loving family. John was born October 7, 1961 in South Bend to Alida (Saylor) and John W. Gouker and was a lifetime area resident. On June 7, 1986 in South Bend he married Elisa A. Roberts who survives. Also surviving are his daughters, Sarah E. Gouker (a senior at Valparaiso University) and Emily G. Gouker (a sophomore at Penn High School) both at home; his parents, John and Alida Gouker of North Liberty, IN; sisters, Darlene Bell (Jeffery) of North Liberty and Sally Kazmierczak (David) of South Bend; and brothers, Jerry Gouker of North Liberty and Jeffery Gouker (Kelli) of Allegan, MI.

John devoted all of his life to his family, Penn High School, and athletics. He was an outstanding student athlete at North Liberty High School, where he played football, basketball, and track. He later earned a football scholarship to attend Sterling College in Sterling Kansas. At Sterling, he played quarterback and superback. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics/Education and Business at Sterling and a Master of Science Degree in School Administration at Indiana University South Bend. In 1986, he was hired at PHM to teach math at Schmucker Middle School, and coach football. Later, at Schmucker he became the assistant principal, and in 2009 he became the Dean of Students at Penn High School. He had a servant’s heart in whatever he did and he tried to be fair to all that passed through his door. He married Elisa A. Roberts and they had two beautiful daughters. He loved them with all his heart and gave them the confidence to be successful young girls as he did to many other young people. He spent his summers playing golf, and often amazed his golfing buddies with the “Gouker Par.” Most of all, he helped his daughters accomplish their horse show dreams, and he never wasted one day of his life. Sarah, Emily, and Elisa are proud to be his girls, and will truly love him forever.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, March 27th in Epworth Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Jennifer Weaver officiating. Committal services and burial will follow in Highland Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 and 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 26th in the Welsheimer Family Funeral Home North, 17033 Cleveland Rd.

Memorial contributions may be made to the “Gouker Girls Education Fund” c/o any Teachers Credit Union location. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at

Charitable donations may be made in John's memory to the following organization:

Gouker Girls Education Fund” .
c/o any Teachers Credit Union location

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Condolence Booklet

Joel Krueger
   Posted Mon March 24, 2014
Dear Lisa and family,

I was so sorry to hear of your loss. May God give you strength and comfort during this difficult time. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Sis Battleday
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Sorry to hear of your loss.
Dick & Sis Battleday

thomas magnuson
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014

TABLE BASKET was sent by Heritage Stables.

We are very sorry to lose a dear friend. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. From all of us at Heritage Stables

Dana Trowbridge
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
To the Gouker Family,

Words don't work well in times like these. John was a Super Great Guy! He absoutely had a srtong positive impact on both of our boys, Ryne and Collin. He will be missed. Please try to remember that he is still with us in all of the good memories that we will never lose.

Dana Trowbridge

Mark Marker
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Dear Gouker family, sorry to hear of John's passing. He was a great, fun guy. I taught with John at Schmucker Middle. He was always high energy in the classroom and out of classroom. He always impressed me as a teacher -- whenever I walked by his classroom, there was always teaching "happening." He was either showing math procedures/solutions, or helping students as they worked at their desks on assignments. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Mark and Linda Marker

Jim & Peggy Wood
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
We are so sorry for your loss. John taught both of our kids in school. He was a customer when we were in the car business and always a friend. He always had a great smile. We had no idea Sally was his sister. But to all the family our sincerest condolences.
Jim & Peggy Wood
Osceola/Bonita springs Fl.

Susie Rathbun Carney and Jack Rathbun
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Elisa and heart breaks for you. May God give you strength and comfort. Sending you love and prayers.

Tom Tucker
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
So sorry for your lost. You will be our thoughts and prayers. Tom Tucker Horseshoeing

Tasha Oakley
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Lisa, Sarah & Emily- I am so sorry for your loss. He was such a kind man! I have several good memories of him. I am so thankful for that he was able to dance with me at my wedding. I will be thinking of you all and sending well wishes your way!! Make him proud girls!!!! All my love!!! Tasha

Tim Kaniewski
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Sarah, I'm sorry for your loss. Although I only met your father one time he was a very kind person. You have my sympathy and prayers during this difficult time.

Pat Clady
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
My sympathy to all of the Gouker family. You are in my prayers during this very difficult time. May god give you peace.

Jim, Nicole, and Alannah
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
Elisa, Sarah, and Emily we are so sorry for your loss. He always made us laugh and will be missed! The Parkers

David, Michele, Samantha, Nicole, Laura, Mary and Christian Kaczynski
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
We are sorry for your loss. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

John Sheneman
   Posted Tue March 25, 2014
I was deeply saddened to hear of your loss. John was always a good guy, I will include all of you in my prayers.

Jerry Radtke
   Posted Wed March 26, 2014
Family of John,

I have know this wonderful guy since he was a kid playing summer ball with me at Greene School. I watched him grow up at NLHS and then crossed paths with him when I officiated at Schmucker.

John was a friendly, warm human being. We are better for having known him.

Jerry Radtke

Robin Shipkosky
   Posted Wed March 26, 2014
To The Gouker Family,

I am so very sorry for your loss. John and I got our Master's degree together at IUSB. We were both in cohort 13! I am sure you all remember that experience well! John was such a great part of our group and he always talked so lovingly of you! My thoughts and prayers will be with you during your difficult days ahead.

Sincerely, Robin Shipkosky

Phil Fleming and Family
   Posted Thu March 27, 2014
Dear Gouker Family,

We were so sad to hear of John's passing. It is so hard to understand God's plan.

Our family has wonderful memories of John as a coach, a teacher, an administrator and a wonderful friend.

We pray for you and your extended family. May Gods love shine down upon you during this difficult time.

The Fleming Family

Nancy Kershaw (Leszczynski)
   Posted Thu March 27, 2014
So sorry to hear about John. I'm sure he touched many lives in a positive way. May god help you and your girls find peace. You and your family are in my thoughts.

Sue Jackson-Shumaker
   Posted Sat March 29, 2014
Just a brief note to say although I only met John and his family a few times out to Kel & Jeff's farm; he, his wife and girls were always nice and kidding around with Jeff especially....I remember the girls loved riding horses and they were so cute....I remember saying to my Sister Wan, that I wished I could have a cute little granddaughter like their girls....well now I do and I thank God every day for my family...just wanted you to know my heart goes out to all of you; I know Jeff talked of him and his family all the time..My heart goes out to you and your family....take care. 13

Vivian Haney
   Posted Sat March 29, 2014
Dear Gouker Girls-- I wanted to express my sympathy for the loss of your husband and dad. I work at Walt Disney School and had the privilege of working with John for several months before they "whisked" him off to Penn. (much to our disappointment)! He was kind, upbeat, firm but always loving with the kids, and was ready to help anybody out in a pinch!

I lost my father suddenly when I was a Senior in high school. So even though situations are different, I certainly am familiar with the pain of a tremendous loss at a young age. You have been in my prayers, and I will continue to remember you in future days.
Sincerely- Vivian Haney

Dennis & Sheryll Harper
   Posted Mon March 31, 2014
Dear Elisa, Sarah, & Emily,
Sheryll and I share in your loss. We both worked indirectly with John and know he will be missed by all who knew him. He had a special way with kids and was an asset for PHM, Penn High School in particular. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dennis and Sheryll Harper

Gavin Grimes
   Posted Sun February 05, 2017
Mr. Gouker was the bomb. His favorite meal was Chipotle. I would sometimes ask him to let me have a bite when my mom couldn't afford lunch for me for the day, he would always say yes. They say the biggest stars in our lives fall hardest, and the loss Mr. Gouker fell hardest on me. God bless.