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Obituary: Semmen, John A.

Age 44

SEMMEN, John A. “The Walmart Guy” John went home to be with Jesus on October 13, 2013. He was born in Spokane on October 6, 1969 to Dean and Linda Semmen. John was born with spina bifida, he endured many operations throughout his life. Shriner’s Hospital was a large part of his life in his younger years. John’s faith and relationship with Jesus helped him overcome his physical disabilities and gave him the gift of his optimistic and outgoing personality. He was baptized and confirmed at Christ (now Advent) Lutheran Church. John graduated from University High School in 1988. With the help of agencies such as the Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits, STA Paratransit van, the Department of Developmental Disability, SL Start and LIFE, Inc. he was able to move into an apartment and live independently. In 1998 John realized the dream of driving and was taught to drive from his wheelchair using hand controls thus having the ability to drive himself to and from his job as a greeter at the Valley Walmart where he was employed for 16 years. As a child he was involved with the Easter Seal Camp and also took part in many Bloomsday races. John enjoyed country western music and enjoyed meeting friends at various venues to listen to the music and sometimes to “dance” in his wheelchair. He loved to travel and while in high school went with his class to Washington, DC with the “Close Up” program. Other memorable trips included two to Nashville for Fanfare and the Country Music Awards, Disney World in Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, North Dakota and to Pittsburg for a Spina Bifida Conference. John bowled on a league, did ceramics and took private oil painting classes, sit-skiing at Mt. Spokane, as well as playing bingo, going to the casinos, movies and eating out with family and friends. John packed a lifetime of experiences into a short number of years. His father Dean died in a truck accident when John was only 11 years old, leaving his mother to raise three young children. John is survived by his mother Linda; sister Debbie of Tacoma; and his brother Michael of San Francisco; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in North Dakota. The family is very appreciative to the many wonderful doctors, nurses and medical equipment companies that helped John throughout his life. A viewing will be held in the chapel at Community Cremation of the Spokane Valley, 13127 E. Sprague on Friday, October 18th from 10:00 AM to noon followed by a graveside service at 1:00 PM at Pines Cemetery, 1402 S. Pines, Spokane Valley. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, October 19th at 11:00 AM at the Advent Lutheran Church, 13009 E. Broadway, Spokane Valley with a luncheon to follow. Memorial contributions may be made to the church in his name.


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