John Calarie was a dedicated family man who loved his country and to restore old cars and furniture.
“He was very patriotic,” especially on the Fourth of July, said his son, David Calarie.
On that day, his father would hang a huge American flag from the top story of his home that reached three-quarters of the way down to the driveway.
John "Jack" Calarie, 78, of Crown Point, died July 29.
He was known for his sense of humor and boasted with tongue in cheek that he struck a blow for democracy because Joseph Stalin died the day he enlisted in the Air Force, his son said with a chuckle.
Over his life, Calarie had 20 to 30 vintage automobiles, David Calarie said. His first was a 1930 Model A.
An accountant by profession, Calarie was quite precise when restoring a car, including placing the original screws back into their original slots.
David Calarie said his dad’s best find was a 1957 Cadillac El Dorado with a stainless steel top. Only about 400 were made.
“He taught himself to paint cars. His paint jobs were just immaculate.”
Calarie also loved restoring old furniture. He would disassemble an old table or cabinet, strip off any paint and refinish the wood, his son said.
Calarie’s wife, Bonnie, recalled graduating from high school as John finished his military career. A woman at a local restaurant knew them both and thought they would make a nice couple.
“She thought that we belonged together and she played Cupid,” Bonnie Calarie said.
Her arrows hit right on target because the two were married for 54 years.
David Calarie said his dad showed how two people in love should treat each other.
“He was a great provider and set an example as a man, a husband and a father.”