John was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Gena and Robert Bartrom. John, or John Michael to his family, had big ideas, aspirations, and dreams from the beginning. He wasn’t one to follow the crowd or go with the flow. His goal was to be the biggest, the fastest, the loudest, the smartest, the most fun, and the most loved. The best of the best. Always pushing, always thinking ahead, always ready for the next step.
John loved to talk his whole life. Being the oldest of 5 kids, he took on the self-appointed role of spokesman for his siblings and regularly gave unsolicited advice and direction. Never one to stay still, he ran track and cross country for Dekalb High School and advanced to state in both. He excelled in speech and debate and was chosen to give the commencement speech at his high school graduation ceremony. John was a lifelong motivator and positive public speaker.
After high school, John was ready to jump into life. From opening a successful coffee shop to rising to the top of every sales team he was ever on, he continued to push himself forward. His sales journey started in Fort Wayne, continued to Indianapolis, and finally landed him permanently in Kansas City. In 2009, when the kitchen and bath remodeling division of the company he worked for decided to shut down, he made a life-changing decision to start his own company. John launched Jericho Home Improvements with a dream to grow it into a successful business while maintaining the highest industry standards. A company that would do things differently. He took great pride in opening a business and consistently worked to uphold each and every one of its core values.
One of the core values John was passionate about was giving back. Generosity was a gift that John was born with. He might not give you the shirt off his back, but he would get you five others that were your size and favorite color, along with a pair of shoes, and some cash just in case. He loved to help others and fill any need. Along with countless people John helped, he was passionate about giving to organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Living Water International, World Harvest Ministries, Dare to Share, and Global Orphan Project, to name a few. John understood that you not only talk the talk, but you walk the walk. He believed in others. He gave generously of his time and resources. He was your biggest cheerleader. He showed up for you when you needed him. He saw and believed the best in everyone. He was truly one of a kind.
John will be remembered for the grand life he lived. He will be remembered for the love he had for others and especially, his two daughters. He will be remembered for his devotion to his loving wife, Rachel. He had his fair share of struggles and he pushed to be bigger and better than any obstacle he faced. John believed in second chances. He believed in dreams when no one else did. To live like John is to live life to the fullest. Maybe we can all take a little bit of John with us. Dream the dream. Give generously. Laugh the loudest. Tell others how fabulous they are. See the greater potential in everyone and in ourselves. Jump out of the plane. Drive the fast car. Never leave home without your hot sauce. Do the things that scare you. And remember, there’s never a bad time to bust out your portable microphone and sing karaoke.
John is survived by his fiance', Rachel and their unborn son, John Michael Jr.; John’s daughters, Zella and Baylee; mother and stepfather, Gena and Bryan Hayes; siblings, Adam & Lis Bartrom, Nora & Tim Schwartz, Taya & Jared Boggs, Grace & Josh Blodgett; future In-laws, John & Debbie Chai; Rachel's son, Evan Chai; Rachel's brothers: Aaron & Jessica Chai, Ben & Tanya Chai, Josh Chai; nieces and nephews, extended family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and loved ones.
John was preceded in death by his daughter, Arianna; father, Robert Bartrom; grandparents; and his beloved grandmother, Pauline Walters.
Indiana services will be scheduled at a later date. John’s final resting place will be Parker Cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.