John Lawrence Kolander, Jr.

October 10, 1939 - January 05, 2021

John Kolander, Jr.

John Lawrence Kolander, Jr., 81, of China, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by loved ones on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

John was introduced for the first time on October 10, 1939 by his parents Elizabeth and John Kolander. He was the oldest of four children and experienced a “tough time” at an early age.

During this period, he gained his work ethics that he was so well known for. Luckily his childhood home was walking distance to the church that he would attend for many years. This was the start of his faith that he would rely on throughout his lifetime.

In 1978, he used his determination and cowboy charm to win the heart of his brown eyed girl, Lillian Marie Carreon. The two instantly fell in love and remained happily married for 42 years.

John and Lillian became a love story that still inspires many. Together they built a foundation and raised 6 children that they not only taught how to survive but also how to live.

John had many jobs that included working for the Texas Agriculture Experimental Station and Jefferson County. After 30 years, he retired from the Jefferson County Precinct 1. During this time he gained loyal friendships that most will never experience.

Some of his best memories were made at the Golden Triangle Raceway. This quickly became his second home where he was known for the gift of operating a grader. John became an icon for this track and stayed humble as his talent remained untouched. As the news of the best track maintainer spread, he became a necessity for surrounding dirt tracks. Once he retired from this, these tracks slowly started to fade away. Speedway 90 was a huge part of John’s life that will always be a reminder for us when we pass by.

John Lawrence hunted, fished, and gardened before it became an “in thing”. He strongly believed in what he caught, killed, or grew would make a good dinner. You were never too young for his handshakes and you were always greeted with a simple salutation of him tipping his hat. John’s cowboy hat will stay a symbol of his John Wayne grit and leave an imprint in our memories. He gave everyone a nickname that some respectfully still carry. Mr. Kolander was known for fearless voice, eye contact, and comical personality. He has seen many changes from growing up without a television to watching t.v. at the palm of his hand.

John prolonged his life by cheating death on many occasions. Some of these times included rare accidents to “keeping up” with partying with the younger generation. The beginning of one of his many lives was when he became a Papaw. This gave him a chance to tell his stories, play pranks, and remain young. He immediately became a protector and inspiration for simple living when he became “Uncle John” to his nieces and nephews. He also gained extra kids that he would quickly claim as his own and was the “go to” man for them all when needing veterinarian answers to life advice. He could charmastically chat with a stranger and make an instant impact on anyone.

John Kolander never took a day off from being a true legend. His legacy will continue through his family, friends, neighbors, and community. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, gardening, making wine, and telling his unforgettable stories. He lived everyday through humor and faith.

John lived an incredible life. “Don’t quit Ole Man,” “You better not give up Dollbaby”, and “Keep going,” were his famous words because he was confident in finishing what he started and he did just that.

Survivors include his wife, Lillian Kolander; son, Chad Kolander and his wife, Laura and Kris Kolander and his wife, Devon, all of China; daughter, Katrina Kolander Whittington and her husband, Jason, of Bevil Oaks; son, John Lawrence Kolander III of Houston; daughters, Stacey Kolander-King and her husband, Eric, of China and Kassie Kolander of Houston; brother, Ronald C. Kolander and his wife, Cleffie and sister, Mollie Sue Ridley both of China; grandchildren, Colt Kolander, Hunter Kolander, Jaci Whittington, Addi Whittington, Kayley Kolander, Chesney King, Kirsten King, and Presley King; and great-grandchildren, Kayden Studensky-Berry and Addison Studensky-Berry.

He is preceded in death by his father, John L. Kolander, Sr.; mother, Elizabeth May Belle Breeden Kolander Sherman; brother, Gerald Wayne Kolander; granddaughter, Tori Kolander; and daughter, Katie Elizabeth Kolander.

A gathering of Mr. Kolander’s family and friends will be from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His memorial service will be at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at China United Methodist Church, 205 West Washington, China. His cremation will be handled through Broussard’s Crematorium, Beaumont. Please observe social distancing guidelines. There will be a “Farewell Party” for John at the Elks Lodge from 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., January 23, 2021.

Memorial contributions may be made to China United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 8, China, Texas 77613.

Please observe social distancing guidelines. By attending any public event you are acknowledging the risk of exposure to the Corona Virus. Please follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control:

Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard's Mortuary - Major Dr.
1605 N. Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77713
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Memorial Service
China United Methodist Church
205 West Washington, China, Texas 77613
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
10:00 a.m.
Broussard's Crematorium
5150 Stivers Street Beaumont, TX 77705

Comments (22)

  • Traci Carter

    14 January 2021 at 16:37 | #

    Mr. John was a true legend. I will always remember his stories and that laugh. Take care ol' man. We love you!


  • Theresa & Tony

    12 January 2021 at 23:27 | #

    We are praying for your family. May God comfort you all during this time of sorrow
    Theresa & Tony Myers


  • Charles and Linda Fancey

    11 January 2021 at 23:30 | #

    John has been a good friend for a long time and was always willing to give you advise. I always enjoyed his visits at the farm with JJ. John was the best wine maker and taster I ever knew. He was also the best grader operator I ever seen at the race track or on the roads. You will be sorely missed. Rest well old man.


  • glenn d smith

    11 January 2021 at 22:05 | #

    John was one of the finest and most kindest people i knew i was proud to call him a friend when many years ago i remember asking himJohn what are you going to do with that young girl? his answer was im going to mary her and that he did LILLIAN he was very proud of you. he and i talked a lot about fishing and hunting he will be missed very much.


  • Billy & Emy Kolander

    11 January 2021 at 20:06 | #

    You all all are in our hearts and prayers.. What a fine man and a life well lived. We know his love will shine on.


  • Stan Price

    11 January 2021 at 19:30 | #

    The one and only John. Never without a good story. Will be truly missed. Loved his visits looked forward each week. What a blessing to be his friend, none like him!


  • -

    10 January 2021 at 00:59 | #

    Blessed, I was to have a Brother in law like John Lawrence he was my friend and neighbor long before My Brother In Law. "Uncle John" was last of the real cowboys,. John is in the rodeo of God's Precious Hands. .I will miss with fondness our visits.


  • Loretta Godina

    09 January 2021 at 23:52 | #

    Lillian, Katrina ,Stacey, Kassie My family sends our sincere condolences for your loss of your daddy Mr John. he was a very unique man with many lovable qualities I could see the love your daddy had for your momma as well as for his girl's on his face anytime I would visit with him for any amount of time . I will pray for your family to find peace in your day's to come remember your daddy legacy will live in many peoples hearts and mind for years to come he was kind and lovable much like you all . Rest in peace Mr John .


  • Lenae Parquet

    09 January 2021 at 23:24 | #

    May God be with your family at this time. John was always nice and I called him JR because he reminded me of JR on the show Dallas. RIP JR


  • Patricia Shoenberger

    09 January 2021 at 23:06 | #

    Hunter this is Wyatt's Grand Maw I'm so sorry for the loss of Your Grand Father My Thoughts and Prayers are going to be with You and Your Family


  • Patricia Shoenberger

    09 January 2021 at 23:03 | #

    I'm so sorry for Your Loss My Thoughts and Prayers are with each one of You God wrap Your arms around this Family and Comfort Them as They go through Their loss


  • Rachel Hogan

    09 January 2021 at 21:56 | #

    John Lawrence was truly one of the best people you could ever know. He always had a kind word and a great story to tell. Any room got much brighter when he arrived!! My thought and prayers are with his family.


  • Judi Benoit

    09 January 2021 at 18:51 | #

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We won’t be able to attend but will swatch on live stream.
    John Lawrence was a good man and leave a wonderful legacy.

    Judi and Ronnie


  • Cliff & DeeAnn Whittington

    09 January 2021 at 01:46 | #

    John, was one of the real deals. Always kind and greeted Us with a Smile & handshake. He Loved his family and All his family Loves him. We shared and swapped many Hunt’in tales big & small.. There may be a Big Space missin, but his Family & friends will never forget him. We are Praying for the heavy hearts within the Family. God bless Cliff & Dee


  • Jeff Stull

    08 January 2021 at 23:00 | #

    In the short time I got to know John he was a true grit guy. He made some great wine too. His gravely voice hid a humble heart and his kindness will always be remembered.


  • Jonathan Vides

    08 January 2021 at 19:31 | #

    John, my condolences to you and your family. Your buddy, Jonathan.


  • Amy Briggs

    08 January 2021 at 14:27 | #

    One of the sweetest men I’ve ever known. I met John Lawrence at my husband’s deer lease many years ago. He was so kind to my kids, treating them as his own. I know he will be missed terribly by many.


  • Colleen Manuel Sanders

    08 January 2021 at 03:05 | #

    I remember John Lawrence fondly from the 70’s when my mom worked at the grocery store in Chiba. He was so kind and funny. Such a sweet man.
    I am so sorry for your loss.


  • Etta Stelly

    08 January 2021 at 02:16 | #

    My condolences to the family of John Lawrence Kolander Jr.
    Expressing heartfelt sympathy and offering a prayer, that god above will comfort you and your family and ease the loss you bear..Love you all.♥️♥️♥️


  • Pam Whittington

    08 January 2021 at 01:41 | #

    So sorry for your loss. John will be missed. Luckily you have many wonderful memories.


  • Glen and Vicki Johnson

    08 January 2021 at 00:30 | #

    Glen and I both thought the world of John. He was such a gentle and kind man. He was the best on those tractors and doing the dirt work at the track.. Glen learned from the best. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.


  • Cardell DeLeon ( Allied Electrical )

    08 January 2021 at 00:13 | #

    I will never forget when John and I came across a timber rattler by the race track it was at least 6 feet long we were both surprised as those cane breakers are not common in China Texas. I also remember when he beat everybody racing at Speedway 90 one Saturday night I mean everybody. When he had that gold Dodge ( I think it was a Dodge) with the police spot light we were scared to death that when he got behind us riding around we we're getting pulled over for sure...God Bless John and his precious family love Cardell and Charlie DeLeon


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