John Tengdin
John Tengdin

By Eric Heinz 

John Tengdin, a longtime advocate of San Clemente and nine-year Planning Commissioner, died at the age of 91 on Dec. 28 in Fountain Valley.

Tengdin served as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee and was a city liaison to the Downtown Business Association.
He was chairman of the Planning Commission for three terms and he had a lot of input on the renovation of the Ole Hanson Beach Club. He was inducted into the San Clemente Dons (Donchak) local recognition group.

Tengdin joined the Navy in 1944 and served in the Pacific fleet on the USS Kern after VJ-Day. John then enrolled at Purdue University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1949.

“He was inducted into Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi academic honorary fraternities. John was recalled by the US Navy for the Korean War from Dayton, Ohio and was assigned to Tactical Air Control Squadron Five, based at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego,” his obituary stated. “While stationed in San Diego, he met his future wife, Carol. After his second term of service, ET2 Tengdin returned to Kansas City in November 1951. He married Carol in Chicago, Illinois in 1952.”
John and Carol retired to San Clemente in 1987 where he lived the remainder of his life. John was active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) professional organization and, as a result of his work on electrical standards, he was elevated to fellow in January 2007, an honor, his son said, that is only given to the very best in the industry.

“He was very detail-oriented, focused on fixing things and processes,” his son, Richard Tengdin said. “Dad was very involved with writing the standards for the electrical power distribution.”

On Jan. 15, City Council member Lori Donchak planned to adjourn the City Council meeting in memory of John Tengdin.

“John was an unwavering force for good in our town,” Donchak said. He and Carol touched so many places and hearts. His family and especially his grandkids were his pride and joy.”

John was active in the San Clemente Presbyterian Church where he was a choir member, and in service to the community in various organizations, Tengdin’s obituary stated.
“He was also involved in the San Clemente chapter of Rotary International and was well-known for his corn shucking every Fourth of July, and he was inducted into the San Clemente Dons,” the obituary stated.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 at San Clemente Presbyterian Church, located at 119 Avenida De La Estrella. According to an obituary submitted to the San Clemente Times, John is survived by his brother Robert (Dorothy), children Thomas (Debra), Richard (Mary) and Elizabeth (Darrell) and grandchildren Conor, Dillon, Bridget and Amy. His wife, Carol, passed away in 2013. The family is asking in lieu of flowers to consider a donation to Casa Romantica or Music Mission Kiev, two charities John and Carol supported.

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