John Melbourne (Jack) Tuttle, combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, died on December 12, 2022, in Roseville, California. He was 85 years old.
Born July 18, 1937 in Covina, CA, Jack was the son of Melbourne Webb Tuttle and Eunice Jane Merrill and big brother to Susie. He lived in Wisconsin and Illinois as a young child but returned to California and graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1955.
Jack graduated with a Business degree from Occidental College, where he played football, joined Kappa Sigma fraternity, and met and married Janet Sue Steward in 1958. At the same time, Jack served in the ROTC, earning the rank of 2nd Lt. in 1958. He earned a Master’s Degree in 1969 from the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA). He later completed programs with the Command and General Staff College (Leavenworth, KS, 1974) and the National War College (Washington, D.C., 1979).
Colonel John M. Tuttle served 28 years in the Marine Corps before being honorably discharged in 1986. He and his family moved 18 times with the Marines, and his wife and daughters especially loved his assignments in Hawaii. But, as an aviator, Jack’s favorite assignment was the Naval Air Station Meridian (MS), because he flew up to 1,000+ hours/year. Jack loved flying the A-4E Skyhawk and later, the OV-10 Bronco. Perusing the flight logs that he kept all his life, he recalled specific details of his missions 50 years later. Jack served three tours in Japan and two in Vietnam. Among his many medals and commendations, Jack was awarded the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service and Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal (14 stars), and Naval and Marine Corps Commendation Ribbon with Combat Valor.
Jack was in Vietnam during 1967-68 and again briefly in 1972. He was stationed at Chu Lai Air Base, but missions took him near the DMZ, to the A Shau Valley and Laos, and once into North Vietnam. One of his aircraft was shot, and while he was unharmed, his wife Jan kept that bullet in her jewelry box. Jack had keen memories of the Battle of Khe Sanh. His missions there defended American ground troops, dropping smoke to hide their positions and bombs to collapse enemy trenches.
After retirement from the Marine Corps, Jack had a brief second career teaching high school and college courses. His third career was with Job Corps, where he began as substitute teacher and within four years advanced to Deputy Commander of Hawaii Job Corps Center. Later, he worked as a traveling evaluator for MTC Job Corps.
Outdoor activities and fitness were important to Jack. His daughters recall touch football, sledding, camping, beach days, and kayaking. But Jack’s favorite activity was running. He trained and raced in marathons, and even ultra-marathons, both as an individual and on military teams. Most races were in Hawaii, but he ran Los Angeles, Boston, and Marine Corps Marathons too. His best time was 2:37, and his home was full of his trophies, medals, and ribbons.
Jack was predeceased by his parents and his first wife Jan. He is survived by his loving wife Edie, whom he married in 2003. They enjoyed happy retirement years with grandchildren of all ages, also traveling, hiking, show-shoeing, craft shows, and antiquing. Jack is also survived by his sister Susie Smith (David), daughters Judi McCarthy (Rob) and Jacque Tamariz (Ed), and stepchildren Garth Falk and Erin Tipton (Tim). He leaves behind two nephews and eight grandchildren: Hoku, Kekoa and Pukaua Kealoha; Rob and Katie McCarthy; Lila, Elley and Ronan Tipton; and four great-grandchildren, with two more due in 2023.
Service date and time are to be determined. Please check back for future details.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, The Cooper Center,
18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172-1776 or make a toy donation during the 2023 holiday season with Jack in mind.