John Henry Tihen of Cape Coral, died Sept. 10, 2012 at the much-too-young age of 60 years. John Henry was born May 17, 1952 in Harper, Kansas, the son of Joseph Anton Tihen and Frances Drouhard Tihen.
Though the family moved from Kansas when John was just a child, he thought of Kansas as home. He returned summers during his teen years to work on his uncles' farms and maintained close and treasured connections with his many Kansas cousins. His Kansas roots, and years in New Mexico, gave him a love of nature. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and exploring around the next bend. He developed an appreciation for Native American culture and art while working with Native American families during his education in Early Childhood Development. He marveled at how a piece of earth could become a beautiful piece of pottery with just two hands and primitive tools. Others marveled at how he could change a child's life with just his two hands, his brilliant and creative mind, and open heart.
John, a graduate of University of Kansas, was a passionate and accomplished teacher in the Lee County School system. He taught students who could not attend school due to serious medical conditions. Many of his students had special educational needs and John was unusually skilled at identifying those needs while recognizing the unique qualities and strengths each child possessed. John's specialty was teaching Pre-Kindergarten children who were learning to talk, learning new motor skills and learning to make sense of their world. John's delight in his students, his surprising creativity and just plain fun teaching methods became his signature approach to the work that placed him in high demand. Although John was first welcomed into the homes to help the children, he was quickly welcomed into the hearts of their parents as they worked their way through difficult times together. John's own sense of innocence was recognized as the key to his connection and effectiveness with the very young children. He will be profoundly missed by the families so touched with his kindness, compassion and gentle spirit. Hearing of his work, a rabbi called John a reincarnation of a Biblical wonder-worker. All who knew him would agree.
John Henry Tihen
In addition to his significant career, John's family and friends knew him as a devoted family man, a voracious reader, animated storyteller, impassioned Notre Dame football fan and lover of unbearably spicy food. He brought humor to every occasion with a laugh unmistakable and most certainly unforgettable.
John Henry is survived by the most treasured person in his life, his beloved Barbara Koehler, her daughter Alyssa, and granddaughter Arley who was adored by her loving "Pappy" from her first breath to his last, his mother Frances D. Tihen of Fort Myers, brothers Larry (Debbie) Tihen and Duane Tihen of Cape Coral, sisters JoAnn Trupo, and Claudia Madigan of Cape Coral, Martha (John) Cook of Orlando and Marilee (David) Tihen-Sarchet of Fort Myers, his many loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, dear cousins, best bud Jerry Mannell and other cherished friends.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew's church, 2628 Del Prado Blvd S. on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 10 a.m., immediately followed by a celebration of John's life to be held within Moody River Estates at the club house located on 3050 Moody River Blvd. Enter at the guard house on Hancock Creek Blvd. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to ECHO or a charity of the donor's choice.