John Arthur Ames was born in Santa Barbara, CA on December 2, 1930, the second son of Albert Ames Sr. and Frances Ames. When he was 18 months of age he contracted whooping cough and from the resulting fever he became deaf. In October of 1937 his parents enrolled him in the California School for the Deaf at Berkeley, CA and he graduated in 1951. It was a residential school and he spent the school year in Berkeley and his summers at home with his family in Santa Barbara. He had many wonderful stories of his formative experiences there, including being able to watch the shootout in the famed Battle of Alcatraz from the 3rd floor of the boys' dorm as well as playing the lead role in CSD's production of Hamlet in 1950.
After graduating in 1951 he worked 3 months in the shoe shop at Camp Roberts, and then moved to Southern California to find work in the Aerospace industry. In 1956 he married Charis V. Sand in Santa Barbara. They had two sons, Dennis John Ames and Mark Arthur Ames. The family lived in Canoga Park, CA from 1956 to 1971.
In his career as a tube bender for Rockwell he was actively involved in the Gemini and Apollo missions and worked on the F-1 and J2 engines, and also inside the Apollo capsules. Later in his career he also worked on the Space Shuttle program. It was during the interval between the end of the U.S.' Moon missions and the beginning of the Space Shuttle program that he embarked on his greatest adventure. Having learned of a frontier area in southern Brazil that had no schools for the deaf, John and Charis moved their family to Brazil in 1971 and with the help of Charis' parents they founded a school for deaf children in Umuarama, Parana, Brazil. It was the most rewarding and challenging time of their lives and they saw and did things that they had never imagined doing before. They had a profound impact on the widespread deaf community, bringing sign language education to children who had virtually no communication. The love and connection they still have with their many friends there are a witness to the lives they touched.
In 1979 John returned to his career at Rockwell. He retired in 1990 so that he and Charis could move back to his home town of Santa Barbara to care for his ailing mother. After she passed away they continued their retirement where John was born. In April of 2012 they moved to Placerville, CA to be near their sons Dennis (in Carmichael), and Mark (in Placerville), and their grandkids and great-grandkids. John suffered a massive stroke on March 25th and passed away on March 27th. He was preceded in death by his father and mother and his brother Albert Ames, Jr. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons and daughters-in-law, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He died trusting in Jesus, his Savior, and his family looks forward to seeing him again in heaven.