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Memorial service will be Friday for Southern California retailer John Pavlisin

Published November 18, 2015

ORANGE, Calif. (BRAIN) — A memorial service is being planned for Friday for John Pavlisin, Sr., the owner of Orange Cycle, who died on Veterans Day. He was 89 and died from the complications of pneumonia. 

A World War II veteran, Pavlisin bought Orange Cycle and Hobby Shop in 1969. In 1974 he built the building that now houses the shop, which also has another location in Costa Mesa. The shop is a mainstay in Orange, serving the community of students at Chapman University as well as the public at large.

Perry Kramer, a Southern California rep for Giant and a BMX Hall of Famer, noted that Pavlisin was known as a "sometimes cantankerous," but solid businessman who helped build the cycling community in the area. 

"Every bike rep that called on the old man had 'that moment' with him that made you not want to come back," Kramer said. "But then you realized he was probably right, and you learned from it. He was fair but didn't have the patience for unintelligent comments or answers. He helped me to learn to listen and think before I answered. I'll always respect him for that."

Pavlisin was the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants, and was born in Chicago in 1926. After receiving an early deferment to graduate high school in 1944, he joined the Army and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After being discharged he attended Tri-State University under the G.I. Bill and graduated with a BS degree in accounting.

He then moved briefly to Arizona and then California and worked in the aerospace industry during the 1950's and 60's. He then bought the store when he desired to run his own business.

Using his accounting degree, he ran his shop as a business and managed by the numbers, his family said. 

"He was known to be hard on his employees, but he stayed on them because he wanted to always make them better. Many ex-employees came back years later to thank him for teaching them about how to run a successful business," the family said.

Over the years the store donated hundreds of bikes to various causes. Pavlisin also let needy people in the community get a bike on the "pay later plan," which then got filed into a black box which is still full to this day.

His son, John Jr., said his father told him that, "Anybody that lived through the Depression thinks differently, and we are losing that generation. Unless you go to bed hungry you will never really understand the greatest motivation to man is hunger." Because of Pavlisin's hard work ethic and drive to succeed, his family never knew what it was like to miss a meal.

Pavlisin is survived by his wife of 60 years, June, his four children Vikki Pavlisin, Kim Pritchett, Sheri Nogaki, John Jr., and 13 grandchildren, all who have been involved with the bike shop in some way.

All friends are welcome at services to be held at Fairhaven Memorial Park at 1702 Fairhaven Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92705 at noon on Friday, Nov. 20.

Related: BRAIN visted Orange Cycle on our 2008 Dealer Tour of Orange County. 


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