John Edwin Fons

John FonsBorn in Ludington, Michigan
I never knew the town.

Dad worked in oil and gas
Exploration. Our family moved every
Year or so. Teaches you things.

I lived in:

Mt. Carmel, Illinois;
Robinson, Illinois;
Bradford, Pennsylvania;
Robinson, Illinois again;
Tulsa, Oklahoma;
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;
(Two locations);
New Orleans, Louisiana and
Houston, Texas.

Left Houston to homestead
an abandoned farm in Madison County, Iowa.
Lived there eighteen years, seven miles from the nearest town.

Then I lived in Indianola, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa;

Dallas, Texas;

Van Nuys, California;

during which time

I attended college at Trinity
University in San Antonio, Texas;
University of Houston;
Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa;
Dubuque Theological Seminary and
Dallas Theological Seminary.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
In Religion from Simpson College
And Master of Theology
From Dallas Theological Seminary.

I attended the University of Iowa
Writer’s Workshop three semesters
On special admission.

I worked these jobs:

Pizza cook; department store
Sales clerk; night auditor and motel
Desk clerk; Heavy equipment ‘swamper’ playing nursemaid to the delicate needs of a twenty-six ton D-7 Caterpillar tractor during construction of a 40-mile natural gas pipeline through the cranberry bogs and granite ledges of rural Massachusetts – tough bunch of boys;

School bus driver;
Plumber’s assistant;
Small town journalist;
Self-employed carpenter; Certified nurse’s aide among the terminally ill and elderly;

Driver – Union Gospel Mission, downtown Dallas, put 50,000 accident free miles on a Chevy suburban in the Metroplex over the course of two years transporting homeless men- We called it Fort Apache;

Contributed to the New English Translation (NET) Bible as editorial consultant upon recommendation of seminary faculty.
Oil and gas exploration including
Development of US Patent 5,281,024. Taught myself enough trigonometry to do it;
Interim pastor;
Overseas missionary to Romania; Baptist book store
Sales clerk; stenographer and Hollywood private secretary;
Assembly line worker;

Freight handler – regional distribution warehouse
Executive jet charter agent catering to the rich and famous or just plain rich;
Writing instructor – Mini Course Curriculum & Wheelhouse Project, UW Madison, 2011-15

Moved to Madison, Wisconsin from Southern California in January, 2009 on a twenty degree below zero day. Never tossed my gear from the farm in Iowa, so not so crazy as it sounds. Still pretty cold. And yeah, pretty crazy.

Elected May 11, 2016 Executive Director, The Arc – Dane County. Resigned October 23, 2016.

Conducted thirty-seven weddings as officiant from 2011-19 with credentials from seminary which include license and ordination.

I own a four harness floor loom and weave for the pure love of it.

I love to write.

I mean I really do really love to write.


I love the tango.

I love the accordion.

I love hand tools and work on my own vehicles. Tools are like vocabulary. You need the right word. You need the right tool. You get the job done.

I drive and maintain a 1979 Mercedes Benz 300SD Turbo Diesel once belonging to my father, still gets 36 miles per gallon; a 1985 Chevy C30 step side pickup built originally for the Southern California Railroad by the GM factory in Janesville, Wisconsin. The factory no longer exists. Three million square feet of industrial capability demolished. The truck has outlasted the factory that built it. I recently had a new 5.7 liter long block installed after having the transmission overhauled; a 2000 Mercedes E320 with four wheel drive. Body shows rust but it gets around; 1984 Fleetwood Jamboree motor home completely remodeled with low miles. As comfortable as your favorite old shoe; 2005 Honda Shadow Spirit 750cc motorcyle. My father always told me to stay out of bars and stay off motorcycles. One out of two ain’t bad. You see a pattern. Get what you need before what you want. Take care of what you have and when it comes to conservation, practice maintenance not politics. Gets you a lot further down the road.

Once had a greyhound named Stetson. Now he runs with the clouds.

Named him that way because I wear a Stetson. It started out white, but time changes everything with sweat, grime and tipping it to the ladies.

That’s honorable.

On Father’s Day 2023 we rescued two starving Bernese Mountain Dogs off a derelict property up in Door County. They should have weighed near 100 pounds each. They each weighed less than 45. We named them Ole and Lena. Ole is a goof. Lena is the brains of the outfit. We love them dearly and they love us for the same reason. We’re damn good survivors.

Come and get us.

I joined the Sauk Trails Optimist Club in March 2016 and served as board member and club Vice-President before becoming President of the club 2018-19, then again 2019-20; became Lieutenant Governor of the Optimist SWIS District of Southern Wisconsin 2020-21 and SWIS District Governor 2021-22 over 48 clubs give or take from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan; served again as President of the Sauk Trails Optimist Club 2022-23.

I sponsor the web site Rough Writers at, dedicated to good writers who don’t know how good they are and take no credit for anything.

My kind of writer.

I hold Copyright on a number of poetic and novel length manuscripts, the most recent entitled The Great American Novel granted July 19, 2019, Registration Number TXu 2-152-977.

The manuscript currently rolling through the platen of my Hermes 3000 manual typewriter and out onto my desk in an every increasing stack is entitled Argos.

Read ’em and weep.