John Sussex was born in Goodland, Kansas April 30, 1926. His parents lived on a farm 16 miles NE of Goodland. They raised wheat, horses, cattle and hogs. At the age of 10, John moved with his brother, two sisters and parents to a ranch SE of Holyoke, CO. After three years, the family moved to a place south of Ft. Morgan, CO. When John was in the 10th grade, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and John enlisted in the service in 1944. He was put in the cavalry and sent to Ft. Riley, KS to train horses. He got stable duty helping the farriers because he knew how to shoe horses. John spent the majority of basic training on horseback and has some fascinating stories to share of his experiences.
In 1954, John was sent to Calcutta, India to join Merrill’s Marauders. John was in charge of feeding and watering 317 mules. On the way to Calcutta from Melbourne, Australia, their ship was attacked, the men abandoned ship onto two rafts. John spent 7 days on a raft; after 5 days they sent up a flare after hearing a plane and the plane dropped supplies for them. Two days later a Coast Guard Cutter picked up the men and John returned home in August of 1946. He helped his dad on the ranch for the rest of the summer.
The following fall, John hired out to a man south of town who wanted John to break and ride horses. In April of 1948 John was riding for the VV Ranch NW of Nederland, CO where he met his wife – Juanita Miller. Juanita (Neats) was also employed by the same Arabian horse ranch riding and showing horses for them.
John and Neats were married November 14, 1949. They spent almost two years in Montana and endured the blizzard of ’49 on the Powder River. In 1951, the Sussexs left Montana and went to work for John’s parents in Ft. Morgan where their first son, Tim, was born. After John’s folks sold their cattle, John and Neats went to work for Jensen/Heckman ranch west of Lagrange, WY where they worked and resided for 30 years. Their second son, Mike was born while employed on the ranch in Goshen County. When the ranch was sold in 1983, John and Neats purchased a small place on Bear Creek, continued to ride for the neighbors, as well as working at Torrington Livestock on horseback. They are now retired and continue to live in their home on Bear Creek, where they still have horses, goats, chickens, dogs, and cats.