John P. “Junnie” Mihalakis

John P. “Junnie” Mihalakis

John P. “Junnie” Mihalakis, age 91, of Dubuque, Iowa, passed away at home peacefully on September 26, 2021, surrounded by his family.

An extended family visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., on Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, with services at 3:00 p.m., with Deacon Mike Ellis. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made in John P. Mihalakis name to Hospice of Dubuque, 1670 JFK Road, Dubuque, Iowa 52002.

Junnie was born on March 18, 1930, in Dubuque, Iowa, the youngest son of Viola (Neubauer) and Phillip Mihalakis. Junnie married the love of his life, Letha “Midge” (Billmeyer) Mihalakis, on February 23, 1949, at Saint Mary’s Church in Dubuque, IA. They were together 69 years before Midge passed in 2018. Junnie characterized his beloved Midge as his “Angel,” a metaphor that Junnie claimed his father Phillip used to describe Midge upon meeting her for the first time.

Junnie grew up in “The Flats” of Dubuque. At an early age, Junnie developed a fascination for fishing and the Mississippi River. It was this passion that spawned the first of many successful business ventures over the years. Junnie was a self-made man who was ambitious and aggressive in his work. He had a gift to see opportunities where others did not. He worked in partnership with brother-in-law Richard Billmeyer for over forty years. Besides his enterprising spirit, his true love was spending time at the Bass Camp Resort, Minnesota City, MN, his home away from home for over fifty years, where he entertained countless friends, professionals, and business-people by instructing them in the art of fishing.

It is easy to see Junnie’s love of fishing but knowing him was to know that his generosity and love for people spread past the riverbanks. There was this saying, “When God measures a man, he puts the tape around the heart, not the head.” Throughout life, Junnie approached things with a curious blend of optimism, practical wisdom, and an openness to accepting and facing whatever showed up, both good and bad. For Junnie, his life was measured by honesty, integrity, faithfulness, and giving back.

Junnie was immensely proud of his Greek lineage and one who always put family first – an exceptional father and husband who lived life to its fullest. In his later years, when asked about his life, he was always quick to respond, “It’s Been a Damn Good Life!” His life was well-lived; he worked hard, played hard, and never lost sight of his humble beginnings; he made a lifetime commitment to helping those in need.

Junnie is survived by

nine children,
Viola McLaughlin,
Janice Lenz,
Deb Oster,
Vickie (Pat) Ellis,
Clyde (Tina) Mihalakis,
Kim (Rich) Rink,
Joleen (Jim) Hedley,
Mark (Dawn Wolf) Mihalakis,
and Ann (Mike) Cicciarelli;

27 grandchildren;

52 great-grandchildren;

and 9 great-great-grandchildren.

Junnie was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Letha “Midge” (Billmeyer) Mihalakis; a son, in infancy; a daughter, Regina; his parents; brothers, George P., and Louis “Louie” Mihalakis; and his sisters, Sophia, in infancy, Kathleen (LaVerne) Jorgensen, Irene (Hank) Waltz, Harriet Bush and Delores Wiedenbacher; and sons-in-law, John McLaughlin Jr., and James “Jim” Oster.

Junnie’s family would like to extend a special thanks to all who were instrumental in the compassionate and loving caring of Junnie, especially Sean Bradley, his personal care taker; Sue and Jeremiah, Hospice of Dubuque; and his beloved grandson, Jim. We are eternally grateful for your help.


View local florists here.

Extended family visitation

Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
September 30th, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Funeral service

Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
September 30th, 2021 at 3:00 PM

10 condolences for John P. “Junnie” Mihalakis
  1. Michael Bain says:

    I was truly happy when I was around Junnie. He welcomed me to his favorite home away from home(Bass Camp). I still have fond memories. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  2. Michelle leland says:

    Jolene and family,
    So sorry to hear of your fathers passing. I enjoyed talking to you about your dad and mom at Jazzercise. You had such wonder stories to share, and now you will have those memories.
    You are all in my thoughts and prayers today.
    Be at peace.
    Michelle Leland

  3. Drew Brashaw says:

    Condolences from the Brashaw family.

  4. Mike & Chris Kipp says:

    I was blessed and honored to have know and worked for Junnie & Midge and all his children. I have so many fond memories and a lot of stories I could tell. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the family.

  5. Gary J Fink says:

    My condolences to the entire Mihalakis family….I don’t even know where to begin to describe how much Junnie meant to me. He hired me as a young boy to work at the flats bait shop, a job I kept into my early 20’s. The opportunity he presented me, and the lessons learned working for him served me well, and were the basis of a successful working career. He was truly an under-the-radar giant in the Dubuque business community! I always felt like I was part of his family, and for that I will be forever grateful.

  6. Karen Spahn says:

    Uncle Junnie and Aunt Midge were truly special people and a very special couple. Mom and Dad always shared great memories and loved spending time with them at Bass camp.
    We are remembering Junnie, Midge and all of you fondly at this sad time.

  7. Hank & Sandy (White) Fassbinder says:

    So sorry to learn of uncle Junnie’s passing. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Harold and Nancy Wissing says:

    We want express our deepest condolences to the Mihalakis family. I can remember as a young boy I would run back and forth from the Petrakis ball park carrying armfuls of tall beer cups to the bait shop on 15th street. I would run as fast as I could so no one would take them from me and then I would run back to get more. Junnie would pay me half a cent a cup. My other 2 brothers (Bob and Chuck) would also had odd jobs at their young age. He always cared for us kids and we were always grateful for his kindness.

  9. Joann Jorgenson says:

    I’m so sorry and sad about Uncle Junnie. I always admired the loving relationship he had with Aunt Midge. He accomplished so much in his lifetime, he was truly a Dubuque Legend.
    Uncle Junnie gave me my first job at the bait shop. He tried to teach me how to scoop out (and not over serve!) a dozen minnows for a sale, but I don’t think I ever really got the hang of it as the minnows would jump off the net as I tried to put them in the bait buckets! Lol, but Uncle Junnie was patient with me.
    Thoughts and prayers to my cousins and the whole Mihalakis clan. 🙏🏻❤️

  10. Kim Barrett says:

    To Clyde n Tina, Kim, Jolene and the rest if Junnies family, sending my deepest sympathy on the loss of your great father❤

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