John Canfield, born in Meriden, Connecticut, was the fifth of seven Canfield children. He graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1942 and was drafted into the Army in 1943. He served in the Army thirty-nine months, honorably discharged in 1946. In 1951, John graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Civil Engineering. Moving to California where he married his wife Neva Mae Sharp in 1954, settling in Sacramento where they had three children. John had a thirty-six-year career with the California Transportation Department, retiring in 1987. He was very active in his community including his church, local and state government, and veterans organizations.
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