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John Michael Zachara
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Celebration of Life
John Michael Zachara
John Michael Zachara passed away June 1st, 2021 from a rare form of leukemia called BPDCN (Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm). He was a kind and gentle spirit with a warm, friendly smile. John was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey by Janet & Francis Zachara.
John was a unique and special person with many talents and gifts. He enjoyed a full and vibrant life surrounded by children and grandchildren. John excelled at anything he tried and worked very hard at a long and fulfilling career at Battelle Pacific NW Labs.
John will be remembered for his warmth, loving eyes, special relationships with all of his 4 children and his love of cooking, plants, flowers, mountains and water.
He is survived in death by his wife, Dawn M Vargo Zachara, Mother, Janet Zachara, brothers, Peter, James & Mike Zachara and children Amy Zachara (Eden & Ivy), Heather Andrews (Hallie, Gus & Remy), Dillon Zachara (Ben & Lola), and Peter Zachara.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Washington state trails association.
Service will be held at Events at Sunset at 1pm with an reception to follow
915 bypass highway
Richland WA 99352
John was the easiest person to get to know and be around, always warm and welcoming. With John, it was always good food and conversation. Sending love to you Dawn and the whole family. The world lost a brilliant man and a brilliant mind.
Pete—I am so sorry you have lost your Dad. He was your biggest fan, and so enjoyed your high school years . I am pleased that I got to know him as he supported you through your years at Hanford High School. I know you have many memories to carry with you as you miss him.
I first met John after I contacted Dr. Ogalini at the University of Washington and asked for any candidates he might have for a position I had open at PNNL. He gave John an exceptional review, noting that he did not have a PH.D which was a requirement for the position. Based on his comments, I decided to invite John to PNNL for an interview and seminar. John was working on the geochemistry of soil formation and my early background was in the microbiology and biochemistry of soil formation so I thought it might be a good match. He of course gave a great seminar and I asked him a question about how certain organic reactions in soil influenced his results. He very curtly made it clear that he was not going to answer the question, and later when I recommended that we hire him, my supervisor pointed that out. As I recall, I said we should prefer that answer to an attempt to fill the room with meaningless, words. Later John told me that whole business of organics and microbiology was beyond his area of focus and we began taking actions to ensure that he had the backup he needed to address these interactions on our projects. That was before the science of biogeochemistry became a buzz word. We subsequently were able to fund his PhD (which he didn’t need), and John became a renown scientist in his field, always with the same attention to detail, in-depth understanding and integrity he showed in that first seminar. Over the years, we were able to help each other in many, many, ways and I grew to love him dearly, He did not suffer fools lightly and I am sure I wss the brunt of many laughs about management, but I believe there was a level of mutual respect that I am thankful for today, May God love him and bless his family.
John was so special. I will never ever forget his kindness, humor, love for his family and amazing cooking! John opened his home one weekend, with Dawn and hosted a girls getaway weekend for his daughter Amy (one of my best friends,) Cathy and Me. We had an absolutely amazing weekend and will will never forget the fresh and incredible tasting meals he made for us! Then again when we joined his family for Amy and Chris’s wedding in Hawaii, my husband and I got to spend more time with him as well as got to know his mother and siblings and their families! This was a trip I will always treasure. I was so envious of his family and all he created. He always made me feel welcome…one Thanksgiving we did not have family to be with and John, Dawn, Amy, Chris and the whole Zachara gang lovingly invited my husband, me and our two small children to join them. We felt so loved and so grateful that holiday and I will hold it in my heart forever. John- I know you know this, Amy, your daughter, is one of the most spectacular people on this earth…she carries your spirit with her always and I know she will honor your legacy through love, daily.
John was a famous and talented scientists that I, and many of my colleagues strove to emulate. Originally, I got to know John because of our shared scientific interests and collaboration and the role John played as a mentor to me. Fortunately, more than 20 years of working with John provided me an opportunity to get to the know more than just the science. I also got to know John, the man. In addition to the science, John was always happy to share his thoughts on life and what a “life well lived” meant to him. Those thoughts and perspectives quickly went to my core and have become part of who I am and who I strive to be. I will always remember John fondly and carry his selfless words of wisdom with me.
Thank you John for all of the gifts that you have given me.
So grateful our paths crossed. I wish we could have shared our home in the woods with you. We shared a hard and intense path … for a moment in time … but long enough to know how hard John’s passing is for all who loved him. Peace for you Dawn and all family.
I will always treasure those many days of running and cycling with you along the shore of the Columbia River or hiking the hills around the Tricities. Rain or shine, cold wind or summer heat, we rarely missed a day. I’ll miss those impromptu days of skiing at White Pass after a storm coated the slopes with a new blanket of snow or hiking in the Cascades to some new peak or ridge. I’ll also miss those epic skiing and climbing trips in Western Canada and sitting around the camp or hut in the evening discussing the runs or climbs of the day and, on occasion, reading dirty limericks from a hut library book! Most of all, I’ll simply miss spending time with you.
Goodbye my dear friend.