John T. Venard, 78, died in his Jacksonville home with his family by his side on May 11, 2016. John carefully managed his pulmonary disease for 10 years, determined to live to the fullest. Born on July 10, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana, John was the older child of Hattie and Thomas D. Venard, and grew up near Zionsville, Indiana. In 1961, John began graduate training in metallurgical engineering at Oak Ridge and Knoxville, Tennessee. There, he met and married the love of his life, Mary T. Jones. In Oak Ridge, children Stefanie and Mark were born. John and Mary moved to St. Charles, Illinois in 1971, where their youngest child, Lara, was born. In 2003, the couple relocated to San Jose, California, where they enjoyed making new friends and the proximity to Stefanie’s family. In 2013, they joined the Jacksonville, Oregon community, where Lara and her family had settled.
The first of his family to attend college, John left behind a legacy of learning and family teaching. John’s degrees in metallurgical engineering are from Purdue University (BS, 1961) and the University of Tennessee (MS, 1967). His 1978 MBA is from the University of Chicago. John was a research engineer, manager, and technology transfer program administrator employed at the Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories, and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He was a member of Sigma Xi, the American Society for Metals, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Sigma Gamma Epsilon fraternity, the Technology Transfer Society, the Licensing Executives Society and the Association of University Technology Managers.
John was practical, curious and systematic, happiest working with his hands and engaging his intellect. His wide-ranging interests included science, history, politics, and literature. John enjoyed and understood music, taking great pride in Mary’s music and teaching career, including her Tholen fellowship. John flew small airplanes recreationally for many years, and spent a few years as a flight instructor. After his 1999 retirement, John explored photography, creating a broad portfolio. He was an avid golfer, spending many happy hours improving his game. He enjoyed travel, but took particular delight in family gatherings.
John is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Mary; two daughters, Stefanie (Rob) Wilen and Lara (Christopher, M.D.) David; a son Mark (Sally); and grandchildren Nathan Wilen, Henry Wilen, Jesse Wilen, Claire Venard, Kent David and Clark David, as well as numerous nieces & nephews. John was preceded in death by his parents and younger sister, Lois Venard LaGue. Private burial was at the Jacksonville Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations for a memorial bench are suggested via the Jacksonville Boosters Club, P.O. Box 81, Jacksonville, OR 97530.