June 6, 1933—December 31, 2019
John Waage, 86, passed away at his home in Longmont, Colorado on December 31, 2019. John was born June 6, 1933 in Elko, Nevada to Dora and Selmer Waage. He was married to his high school sweetheart Pam Waage for 61 years and had three children. They shared a long life of love, learning, music and outdoor adventure. They inspired their children and grandchildren to do the same.
John graduated from Elko, Nevada high school where he was the football quarterback, basketball forward, and baseball pitcher. He also played trumpet in the high school bands. His grandfather, John McCulloch, a Scotsman turned rancher and miner, was his childhood hero.
John and Pam married on September 12, 1954 while students at the University of Utah. During college, John played semi-professional baseball and developed a passion for sports car racing. After receiving a Mechanical Engineering degree in 1958, the couple moved to Idaho Falls and welcomed the first of 3 children born in Idaho. John worked as a nuclear engineer at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory and later became recognized as one of the first nuclear engineers in the nation. The couple helped found the Idaho Alpine Club. John loved leading friends on mountaineering expeditions and notably obtained a few first ascents.
The family moved to Solana Beach, California in 1968 where John became the engineering manager for the General Atomic Company, designing a variety of nuclear power generation applications. He enjoyed biking, coaching his boy’s baseball teams, playing guitar, and taking the family on wilderness backpacking and Mexico trips.
In 1975, John became the project manager to build a new concept nuclear power plant in Colorado and the family moved to Longmont, Colorado. He later worked for Stoller Corp in Boulder consulting for electrical utilities across the US. Indulging his love of the outdoors, John spent countless hours with family and friends hiking, biking, fishing, camping and skiing, golfing, running, and hot air ballooning. He became a loyal Rockies baseball fan.
John and Pam moved to Grand Junction, Colorado in 1991 where John worked on environmental clean-up of uranium milling. The couple joined the outing club and enjoyed many outdoor excursions with family and friends. They introduced their grandchildren to new adventures like hikes in the Canyonlands and canoe trips on the Green River.
An avid biker, John took many long biking excursions, including trips across the Canadian Rockies, the coasts of Oregon and California, across Italy with Pam for their 50th anniversary, and a coast to coast trip across the USA.
Throughout his life, John was an avid reader and learner. He and Pam enjoyed attending book groups and playing bridge. They loved traveling in Europe and South America. When John retired, he enrolled in courses in western geology, served as a volunteer park ranger, and tutored young students. Being a wealth of information John was called on many a late night by his children and grandchildren struggling with homework. He inspired them to pursue their educations and their dreams.
Preceded in death by his parents and wife, John is survived by his sister Sheila (Nick) Halton, daughter Sonja (Steve) White, sons Marc (Anne) and Erik (Molly) Waage and six grandchildren that were his joy—Kurtis and Ryan (Jenna) Waage, Kelsey (Ari) Vrohidis, and Jeremy, Lara and Trevor White.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, St. Labre Indian School, Doctors without Boarders, the Sierra Club or KUVO Jazz Radio Denver.
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