Lassen, John R. Jr.
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John R. Lassen Jr. passed away on July 25, 2013, after fighting a prolonged illness the last several years. He was born in Phoenix to John Sr. and Elinor Lassen on December 23, 1946 and lived in Arizona all his life. John attended elementary school and high school in Tempe, Arizona. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Arizona State University. He was also a star athlete at Tempe Union High School setting school basketball records that lasted for many years. He attended ASU on a basketball scholarship. He was a veteran, serving in the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1970. After college and military service, John Lassen became an educator and his passion was mathematics. Over a 36 year teaching career, he touched the lives of a large number of people during their high school years at Marcos De Niza and Mountain Pointe High Schools. He found effective ways to reach a wide variety of students and most learned more from John than just mathematics. John was department chairman for mathematics at both high schools. He was one of the elite few to be awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in 1989, which included an award ceremony at the Rose Garden of the White House and a reception at the U.S. State Department. He received numerous awards and recognitions for outstanding teaching during his teaching tenure. He was also the original driving force in the dual credit program for public schools with Rio Salado College which started at the Mountain Pointe mathematics department and spread through that high school, the rest of the TUHS district and throughout the valley. It also expanded to include other subjects as well. He was recognized for this achievement with The President's Award for dedication and commitment to education in Arizona from the president of Rio Salado College in 1994. After retirement he enjoyed several years with his wife, Bonnie, at their summer retreat in Mancos, Colorado. He also enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing and river rafting expeditions with a group of likeminded friends. He was an avid coin collector. Perhaps his favorite retirement activity was being a Grandfather (Papa) to Brooke, Brenna and James and was looking forward to the arrival of his fourth grandchild in the fall. John leaves a large and loving family that will miss him dearly. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Lassen, his daughters Dawn Schmidt (Rodger), Devon Buckley, his son Andy Lassen (Laura) and grandchildren Brooke Schmidt, Brenna Buckley and James Buckley. His mother Elinor Lassen, sisters Susan Burger (John), Margaret Walker (Ron), brother Ken Lassen (Lesilyn) and many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family will all miss John. A memorial service for John Lassen will be held on Wednesday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m. at the Church of the Epiphany, 2222 S. Price Road, Tempe. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to
, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, 85014 or to Cure PSP, 30 E. Padonia Rd., Ste. 201, Timonium, MD, 21093.
Published in The Arizona Republic from July 28 to July 29, 2013