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John J. Lavin

  • "We knew Jack through my work at the BLM, and Jack was a..."
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John J. Lavin
1929 ~ 2013
John Joseph ("Jack") Lavin, a Boise resident whose adventurous, positive personality inspired family and friends, died in Kalispell, MT on November 13, 2013, while visiting family. Jack was born on September 10, 1929 in Philadelphia, PA - the third of five children. His parents were Michael Joseph and Helen McGonigle Lavin. Jack's dream, from his youth, was to be a forester and live in the Western U.S. In 1950, he graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry.
Jack started his professional career in 1950 in Liberia, Africa, managing a rubber plantation. He returned to Philadelphia in 1952 and began dating Rosemarie Sucher ("Souci"). Jack and Souci were married in 1953. After 2 years of military service, they embarked upon their life of adventure in the West with the U.S. Forest Service. They raised five children and established life-long friendships as they lived in nine different locations in Idaho, Washington D.C., Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. Jack retired from the Forest Service in 1988 and embarked on another career with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation through 2007. During this time, he also consulted for Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI-VOCA) in Armenia, Bolivia, and Slovakia. In 1986, he received the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Superior Service Award for establishing positive working relationships between state and local government entities and the Forest Service. Throughout his career, Jack demonstrated a great ability to work with diverse interest groups and agencies in public land management.
Jack was a member of the St. John's Cathedral family, the downtown Boise Rotary Club, Society of American Foresters, Society of Range Management, and City Club of Boise. In addition, he served on the Citizen's Advisory Council to the University of Idaho - College of Natural Resources' Policy Analysis Group and the Idaho Forest Restoration Partners. In his downtime, he enjoyed family, his Roanoke Drive neighbors, hanging out with friends, tennis, and hiking Table Rock several times a week. He was easily identified by his cheery smile and bushy eyebrows, which he would pull down over his eyes to convince his grandchildren that he didn't need sunglasses.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Souci, his sister, Therese Galbally, his brother, William Lavin, and his grandson, Matthew Sherman. He is survived by his sister, Helen Brinkmann, and brother, Laurence Lavin; two daughters, Antonia (Howard) Hedrick and Patricia (Mark) Sherman; three sons, John (Anita) Lavin, Matthew (Kristi) Lavin, and Mark (Vicci) Lavin; eighteen grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter (whom Jack just met in October).
A Christian Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., December 14, 2013, at Saint John's Cathedral in Boise. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute, 190 E. Bannock Street, Boise, ID 83712 (or on-line at

Published in Idaho Statesman on Nov. 20, 2013
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