Longtime Fairbanks resident John Goering passed away in Fairbanks on May 4, 2013, from complications of myositis.
John was born in 1934, in Clifton, Kan., but grew up in Moundridge, Kan., where he graduated from high school in 1952. He married his high school sweetheart, Jacqueline "Jackie," in 1956. After high school, he continued his studies at Bethel College in Newton, Kan., and then went on to receive his Ph.D. in marine science from the University of Wisconsin
, Madison. After receiving his Ph.D., he spent one year in Bermuda before moving to Fairbanks to take a position at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
After arriving in Fairbanks in spring 1963, John fell in love with Alaska and remained here until his death. He particularly enjoyed hunting and fishing, and provided much of the family's sustenance via his annual moose hunting trips throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He enjoyed fly fishing for grayling and duck hunting, and his yearly halibut fishing trips were much anticipated in his later years. One of John's favorite places to visit was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he and Jackie enjoyed many January vacations.
In partnership with a couple of their close friends from campus, John and Jackie purchased a tract of land on Farmers Loop. In 1968, they built a house there that was known for its spectacular view of Mount McKinley. The couple raised three sons there and enjoyed the company of their neighbors and many of their colleagues from campus, who attended regular social events at the house. John enjoyed working with his hands and completed much of the work on the house himself. He was most proud of his wife, Jackie, their three sons and two grandchildren and his graduate students.
John was an important member of the university community and helped to build the marine science research program that began at UAF in the early 1960s. He was a pioneer in the use of stable isotopes to study biogeochemical processes in the ocean, starting with studies of nitrogen fixation and nitrogen uptake/physiology of phytoplankton. Those early studies in the Sargasso Sea were in close collaboration with his mentor, Richard Dugdale, and noted Woods Hole researchers, David Menzel and John Ryther. He later developed the new stable isotope technique to study uptake of dissolved silicon by marine phytoplankton.
John and his students subsequently studied dissolved silicon uptake in major oceanographic programs of Coastal Upwelling Ecosystem Dynamics (CUEA), Processes and Resources of the Bering Sea Shelf (PROBES), Inner Shelf Transfer and Recycling (ISHTAR) and Joint Ocean Flux Studies (JGOFS) in the world's oceans from the Arctic to the Antarctic and along the coasts of Alaska in the Bering and Chukchi seas as well as Peru, Mexico, Northwest Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. In later years, John initiated the landmark studies of marine-derived nitrogen transported into lakes by salmon, with several years studying the sockeye runs in Lake Iliamna with his friends Pat Parker and Ole Mathisen.
John was a mentor to many students who became noted oceanographers at institutions around the U.S. and the world but he also was a shining example for students at other universities of how to conduct oceanographic research at sea. Even when the weather was rough and experiments were conducted in unfavorable conditions, John would give students an encouraging word or have a happy comment to make them feel better. His kindness and light-hearted spirit was famous for all who had the pleasure of working at sea with him.
John was preceded in death by his loving wife, Jackie, his two older brothers, Harlan and Ed "Lefty," and his parents Edward and Hilda.
John is survived by three sons, Doug (Chun Hua), Greg (Celeste), and Brent (Tina) who all currently live in Alaska. He also is survived by a granddaughter Annie, and a grandson Spencer, who were both the pride and joy of his life.
A celebration of John's life is being planned for Aug. 4 in Fairbanks.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Goering Family Fellowship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Contributions may be made online at www.uaf.edu/giv
ing/gift; please note the "UAF Goering Family Fellowship - In memory of John Goering." Checks can also be mailed to UA Foundation, PO Box 755080, Fairbanks, AK 99775. Please make checks payable to "UA Foundation" and note the "UAF Goering Family Fellowship - In memory of John Goering."
Arrangements are entrusted to Fairbanks Funeral Home.