Jon C. Deisher "ran through the tape" after a 3-year race with esophageal cancer; he passed away peacefully at home on Feb. 17, 2016. Jon was born on Sept. 16, 1946, in Greeley, Colo., to Joseph Bell Deisher Jr. and Marie Elizabeth (Kuehn) Deisher. He was raised in Seward and the family homestead at Tonsina, Alaska. He attended high school in Seward; Rochester, N.Y.; and Canada: in 1965, he matriculated from University School in Victoria, B.C. He recently attended his 50-year reunion at St. Michael's University School, where he was pleased to see schoolmates and a few teachers. After graduation, Jon and his brother Phil visited their parents in the Marshall Islands, where they embarked on a memorable coming-of-age tour of the South Pacific on an inter-island freighter. He was a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran. During this time he lived in the Philippines and learned Tagalog, which he always remembered and enjoyed speaking when opportunities arose. Jon attended Menlo College and the University of Nevada-Reno, where he completed a Masters Degree in Speech Communications with an emphasis in family counseling. He worked as a marriage and family counselor and sign language interpreter in Seattle, Wash. He returned to Alaska, in 1978, to work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the State of Alaska. During his rehabilitation career, he worked with the deaf community, veterans and substance abuse treatment programs. Jon initiated American Sign Language classes at UAA and taught numerous Alaskans ASL for 33 years. He married Laura Hillary in 1983 and they raised their family in Eagle River, Alaska. Jon was a Free Mason and an active Rotarian who assisted with youth exchange programs, the End Polio Now campaign, international clean water projects and the Anchorage Planet Walk. He made four trips to India to immunize children against polio. He was a true Renaissance man in his interests and talents which included languages, scuba diving, hiking, photography, the strategic game Go, drawing, sculpture, writing, history and world affairs, and recently cancer immunotherapy. Prior to his illness he was a 10 time Mt. Marathon race veteran. Jon was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Karl and Phil. He is survived by his wife, Laura; daughters, Tania, Rebecca and Linnea; sons-in-law, Brian and Chuck; grandson, Rowan; sister, Tashna; brother, Joe; sisters-in-law, Melody and Patsy; nieces, Heather and Amber; and nephews, Jeremy and Trey. A celebration of life will be held in early May. His legacy lives in the hearts of the many people he truly touched throughout his lifetime. The family thanks Dr. Max Rabinowitz, Zack Zipsir and staff at AOH, Dr. Richard Chung, Dr. Ronald Boisen and Dr. Brant Oleschlager, as well as Providence Hospice for their compassionate care. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 770198, Eagle River, AK 99577.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Mar. 3, 2016.