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John Arend Yntema


1928 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
John Arend Yntema Obituary
John Arend Yntema

- - John Arend Yntema passed away on January 18, 2019 at the age of 90. John was born in Chicago in 1928, the son of Theodore and Kathryn (Van der Veen) Yntema, both of Holland, Michigan. He moved to suburban Winnetka for his years at New Trier Township High School. He attended Swarthmore College, where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and married classmate, Marcia (Taylor) Yntema. After graduation in 1951, he spent two years at the Chrysler Institute of Engineering in Detroit, receiving a Master of Automotive Engineering degree. Then he served in the U.S. Merchant Marine, achieving a Third Assistant Engineer's license - Steam or Diesel, any Power, any Waters.

John moved to St. Croix, USVI with Marcia and their two children, Sharon and Lisa in 1954. They had two more children, Laurie and Van in 1958 and 1961. John designed and built the family house outside Frederiksted which survived two major hurricanes intact. John worked at many jobs in the USVI during his 33 year residence there: he was Sales Manager of Merwin's Hardware and Building Supplies, operated his own store selling and servicing bicycles, diving and marine supplies; and was a Mobil Oil distributor. He collected and shipped tropical aquarium fish to the continental U.S.; was a commercial trap fisherman; and worked for the V.I. Bureau of Fish and Wildlife as an Environmental Specialist for his last 18 years there. While on St. Croix, John and colleagues published several scientific papers and an "Annotated Checklist of the Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico." John even discovered a new species of scorpion which was named after him: Heteronebo yntemai.

In 1980, he married his second wife, Margo (Hewitt) Yntema. Their daughter, Sylvie, was born on St. Croix. He retired in 1987 to Ithaca, NY with his wife and daughter.

For a number of years, John was a member of the Town of Ithaca Conservation Board, where he served on several committees. He also was on the Boards of the Citizens' Planning Alliance and the Tompkins Smart Growth Society and enjoyed tutoring ESL adult students. John was very interested in natural history, was an avid birder, and kept busy taking care of his family, home, pets and garden.

John is survived by his wife, Margo; daughters Sharon Yntema and Sylvie Yntema of Ithaca, Lisa (Gerald Groner) Yntema of St. Croix, Laurie (William Rhine) Yntema of East Blue Hill, Maine, and son Van (Tamara Oseien) Yntema of Melbourne, Florida; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, sister Elizabeth Alfvin of Glenview, Illinois; half-sister Gwin Yntema of Michigan, and several nieces and nephews; longtime best friend Richard Philibosian of Pasadena, Ca and dear friend David Vernooy of Lubbock, TX. John loved his family without reserve. His legacy to his children was an abiding belief in kindness, honesty, fairness and a curiosity and respect for the natural world. His family and friends will miss him deeply.

Information on a Memorial will be published soon. Contributions in John's honor may be made to Hospicare 172 East King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850; Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 or to the .
Published in Ithaca Journal on Jan. 22, 2019
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