In Memory of




Obituary for John Thomas Vandiver

John Thomas Vandiver, 65, of East Wenatchee, passed away Sunday, August 31, 2020. Chapel of the Valley, East Wenatchee is in charge of arrangements.
"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls." - George Carlin

On August 31st, 2020, just before midnight, the moon howled its hello as John Thomas Vandiver took the next step on his journey after first making sure that his family was ready for him to go.

He is survived by too many family members and close friends to name, but here are a few: his four children; Leila, Jessica, Erin, and Michael, who he loved more than anything in this world. His wife, Hana. His sisters (Shelly and Vicky), and his brothers (Mike and Brian). The mother of his children and steadfast friend to the end, Carrie.

"Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughin' as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you
Always look on the bright side of life" - Monty Python / Eric Idle

Generous with his time, money, love, and commas, John was a beloved father, husband, brother, and friend. He would have loved the idea of someone being offended by his obituary as long as it made a loved one laugh. John also loved losing himself in fantastical worlds just as often as he enjoyed laughing at the absurdity of our world viewed through the lenses of various comedians. So forgive us our liberal sprinkling of quotes and lyrics used to try and describe him.

"I'm sailing away
Set an open course for the Virgin Sea
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me" - "Come Sail Away" by Styx

From a young age, John idolized his uncle Glenn, who was in the Navy. John followed in his footsteps by going on to join the merchant marines after finishing trade school, traveling the world as an engineer on cargo ships before settling into a route closer to home that took him from Seattle, to California, to Hawaii, and back again. Although this meant that John would be away from his family for a month or two at a time, it also meant they were able to spend a month or two straight with him when he came home between trips, and that time with him was precious.

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." - Jim Valvano

There was no more supportive a father than John to his kids. He did his best to nurture all curiosity or creativity they had, in any endeavor they chose to pursue. He told them, you don't need college to be successful, as long as you're willing to work a little harder. He pushed with care, and never pushed too hard. John was reliable, dependable; always there when his family needed him, day or night, and no issue was too small to bring to him to help with. Above all, he prized manners, and taught his children the value of saying 'thank you' and of being on time or early to any appointment. Not that they always listened to his sage advice… but it was appreciated then, and treasured now.

"There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it." - George Carlin

John was adept at taking any situation, no matter how dark, and finding something to joke about. He wanted nothing more than to make sure the people he loved were smiling at the end of a conversation with him, if possible. No matter how far down the path of doom and gloom he went, he'd end with a joke and an "I love you". With quick wit and intelligence, it was never difficult for him to make others laugh.

"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."
"'Estel, Estel!’ she cried, and with that even as he took her hand and kissed it, he fell into sleep. Then a great beauty was revealed in him, so that all who after came there looked on him in wonder; for they saw that the grace of his youth, and the valour of his manhood, and the wisdom and majesty of his age were blended together. And long there he lay, an image of the splendour of the Kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the world." - J.R.R Tolkien : Appendix A "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"

John passed his love of fantasy and science fiction on to his children, and the Lord of the Rings books were near highest on the list of his personal favorites. Much like Bilbo Baggins, John loved spending time in a comfortable recliner with a good book. But much like Aragorn, at the end, he lay in splendor and allowed time for his family to say goodbye before he departed.

"Death is nature's way of saying 'Your table is ready'." - Robin Williams

John's table was ready, and he would have wanted nothing more than to share his meal with those he loved the most. But despite John asking to see the manager, to bend the rules just this once, extra guests were turned away at the door. Instead, they told him they loved him. They said, "You were amazing. We'll be okay without you… go on ahead. We'll meet up for drinks and dessert later."

“No more words. We know them all, all the words that should not be said. But you have made my world more perfect.” - Terry Pratchett

So long, John/Dad/Groder, and thanks for all the fish.