John was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. He graduated from Rhinebeck High School in 1945, and the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla in 1950. After college, John served a tour of duty in the U.S. Army in the Philippines.
John then entered into practice as a Civil Engineer, working for Raymond International in New York, Paris, France, and London, England. While working in France, he met and married the love of his life, Marthe. They were married over 50 years.
John relocated his family to the west coast in 1962, becoming a partner at Jacobs Associates Consulting Engineers in San Francisco.
While at Jacobs Associates, John held several executive positions, including Senior Principal. His civil engineering activities focused on heavy construction projects including tunnels, dams, powerhouses, bridges, and large industrial facilities in locations throughout the world. John established a construction claims department at Jacobs that would eventually make up half of the entire firm.
John later served as a director of the International Dispute Review Board Foundation. He continued his activities with the DRBF until his death.
John traveled extensively with his wife Marthe, had a passion for the history of the American west, and loved to play golf.
He is survived by a son John and his wife Carla, of Tumwater, Washington; a daughter Maureen Roskelley and her husband Mickey, of Challis, Idaho, and a daughter Elaine Nichols of Santa Rosa, California; along with granddaughters Rachel Roskelley of Winnemucca, Nevada, and Danielle Roskelley of Challis, Idaho, and grandsons Steven Adams of Berkeley, California, and Ryan Adams of Tumwater, Washington.
While John was highly regarded in the field of civil engineering, perhaps the most notable position he held during his lifetime was that of caregiver to his wife Marthe. He lovingly cared for her at home, often around the clock, during her long fight with cancer that ended in her death in 2004. In this role he served as a selfless example to his family that will not soon be forgotten.
There was a memorial reception honoring his life on Sunday July 9th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Corte Madera Inn, Edgewater Room, in Corte Madera, California.