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John Ivan Atwood
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church in Bishop for John Ivan Atwood.
Born Jan. 28, 1953 in Lone Pine to John O. and Louise Atwood, John died at his home with his wife and two children by his side on Oct. 21, 2010.
John grew up in the Owens Valley, attending school in both Big Pine and Independence. He graduated in June of 1971 and left the valley to attend college in Eureka, where he met his wife, Jean. John and Jean were married in Bishop in August of 1972.
John’s first love was his family. His second was nature. John was a 30-year employee of the Department of Water and Power, a job he sought because it brought him back to his beloved Owens Valley and allowed him to work outdoors.
Once he settled into work that he could enjoy, he was able to relax and take up his first passion as a hobby. That passion was photography. In fact, when Jean and John met, he had a camera in his hand. Over the years, he became quite skilled and could safely be called a semi-professional photographer.
As his children grew, he enjoyed teaching them about both the outdoors and photography.
His real joy and skills were with landscapes and still-lifes. His collection includes many scenic photos that show his love of the mountains and valleys. Other pictures show bees landing on flowers, lizards and snakes that he found in the desert. He could spot a deer in foliage when no one else could. His eyes were sharp when it came to the outdoors and he saw things that no one else could spot. To John, being outdoors brought him closer to God, through the beauty of God’s creation.
At one point in his life, he realized that his fear of snakes was becoming a handicap. A rattlesnake had moved into one of his stations on his job, and he had to protect himself from him. Oddly enough, he got a picture of that snake. His camera was always at the ready. It was then that he joined his son, James, and friend, Chris Morrison, to help form the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club. He learned the skills he needed to deal with snakes, using both respect and the love of God’s creation that his life already included.
John loved the Eastern Sierra Photography Club and learned from his fellow members when they came together and showed their work. He also learned to never show pictures of snakes without warning people first.
John loved God’s creation, but his last two months were spent loving his family. When he learned that he had so little time left he spent that time in showing his love to his family and dearest friends. He accomplished so much in those last two months, but he mourned not being able to be out in nature.
John’s death after a short illness was bittersweet to his friends and family. He was looking forward to retirement and to traveling with his wife and friends and had a trip to New England planned with his good friends, Rich and Chris Hanley, and wife, Jean, to take photos of the fall colors. After learning of his illness, it was with deep regret that he cancelled his plans to travel.
John will be missed greatly by all who loved him.
John is survived by his wife of 38 years, Jean; daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Brian O’Neal of Long Beach; daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Ryan Tubbs of Yucaipa; daughter and son-in-law, Joyce and Aaron Arnold of Anaheim; son, James of Bishop; daughter, Jeanita of Bishop; sister and brother-in-law, Terry and Steve Brannon of Bakersfield; five grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.