John was born in Evanston, Illinois, to John and Helen Urback. Not long after, the family moved to Barnum, Minnesota. John graduated from Barnum High School then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he got his education as an aircraft mechanic. He married Marilynn Mae Denton, his high school friend, and was stationed at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington.
After his Air Force service, the couple moved to Seattle and in 1955 he began working as an aircraft mechanic for United Air Lines, where he continued to work until his retirement in 1987, most of those years on the graveyard shift.
They moved to Sumner in 1957, purchased 40 acres of land and lived on the property for the rest of his life.
In addition to his full time work for UAL, John wore many hats to support his family, including school bus driver, a firewood business that employed his children, builder and manager of JAM Dry Storage, sold basswood for carving from trees cut, milled and trucked from Minnesota, and maintenance and handyman for Parametrix in Sumner.
John was a pillar of the Sumner United Methodist Church. He served on the board of Trustees for many years and held nearly every position in the church, including singing bass in the choir. There was not an area of the church that he did not touch. He most recently repaired nearly all of the stained-glass windows of the church.
John’s favorite activities included traveling, covering the U.S. in their RV, photography, woodworking, woodcarving, golfing, fishing and stained glass.
John passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family, following a seizure related to metastatic brain cancer.
The family wants to express special thanks to friends and neighbors who called, visited, brought food and provided friendship and support during his life and especially during his final days.
In addition to Marilynn, John leaves behind his brother Leonard (Marleen), son Steve (Mary, and their children Meghan and Stuart), daughter Jeannine Wirth (Bradley, and their children Christine and Jennifer), daughter Brenda Irvin (Ronald, and their children April and Brian) and son Brian (Alison), 5 great grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends.
John was preceded in passing by his sister Joyce and her husband George “Sonny” Paulson.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Sumner United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 6, at 1:00 pm with a reception following in the church fellowship hall.
Remembrances can be made to the John Urback Memorial Fund at Sumner United Methodist Church, 901 Wood Ave, Sumner, WA 98390.
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