John Stopherd


Dr. John M.  Stopherd

Born April 3, 1916 in Calgary, Alberta to parents John W. and Margaret Stopherd.  Died peacefully on September 2, 2010.  His Wife of 63 years, Elizabeth Stopherd, preceded him in death in 2005.  John is survived by his daughter, Lee Walls of Nicholasville, Kentucky, son Murray Stopherd(Vicki) of Tacoma, Washington, brother Donald Stopherd of Duncan, British Columbia, six grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.  A long  time resident of Burien where John made his home for 51 years. 

John started his education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  During WWII, he worked as a chemist at a paper mill in Woodfibre, British Columbia.  John married the love of his life, Elizabeth Lee, in February of 1942 and they made it their home until after the war.  John and Elizabeth started their family in Woodfibre where their daughter Lee was born.  John’s young family grew again three years later when his son, Murray was born.  The family would reside in Woodfibre until 1949 when John decided to renew his educational pursuit.  He returned to school in 1949 at the University of Washington in Seattle for his pre-dental education and was admitted to the University of Oregon in 1950.  John graduated from the University of Oregon School of Dentistry in 1954 and practiced dentistry for over 30 years, primarily in the Seattle area.  While in dental school, he worked in a variety of jobs (movie projectionist, carpenter, door-to-door sales and in a bakery) to help support his family while his wife, Elizabeth, worked full time as a Registered Nurse.

John served in both the Canadian Army and U. S. Army and attained the rank of Captain with the US military.  During his two years in the U. S. Army, John and his family were stationed in Germany from 1955-57.  It was during this two year tour that John and Elizabeth developed an appreciation of foreign travel which would become a lifelong passion for both of them.  They made numerous driving trips to Mexico, traveled extensively in Great Britain, made two trips to China, went to Fiji and Tahiti in the South Pacific, traveled to Finland and Russia and took a number of vacations to Hawaii. Some of the later Hawaiian vacations included taking their children and grandchildren with them to the Big Island and renting a  house for two weeks on the Kona Coast.

It was ironic how John’s service in the Army was the catalyst for creating the desire to travel.  He had actually enlisted in the U. S. Navy and had expected to be stationed in San Diego.  Due to a paperwork error by the Navy, John’s local draft board wasn’t notified of his enlistment and he was subsequently drafted by the Army in 1955.  That changed the course of family history and was described by John & Elizabeth as one of the best mistakes that could have happened to them.  From then on, they were hooked on traveling to foreign lands.

After discharge from the Army, John and his family moved to the Seattle area in 1957.  They lived in Seattle for two years and then moved to Burien in 1959, where he resided for the next 51 years.  The family began to grow again with arrival of his first grandson, Mark Tanaka in 1967 and a second grandson, Michael Tanaka in 1968.  In 1975, John’s first granddaughter, Alissa Stopherd was born.  A second granddaughter, Helen Paglio (Walls) was born the same year as the arrival of a third grandson, Andrew Stopherd, in 1978.  A fourth grandson, Nicholas Stopherd was in born in 1985.  All of his grandchildren had the opportunity to grow up in John’s company and affection and he was referred to by all as Papa.

Soon after moving to Seattle, John and his family became familiar with the Mason Lake area at the cabin of a friend.  In 1959 John and Betty purchased property on Mason Lake and would start construction of the cabin and what would be referred to by all in the family as “The Lake”.  The cabin was built by the immediate family and would be decorated in the eclectic style that our folks were known for.  It later came into vogue as “shabby chic” but may have left out the chic.  Joking aside, the Lake became the location for many family gatherings of extended family and friends.  Rain or shine, people came to the Lake for visits, recreation and quality time together.

A memorial service is Saturday, September 18th at 1:-00 PM at Providence Marianwood, 3725 Providence Dr. SE, Issaquah, Washington.

One Response to “John Stopherd”

  • Dr.Stopherd was one of the nicest, most gentle, most polite persons I have ever met. A true Gentleman.
    Until after her passing, I don’t believe I ever met with Dr. Stopherd without his wife. His affection and respect for her was very sincere and very obvious. Her loss was something from which he could not recover.
    The world would be a much better place if we had more Dr. Stopherds as husbands, fathers, grandfathers and friends.
    J. Anthony Hoare

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