At our March meetings in Georgia, John Tarnai accepted the gavel from Yasamin Miller as the new president of AASRO. It was a fitting honor for such a quiet leader who had helped establish AASRO and guided WSU's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center for so many years.
While we celebrated his installation, John also informed those attending that he was being treated for cancer and that the treatments and medications sometimes greatly reduced his ability to function. A couple of weeks after the meetings, we were informed that John had begun a new round of treatments that was even more debilitating.
This last battle with the disease was more than he and his body could overcome. He passed away on Sunday, May 6th at his home in Pullman, WA.
John was 65. He is survived by his wife, Chris Paxson, and daughter, Berit Paxson-Tarnai.
He will be missed greatly by many in our professional community.
There will be a memorial service for John Tarnai at 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 10 in the Terrell Library Atrium on the Washington State University campus. During most of his life John was a voracious reader and would make nearly weekly trips to the library on Fridays. It wasn't unusual for him to read 3 or 4 books a week. This seemed like a thoroughly fitting location to remember a man who enjoyed all that the library had to offer him in life.
The family has indicated that they would very much welcome email notes or letters from any of you recounting stories of working with John or how he had impacted you or others. Since they weren't directly involved with him in his work, this would be a way for them share more deeply in what had been a major part of his life and passion. They would find this comforting and may, perhaps, choose to have some of the messages read at the service.