In Memoriam - John Zupan

We just learned that one of the true characters in the Sea Spray Fleet passed away earlier this year.  We have included a couple of photos and the write up from the Osoyoos Times.

[caption id="attachment_693" align="alignnone" width="1050"]John and some of Zupan's Revenge John with a glass of his favorite wine after supper at North American Championships at LOSC[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_694" align="alignnone" width="608"]John Z John after a long day racing[/caption]


Members of the Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club – and large segments of the Osoyoos community at large – are in mourning following the recent passing of longtime resident John Zupan.

Zupan passed away Jan. 15, just 11 days short of reaching age 90.

A memorial service was held Monday afternoon at the Elk’s Hall in Osoyoos and a large contingent of members with the Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club were on hand to say goodbye to a man who loved the sport of sailing with a passion.

Longtime commodore Jurgen Reinharts said Zupan was a wonderful man who is going to be missed by all who knew him well.

“John was a good friend and a mentor who taught me much of what I know about sailing,” he said. “He was always pleasant to be around and just a really friendly guy.

“At the sailing club, he was also a doer … he didn’t just talk about getting things done, he actually got involved and made sure things got done.

“He was very popular with all of the members at the sailing club and his presence is going to be deeply missed at our annual regatta.”

Zupan “lived quite the life” and worked in several countries throughout his working career before settling in Osoyoos almost 50 years ago in 1970, said Reinharts.

“He worked in several countries and spoke several languages and I got to know quite a bit about his life from talking to him and becoming a good friend,” he said. “He was just a very good guy who loved life and I’m really glad I got to know him well.”

Zupan’s friendly nature and love of wine won’t also be forgotten any time soon, he said.

“John loved making his homemade wine and it was very strong,” he said smiling. “He was very liberal with his wine at our events making sure everyone’s glass was full.

“At one particular regatta, we had a large group that indulged in far too much of John’s wine and almost all of them didn’t make the races the next morning. After that, we started calling his wine Zupan’s revenge.”

Current Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club commodore Garry Ford said Zupan won’t soon be forgotten by anyone who knew him well.

“John was a very friendly gentleman who I got to know very well the past four or five years,” he said. “Even though his hearing was quite impaired later in life, he was always at our regattas cheering people on and enjoying the races.”

Zupan competed in sailing regattas well into his 80s and loved the sport with a passion, said Ford.

“One of my fondest memories from all our regattas was one event where our youngest sailor was age eight and we had competitors all the way to age 80, with John being that 80 year old,” he said. “He loved sailing and seldom missed a regatta.”

When Zupan and his wife Erika first moved to Osoyoos he was hired at the Town’s building inspector and his wife landed a job with the Town as well, said Ford.

When they heard the Town was going to sell the old CN Rail station, they convinced members of the sailing club to purchase the building for $1 instead of having it burned down and destroyed, he said.

Zupan’s career in construction came in very handy as he organized the effort to move that building 600 metres from the current parking lot of The Owl Pub to its current home on Spartan Drive, he said.

“If it wasn’t for John and his wife, we wouldn’t have this place that has been home for the sailing club all these years,” he said.

Zupan not only excelled as a sailor, but he loved to ski, bowl and play pool, said Ford. Zupan attended the sailing club’s annual general meeting in early December, despite poor health, and many members got to talk to him one final time, said Ford.

Zupan is predeceased by his daughter Evelyn and sister Fani.

His obituary in the Osoyoos Times read that he would be fondly remembered by his loving family including spouse Erika, son John (Helene), granddaughters Alphie, Jessica, Allison and Amy and grandsons Peter and Shawn.

A Second World War veteran and long-time resident of Osoyoos, Zupan was born in Cemsenik, Slovenia on January 26, 1927. He met his beloved wife Erika in Austria, from where they immigrated to Canada in 1951.

As a project superintendent and senior structural inspector for Perini Corporation, Kaiser Engineering, Bechtel Engineering and Casico, he managed the construction of various hydroelectric dams, underground facilities and bridges in British Columbia, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Columbia, South America.

Moving to Osoyoos in 1970, he established Arch and Angle Building Construction, through which he designed, constructed and renovated a number of notable buildings and structures in Osoyoos. For the last 15 years before his retirement, he was the Building Inspector for the Town of Osoyoos.

Besides his sporting ventures, Zupan had a love of knowledge and learning and was always seeking perfection in his endeavours. He was a life-long volunteer in countless projects for the betterment of the community.
Generous, energetic, and always good-humoured, he lived life to the fullest right to the end. All those who love and know him will sadly miss him.

KEITH LACEY (Osoyoos Times)