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John Marion Tamaska
December 28, 1944 ~ July 21, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old
31 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of John's family - View on Tribute Wall
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From the time he was a young man, John M. Tamaska was destined for greatness. Raised as the oldest of 4 children, John was born to John Tamaska and Gertrude O’Brien. The family lived in North Denver and were a hard working family. John was raised with excellent values and a strong work ethic in a very supportive family. He went to the local Catholic school, was an alter boy, and attended Regis High School.
Living in a relatively rural area at the time, John explored the world around him collecting rocks, climbing trees and wading in creeks. He further explored the countryside near his grandparents home in Star City, West Virginia. He frequently swam the river to town and bought an ice cream then walked home. At an early age, his Aunt Amy O’Brien, introduced him to the world of downhill skiing and he was never the same again. He became a highly skilled skier and began coaching and mentoring siblings, neighbors and friends. He later became a ski instructor for a local ski shop.
During the era of the Vietnam War, John proudly enlisted in the army. His intellectual ability was recognized by army personnel and he was selected to attend a linguistics program in the army. It was here that he obtained his MAT in the field. His ability to fluently speak a foreign language made it possible for him to be assigned to that country and to serve his country proudly. He was perceived to be a leader in his platoon and developed friendships that he retained until his passing.
When his tour of duty ended, he returned to the U.S. He began to work at various ski resorts in California as an instructor and on the ski patrol. John soon realized that he had a gift for teaching, mentoring, and coaching. He had a particular affinity for working with youth. After his time in California, he returned to Colorado and selected Breckenridge as his stomping ground. John was artistic and creative and willing to try new things. He had outlets for his playful personality in a restaurant, leather shop, and other odd jobs before he fell in love with woodworking. He loved making gifts for friends and family most of all. Being a contractor was a natural next step. Gifted in mathematics and interested in design his buildings were works of art. John designed and built many of the buildings that can be seen in Breckenridge today. He Ski racing was John’s passion. Sharing his love of the sport with others and his calm manner afforded him followers wanting to learn from the best. During this time period, John was elected as the mayor of Blue River where his natural gift for leadership resulted growth, increased environmental responsibility, and improved quality of life for the citizens.
John, who went by JT or Silky Sam, met and married Kathleen and they had daughter Gabriel. He taught her and her friends the joy of the outdoors, a love of nature, and fostered their curiosity. She became a well respected naturalist and college science major. They had a black bear who adopted them and often frequented their yard, much to their delight.
In the 90’s John relocated to San Francisco and married Christine May. There he used his woodworking skills and love of the craft to make extraordinary wood shutters. He was honest, responsible, timely and was well respected. He grew to love the sea, boated, skied, snorkeled and was a scuba diver. As a lover of travel, he and his wife, Christine May, had many adventures and experiences.
John never stopped yearning for new knowledge. He was highly intelligent, well read, and often wrote poetic verse. He also loved to draw cartoons. He cared for his friends and neighbors in times of need and often hosted social gatherings in the neighborhood. He would literally do all that he could to lend a helping hand.
Several years, after his wife passed away, he met Priscilla Huston. The two fell in love and created a home together in Fort Collins, Co. He was embraced with open arms by friends and family in his short time living here. Many are grieving his loss.