October 23, 1946 ~ February 1, 2021
John Thomas Tschirhart, 74, born to the late John Aloysius Tschirhart and Mary Ellen (McManus) on October 23, 1946, in Manhattan, New York, died February 1, 2021, at the home he built with help from his father and brothers in the beautiful foothills outside of LaPorte. John is survived by his partner Linda Griego, daughter Deborah (Karl) Hofmann, son Daniel, and brothers Kevin (partner Marie) and Jeff.
After setting a stellar example for his younger brothers to follow, albeit not without some light fraternal torture, John began his higher education as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, earned his Bachelor of Science at Johns Hopkins University, and finished with his master’s and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Along the way he married Sally Rowland with whom he had gone to high school on Long Island. Their union produced their two adored children, Deborah and Daniel. He also attended school with Sally’s two sisters and the men they eventually married, and even after his divorce the six Wantagh High graduates gathered for family events, as John was much appreciated by his brothers- and sisters-in-law for his dry wit and contagious laugh. After his brothers moved to Florida there were frequent visits to the Sunshine State where he was eagerly accepted by all their friends. A special person who had that unique gift of making a favorable impression on all he met, John knew the value of relationships and kept his many friendships, young and old, going strong.
Uncle John was universally deemed ‘cool’ by his nieces and nephews, introducing them to some great music and outdoor adventures in Wyoming. When his partner Linda entered his life, his fun-loving nature was shared with a new generation, her many grandchildren who doted on him.
John started his career as a professor of economics at SUNY Buffalo before the call of the West brought him to the University of Wyoming, (UW). He focused on environmental and resource economics, utility regulation, and bioeconomics. He spent a memorable sabbatical in Australia, and other notable travel destinations included Russia and Iran. Outside of academia he spent two years contributing weekly articles as a guest community columnist to the Coloradoan imparting economic and other wisdom. After his retirement, the John Tschirhart Graduate Scholarship in Bioeconomics was established at UW.
An ardent champion of the natural world, John loved traveling to observe the wildlife of other habitats, including several African countries, Costa Rica, and Alaska. One highlight for him was a trip with Linda to Brazil with Earthwatch taking animal surveys. His citizen science contributions were a home-field effort too, as week after week, year after year, he kept a detailed log of all bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian sightings at his forested location.
John’s love of animals was most clearly expressed throughout his life with the many dogs he shared his home and heart with. He gave each of the family dogs a distinct and fitting voice that captured both their personalities and wit. From walks, to camping trips, to just hanging around the house, the dogs became active participants in the daily conversations that kept his kids laughing. His cars became little more than rolling dog kennels with the flying fur, saliva-splattered windows, and trashed door panels to show for it.
John’s other defining passion was music. His record collection was remarkably vast and expansive, but he had countless more hours on reel-to-reel, and even 8-track tapes to play in his trusty International Harvester Scout. His kids and their friends were thrilled to access all this music. Dan’s friend often said John had a record store in his living room, and Deborah’s husband Karl credits the collection for asking her on a date. John encouraged his kids to take up instruments and could often be found practicing his own guitar.
No man is perfect, and John’s foible was his frugality. From Flowbee haircuts (and questioning why his son needed money for a haircut), to the coldest house on the block in winter (Dan’s friends knew to dress in layers for a visit), to clothes worn for decades (at least the designs were classics), there wasn’t a corner he didn’t try to cut in the service of saving. But that allowed him to show immense generosity to his loved ones. He most enjoyed helping his kids travel to Kauai with him to visit his brother Jeff in paradise. John wanted for nothing when kicking back on the beautiful beaches of Hanalei with a cold beer surrounded by family.
John would best be honored by a donation to The Nature Conservancy, a wildlife charity of your choosing, or a gift to the future: planting a tree.