John J. (Jack) LaLanne: Retired fisheries research biologist, music enthusiast

John LaLanne
John LaLanne

John J. (Jack) LaLanne went to the great dance hall in the sky on September 24th, 2018.

He was born on January 17th, 1923 at Providence Hospital in Seattle to Ruth and Lee LaLanne and grew up in Ballard with his older brother Bob and younger sister Doris attending St. Alphonsus Catholic school and then Ballard High. Jack served in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class from 1946-47. He attended Seattle University, eventually transferring to the University of Washington earning a B.S. in Fisheries.

He worked as a Fisheries Research Biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) – Northwest Fisheries Center at the Montlake Laboratory until his retirement in 1983. His research included the identification and distribution of Sockeye salmon in the North Pacific and Chum salmon from the Yukon River into the eastern Bering Sea.

Jack loved the outdoors; salmon fishing, golf, dancing and singing and enjoyed long walks around Edmonds – his home of 46 years. He was an avid reader and loved music – Dixieland Jazz and Big Bands were his favorites. Jack married Geneva McKinstry in 1953 and they had two daughters, Kathryn and Patricia. In retirement, Jack and Geneva enjoyed road trips to attend Dixieland Jazz festivals and their annual trips to Reno, and cruising to Hawaii and Mexico. They were together for 51 years when Geneva passed away suddenly in 2004.

As fate would have it, one year later, Jack met Helma “Shim” Larson at the Costco checkout line and they spent 13 wonderful years together. Jack and Shim were regulars at the Edmonds Senior Center, where Jack was a member of the Sound Singers. They loved to dance, travel and spend time with family and friends. Jack is survived by Shim and her children Peter, Laurie, Katrina and Lisa and grandchildren Maddie, Nick, Max, Sofia and Henry; his daughters Kathy (Ray) Wetherholt, and Patty (Greg) Kyser and grandchildren Grace and Joseph Kyser and his sister Doris Ruffner. Jack was preceded in death by his wife Geneva, and brother Bob.

A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at the Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave, Edmonds, WA on Saturday October 27th from 1-4 p.m.  Jack’s family extends heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff at Cristwood, Aegis of Lynnwood and Providence Hospice.



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