John Lager
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Obituary

John Lager

1940–2019

Littleton—John Lager, of Littleton, Colorado, passed away at his home, on Sunday, September 1st, at the age of 79. He grew up in St. Peter where he graduated from high school in 1958. He was an Eagle Scout and a talented athlete. John attended Gustavus for two years and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1963 with a degree in civii engineering. In the summer of 1963, he married Lee Monachesi and moved to Denver, Colorado where he was employed at Martin-Marietta as an aerospace engineer. While there, he earned a Master's degree in structural engineering from the University of Denver. John and Lee have two children, Chad and Clint.

From 1967-1970, John had a position at the Boeing Company, in Seattle, Washington, where he did structures and material research on Boeing aircraft. He also did graduate work at the University of Washington. He returned to Martin Marietta in 1971 and received a Doctoral Fellowship to continue work towards a PhD in applied mechanics at the University of Denver. At that time, John worked for the U.S. government as a Senior Research Rocket Scientist and worked on the Titan Missile, the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope and other government Top Secret Projects. He designed and built the Lunar Drill Stems used on the Apollo Moon Mission and several patents on advanced structural designs.

John left the corporate life of engineering in the mid 80's and begin his "second life" as a self-made professional taxidermist. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and pursued this interest with the same determination and diligence that he had exhibited in engineering. John married his second wife, Barb Johnson, in 1984. She became an integral part of his interest in taxidermy and actively supported him along the way. He opened a business, called Lone Wolf Taxidermy, in 1987. John served as president of the Colorado Taxidermy Association for several years and also served on the board of directors of the National Taxidermy Association. He had the unprecedented honor of earning the title of National All Around Taxidermist nine times during his career. The Denver News , in a July, 2002 article, described John as "the man who brings dead animals to life, dominating the taxidermy profession like nobody before him, and possibly, like no one ever again…the best professional taxidermist the country has ever seen." He was a well-known wildlife author and artist. Pictures of his work and several articles that he wrote were published, between 1999 and 2010, in taxidermy magazines, including Breakthrough, Taxidermy Today, American Taxidermy and the Outlook magazine of the National Taxidermy Association. One of John's mounts was donated as a memorial to the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. It's a ptarmigan bird and the Colorado state flower (the columbine). This bird lives in the highest elevations of the mountains and symbolizes peace, love and survivability under the harshest conditions.

In 2009, John was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and retired in 2011. He was inducted into the St. Peter High School Hall of Fame in 2016. His parents, Roland and Viola Lager, and a sister, Sharon (Monson) Lutterman, preceded him in death. John is survived by his wife, Barb, step-daughters Nickie (John) Techmanski and Robin (Ed) Techmanski, sons Chad (Heather) and Clint Lager, sisters Mary Jane Monson and Joan (Jim) Witty, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life will be held at his home, in Littleton, Colorado, on Saturday, October 19th at 2:00.

Printed Obituary
Published in the St. Peter Herald
on October 8, 2019
Click to view a printable version