John Ward Vadnais
October 13, 1941 - June 6, 2023
John Ward Vadnais, a beloved father, accomplished professional, and devoted community member, peacefully passed away on June 6, 2023, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He leaves behind a legacy of compassion, dedication, and a zest for life that will forever be cherished.
John was born on October 13, 1941, in San Diego, California to Ethel and Harry Vadnais. He spent his formative years as a military dependent, graduating from Camp LeJeune High School in 1960. Seeking higher education, John attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and ultimately his Master of Education degree from the same institution.
Throughout his career, John wore many hats, showcasing his diverse talents and unwavering work ethic. He excelled as a banker, accountant, and auditor, leaving an indelible mark in the financial sector. For fifteen years, he dedicated his knowledge and passion to teaching at Globe College of Business, positively influencing the lives of countless students.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, John's adventurous spirit and passion for service were evident in various aspects of his life. He was an Eagle Scout, embodying the values of leadership, integrity, and community service. As a cook on the Great Northern Railroad, he delighted passengers with his culinary talents. John also found joy in taking to the skies as a private pilot and generously volunteered with the MN Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
One of John's most cherished endeavors was his involvement as a Civil War Reenactor with the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which spanned over three decades. His dedication to preserving history and paying tribute to those who came before him was commendable and inspiring.
In addition to his numerous accomplishments, John played an integral role in his community. He co-founded the North Lake Owasso Neighborhood Group (NLONG) and actively worked towards honoring indigenous people by facilitating the installation of a commemorative sign at Lake Owasso Park. His dedication to the betterment of his surroundings and the appreciation of diverse cultures was a testament to his compassionate nature.
John had a deep love for his family and friends, and his passion for transportation that included planes, trains, and automobiles, was renowned. He will be dearly missed by his children: Stephen Vadnais (Kathryn Vadnais), Erik Vadnais (Brigid Maher), Joel Vadnais (Irina Starr), Emmy Vadnais (Alexander Dixon), and Scott Vadnais (Rachel Vadnais). John also leaves behind his six loving grandchildren: Sabina, Spencer, Eleanor, Nathalie, Sydney, and Cole Vadnais.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel and Harry Vadnais, his sister Mary Jo Loder, his first wife, Kathleen Vadnais, second wife, Mary Kay Nealy, and his beloved dog, Sage. John is survived by his former wife, Marge Peavey, and will be missed, by his sisters Ann Alexander (William Alexander) and Sally Keenan (Darryl Perkins) and his brother Peter Vadnais (Paulette Vadnais).
A funeral service in loving memory of John Ward Vadnais will be held on July 15 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John the Baptiste Church, located at 14383 Forest Blvd N, Hugo, MN 55038. Prior to the service, a visitation hour will be held. Following the service, a reception will be hosted at the home of his daughter in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to a philanthropic organization of your choice, honoring John's legacy of giving and compassion.
"May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." - Shakespeare