John Ernest Suwara of Calabasas, California passed away on December 2nd, 2023 at the age of 83. He was born on September 16th, 1940 in New York City where grew up as the oldest of 6 children in the Bronx and spent summers in the Catskills.
John graduated from City College of New York in 1962 and received a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from New York University in 1966. He started his career as a civilian employee with the US Naval Training Device Center. He went on to work for IBM as a systems engineer and eventually moved into sales. He helped to found and run a mainframe timesharing company in the 1970’s and an Enterprise Asset Management Software company in the 1980’s.
John enjoyed playing volleyball and golf with his children and brothers and sister. He started playing volleyball at the Westside YMCA in New York and continued to play at the American Turners New York, where he met Joanne in 1960. Along with his brothers, he often played volleyball indoors in USVBA National Tournaments, frequently garnering 1st place. He also loved playing volleyball outdoors on the beaches in Santa Monica.
John also enjoyed hiking in the hills surrounding his home and was active in working to preserve the natural open spaces in Calabasas and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. Along with his wife Joanne, he founded The Calabasas Coalition in 2015, and they were awarded Citizens of the Year by the City of Calabasas in 2021.
John’s greatest pleasure was spending time with his 3 children and 7 grandchildren. He could always be found on the sidelines of sports games, in the audience of performances, and showing his enthusiastic support of any activity his family participated in. He was the honorary family archivist as he videotaped many of these moments that his family now holds as cherished memories.
In addition to spending time with his children and grandchildren, he also loved the times he spent with his brothers and sister and their spouses, along with his nieces, nephews, and their children. He always looked forward to family gatherings and time spent with people he cared about. He also cherished the friendships he made over his lifetime from volleyball, golf, work, civic involvement, and the neighborhood, which is obvious from the outpouring of support.
John was preceded in death by his father and mother, Ernest and Erna. He is survived by Joanne, his loving wife of 60 years, his son John and his wife Carol, his son Bill and his wife Nena, and his daughter Lisa and her husband Darren. His seven grandchildren Katherine, Tommy, Madison, Emma, Sydney, Hannah and Justin brought him immense joy. Known to them as their protector, he is also survived by his four brothers, Rudy, Ernie, Otto and Alfred and his sister June.