John W. Arata

May 17, 1940February 5, 2019

John W. Arata, of Marblehead, passed away peacefully on February 5 at his home. A loving husband, brother, father, uncle and grandfather, John was beloved and cherished by his family and friends. He leaves behind his two sons, J. Nathaniel Arata and J. Alexander Arata, his two daughters-in-law, Kelly Dietz Arata and Melissa Huggard Arata, and his three adored grandsons, Sebastian, Lucca, and Dashiell. Most poignantly, John is mourned by his loving wife of thirty-four years, Nancy Perkins Arata, with whom he formed a bond that defined and shaped his life and provided him great joy and strength.

John grew up in Rutherford, NJ with his sister Marian Arata Gascoyne and his parents John William Arata, Sr. and Mary Pinella Arata. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1958, Brown University in 1962, and received his law degree from Boston University in 1967.

John was a successful athlete, playing football, basketball, and lacrosse at Deerfield. He was a center and defensive lineman for the Brown football team and was especially proud of his time on the raucous club lacrosse team under coach Cliff Stevenson.

Following law school, John served as a legislative attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington D.C., an experience that served him well when he was appointed to the MassPort Board of Directors by Governor Ed King in 1983. John practiced law in Boston for over thirty years, primarily as an environmental attorney, and he was a founding partner at Perkins, Smith, Arata & Howard. In 1997, John moved to Washington, D.C. to become President of a specialized environmental risk-management consulting firm at Howrey & Simon. He then directed national business development at AIG Environmental. In recent years, John was the founder and President of Carbon Finance Strategies, LLC and found much fulfillment in his success as a developer of large solar installations.

John was defined by his love of others and his ability to bring people together in profound ways. His respect for ideas, whether literary, philosophical, or political, infused his heartfelt interactions with his many friends and provided him with passions which sustained him throughout his life. A lover of jazz, history, and his Sicilian heritage, John left a legacy for his family that serves as a deep wellspring of inspiration and identity.

Following a private burial at Waterside Cemetery, a gathering in remembrance of John will be held at the Boston Yacht Club, 1 Front Street in Marblehead on Friday, February 15 at 2pm. Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead.


  • Gathering in remembrance Friday, February 15, 2019

John W. Arata

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Stewart Roberts

February 19, 2019

I just learned of John's passing, and am saddened by the loss. He was such a sweet guy, and a joy to work with. I wish I had known we had a common Jazz interest, I would have loved to talk with him about it.

Steve and Margaret Kirck

February 13, 2019

Nancy, Nate and Alex: We are so sorry to hear of John's passing; we remember fondly our Fridays and Saturdays from 1992-96 watching Alex and Jason play basketball in Brunswick and other locations where Bowdoin played as well as our pre and post-game meals, etc. Also, sharing in Alex and Melissa's wedding day was a honor and privilege that we will always remember. Please know that all of the Arata Family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Steve and Margaret Kirck

Nicholas Spiezio

February 13, 2019

With great sadness Barbara and I received the news of John's passing. Please accept our deepest condolences. John and I persevered through 4 years of gritty football at Brown and had many good times and laughs at Lambda Chi Alpha. I was pleased to be with John and Bill O'Neill celebrating John's admission to the Massachusetts bar when we enjoyed the brief but delightful company of Justice William O. Douglas. Thank you, Nancy, for putting together a wonderful day at your home in Marblehead for a bunch of old-time LXA brothers and their spouses. It has been great to reunite with John in recent years, and I am most sorry that those reunions have come to an end. May he rest in peace.

Nick and Barbara Spiezio

Scott & Mary MacAllister

February 10, 2019

We send our deepest sorrow for your loss. We are sad and wil miss him.

Phyllis Smith

February 9, 2019

Hey Jersey boy! You are gone from us but never forgotten. You leave us with many memories of your humor, intelligence, and kindness. My heart breaks for dear Nancy with whom you shared one of the world's great love stories. Rest in peace dear friend.