June 28, 1964 - February 14, 2022
Dr. John James Iskra, 57, of Bristol, VA, USA, died suddenly February 14, 2022 at Bristol Regional Medical Center of a suspected blood clot which traveled to his lungs. He will be remembered for his keen intellect, his quick wit, his generosity of spirit, kind heart and his courage to fight for what he thought was right. He was beloved husband to Elisabeth (ne’ Betty Jo) for nearly thirty years and a devoted father to Nathaniel Moss (College of Wm & Mary ’21) and Theodore Brennen (University of Mary Washington, and both VHS, ’19 & ’15 respectively.) His education career began with his own, earning a Ph.D. in mathematics from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, K-12 teaching certification in math from the University of Oregon, Eugene, and a B.S. in mathematics major/philosophy minor from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His teaching career spanned over three decades, beginning at a United Way preschool in Ann Arbor, progressing to Eugene’s 4-J School System, then Portland State University and finally, UT Knoxville, where he was awarded honors for being the best teaching graduate student at the school. Upon graduation from UT, he began at Oxford College of Emory University, Atlanta, GA but, missing the mountains and wanting to make the most impact, moved his family to Emory, VA where he spent 17 years in the math department of Emory & Henry College including 6 years as Department Chair. His two sabbaticals were spent productively, first in 2011 at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia, working on problems in Algebraic Geometry and more recently in 2019, just before the COVID-19 Pandemic began, at the Massachusetts General Hospital Research Labs of Harvard University in Boston, MA developing mathematical algorithms for application to cancer diagnosis. Besides family and career, his passions were distance running, politics and astronomy. During his running career, he completed over ten marathons, including, Portland, Boston and San Francisco (which he completed with a P.R. of 2 hours, 26 minutes.) In 2004, he was honored to represent Eugene, OR in her sister city, Kakegawa, Japan, where he was asked to serve ceremonially as the first runner at the start of the Kakegawa Marathon. His political savvy and genuine desire to make the world a better place were apparent when he ran political campaigns-two in Ann Arbor, MI, one in Knoxville, TN and one in Washington County, VA. His love of space and all things NASA expressed itself in the many star shows he wrote and produced at the Eugene Science Center Planetarium and through lifelong star gazing. His coaching career was composed of two stints, both of which he enjoyed deeply: 2 years with the Emory & Henry Wasps Men’s & Women’s Cross Country teams and 3 years working with the Virginia High School Bearcats X-C/spring track distance programs, two serving as head coach. His community involvement included being an active band parent for eight years, routinely volunteering during local elections, running for BPS School Board in 2010, and helping as a trail groomer for the Mendota Trail Conservancy. He is survived by his wife and sons, his father-Deacon Joseph J. Iskra of Lake Wales, FL, sisters Maria Appleton of Mount Prospect, IL and Christine Clifford of Troy, MI, brother Matthew Iskra of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, three nieces and four nephews. He is pre-deceased by his mother, Judy Galloway Iskra. His family is shocked and saddened by his untimely death but vows to live life to its fullest as a testament to John’s time with them. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Strength to Love, 1963 A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2022 at Blevins Funeral Home (417 Lee Street, Bristol, VA 24201). Visitation will begin at 11:00AM. The memorial will begin at noon. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Mendota Trail Conservancy, PO Box 1322, Bristol, VA 24203. Further info can be found at www.MendotaTrail.org or [email protected] Online condolences may be made to the Iskra family at www.blevinscares.com. Blevins Funeral Home has the honor of serving the Iskra family.
Dr. John James Iskra, 57, of Bristol, VA, USA, died suddenly February 14, 2022 at Bristol Regional Medical Center of a suspected blood clot which traveled to his lungs. He will be remembered for his keen intellect, his quick wit, his generosity... View Obituary & Service Information
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