John Cleary, former adjunct faculty and Senior Design advisor, passed away in August after a fight with cancer. The civil and environmental engineer oversaw much of Eastern Washington’s solid waste disposal through the Department of Ecology, and advised students on composting and other aspects of solid waste treatment.
John Cleary’s Celebration of Life takes place on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Spokane Club’s Georgian Ballroom (1002 W. Riverside Ave). Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and tributes begin at 4:30 p.m.
“He loved to joke about how garbage wasn't 'glamorous', but it was a field in which you could make a difference in the world,” remembers Hailey Fitterer (’15, Civil Engineering). “It is because of John I have chosen to be an Environmental Engineer in the solid waste industry. At every job site we visited that summer, John continually offered respect and kindness towards everyone, no matter their title. He was example of someone who had passion for their job, every single day, even when it wasn't well-paid or easy.
“He was an exceptional engineer, not only for his understanding of math and science, but also for his ability to communicate and relate to anyone. John dedicated many years to serving and helping other young people find their passions and teaching them valuable life skills, including his time at Gonzaga as an adjunct professor. He became a dear friend and mentor, and I am grateful for the time he was able to impact me and other students at Gonzaga” Fitterer said.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science and its Center for Engineering Design & Entrepreneurship send our deepest sympathies to the Cleary family and to all people who counted John as a mentor and friend.