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Memorial Created By
David Booth

John (Johan) Booth

Beloved friends and family, use this site to share stories and memories of our John/Johan Booth. John resisted sentimentality, and specifically wished not to be remembered in a tearful mood. But we family and friends live with a void where he was. Let’s share memories that help fill that void. Tell...  see more

John Booth was born in Carlisle, PA, in 1965.  He studied computer science and astronomy at Wesleyan University and UC Santa Cruz.  He found his life’s work in the U.S. Antarctic program where he came to be called Johan.  He worked at Palmer and South Pole Stations as a science technician.  He loved the social life of the South Pole, where a small staff community would fend for itself during the long isolation of dark months.  He loved...  see more
6,538 Visits

Posts & Photos

  • Joanne Keys
    Knowing he'd poo-poo me for this, remembering our dear Johan this day.

    Missing him & our many wonderful arguments about so many things, including whether one simply stops upon death (your perspective) vs. nothing in the physical universe just...  more
  • Schuyler Frautschi
    Apropos of Ann's birthday entry yesterday, my Mom found some old correspondence from Johan recently:

    Perhaps you know that I am not a big fan of annual events. I guess I never could understand the idea of marking something based on the mass of the sun...  more
  • Ann Peoples
    Thinking of John on his birthday. He once told me that he didn't care for birthday greetings. So, each year on June 4, I'd send him a note with a simple "Hi" and personal commentary. This year is no different. John - wherever your atoms are -...  more
  • Angela Drexler
    I met Johan in October 2003 when I took over the Aurora Lab duties from him. We spent a week together as he generously introduced me to my new work space and also prepared to leave the Ice. We talked for hours about many things… he loved identifying...  more
  • John Skovron
    I think of John often. As I wrote here in July, I miss the visits and the emails. I am sure he would have fascinating comments about new rules in place for baseball or high altitude balloons, and those comments would have been insightful, funny, and...  more
  • Denis Barkats
    I was profoundly saddened by hearing the news of Johan's death, but not completely surprised based on the most recent email updates by Johan on this email list.
    I spent winter 2006 at Pole with Johan, among others, and became really good friend with...  more
  • Laura Parker
    How I first met Johan was through Mary and Gumby when they bought the house across the street from me oh so many years ago now, but that is how I ended up meeting Johan. Actually, I ended up being dear Johan's "permanent" WA State address.
    ...  more
  • Robert Schwarz
    Looking for a true Antarctic legend and a person everybody in the USAP regardless of South Pole, Palmer, McMurdo, CHC or Denver will know or has heard of - Johan will immediately come to mind, that soft spoken guy with the Red Sox Cap and a tie dye...  more
  • Tom Goetze
    I met John as one of my housemates when we started at UC Santa Cruz. He made an immediate impression with a depth of knowledge in practically everything, an ability to explain very complicated things in simple terms, his calm and kind personality, and of...  more
  • Family Schern-Pow
    Thank you for creating this site so that we can share thoughts and commiseration. I think of Johan as brilliant, resourceful, innovative, colorful, helpful, unique, experienced, wise, wonderful, and missed! For years, I was slightly intimidated by...  more
  • Howard Bond
    I was so sorry to hear of Johan's passing. I used to observe a lot at Kitt Peak National Observatory & got to know him when he was on the support staff as a telescope operator. Years later, when he had left the staff for points south, it seemed that...  more
  • William Spindler
    I wintered with Johan at Pole in 2008, but we'd been in touch for years before. Here is my obituary coverage.
  • Hamish Wright
    If anyone would like to know more about Mount Booth, the link below will take you to the topographic 1:50000 map of the area of the Dry Valleys where it is. Just to the right of...  more
  • David Booth
    I share here a memory from Craig Jurgensen, a neighbor in Pennsylvania:

    Reflections on my friend – John Booth

    It was Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame catcher and wizard of the game of life, who said “Baseball is 90% mental—the other half is physical.”...  more
  • Paula Gormly
    What a guy. I met John at Wesleyan, same dorm Freshmen year. Super smart, super nice guy, certainly marching to the beat of his own drum . I fondly remember my VIP visits to the Observatory and small group tours of the tunnels underneath Wes - how was...  more
  • Richard Schnee
    John was a dear friend since graduate school at UCSC. Graduate school is inherently difficult, and he had a huge impact making my life much more pleasant during that time. I shared his passion for baseball and the Red Sox (I am the other guy in the Red...  more
  • Joan Bechtel
    John, later Johann, was a beloved God son who leaves a huge void in my life. I knew him when he was growing up, but knew him much better in his adult life. I think I was a failure in the usual, perhaps antique, understanding of being a God parent. ...  more
  • John Skovron
    In 1983 John had the dorm room next to mine at Wesleyan. We mostly talked in the late evenings when he returned from the school’s telescopes. I have never met someone so pragmatic, intelligent, and blunt, who was also so quirky and funny. Over the...  more
  • Pamela Hill
    Like all of Johan's friends, I have so many fond memories of visits and conversations with him during our 25yrs of friendship. I met Johan during my first winter at Palmer Station in 1997. He was finishing up the summer season as I was starting my...  more
  • Corey Peterson
    Johan (John when you arrived on the Ice, but we moved that right along ;), eh?) - you touched so many people in loving and profound ways. I so very much enjoyed our time at Palmer Station in the 90s and your unique perspective on the world and your...  more
  • Janet Phillips
    What a beautiful collection this is – thanks so much for this place to remember and celebrate Johan! While I feel certain there have been, and will be, many smaller gatherings in remembrance, I remarked to a friend who I was sharing my grief with that...  more
  • David Todd
    John was a student in my computer science classes at Wesleyan, and he was teaching apprentice twice for one of my advanced courses (an unusual dispensation for an unusual student!).

    We kept in touch after graduation, and he visited us in Bozeman, San...  more
  • Robert Sider
    I don’t remember exactly when John and I became friends, but my mother tells me it was sometime in 1968, when I moved to Carlisle, PA and my family met John’s family either at St. John’s Episcopal Church or at some Dickinson College event (since we...  more
  • Hamish Wright
    I had the pleasure of sharing a winter at the South Pole in 2016 with Johan. Going to Antarctica was always a childhood dream for me - the adventure, the science, the starkness. I remember first hearing about Johan, and fellow winter-over veteran Robert...  more
  • Philip Massey
    I first knew John when he was the legendary telescope operator (TO) at Kitt Peak. He was simplest the best TO I'd ever worked with: extremely smart, competent, and funny. I once was scheduled for 23 nights in a row, and John was operating the 2-meter...  more
  • Kristin Green
    John and I were classmates beginning in grade school until he left for Wesleyan. I unearthed this picture of John from our 5th grade class picture...I feel like this is a bit of a "cool dish served" since I also found what he wrote in my high school...  more
  • Kristin Green
  • I first met Johan in 2006, prior to his deployment to South Pole for the winter-over NOAA operations and launching our group’s balloon ozonesondes. Much of the success of the NOAA South Pole balloon ozonesonde record and monitoring the yearly ozone...  more
  • Ann Heermans-Booth
    “Pamela and I occasionally coincided with John’s home visits to Harry and Ann in Carlisle, PA. One incident stands out in our memory. Pamela was near tears with a new phone. John was asked for help and his explanations and experience were given with...  more
  • Rudi Moritz
    Johan, I feel very privileged knowing you, and still having had personal email communication while your health had been declining. Your attitude to life and to science has been outstanding. I don't know anyone like you, and I am grateful for the times we...  more
  • Joanne Keys
    I first met Johan in 1993 at Palmer Station and have been grateful for his long-lasting friendship ever since. His perspectives, intellect and insights were so delightfully packaged with that remarkable wit! He certainly was family to us; we were honored...  more
  • John Gress
    I met Johan in 1991. I had just started working as the hiring manager for the Science Technicians in Antarctica. I had previously wintered over as a Science Technician in 1988-89. I had an idea what it took to do the technical aspects of the job and what...  more
  • Jackson VB
    When I was in Boulder preparing to start working at the American Samoa atmospheric observatory, I remember meeting Johan in person for the first time. Seated with me at a table, Johan was sketching diagrams to illustrate how the Dobson Spectrophotometer...  more
  • Leslie Rankin
    Thank you so much David for setting this up! I am reading, sobbing, and soaking in every word posted. I recognize so many of you from John's stories about his Pole friends!!!! And hello Mr. Cook, you were my great math teacher many years ago. :) I was so...  more
  • Dan Naber
    I had the privilege to spend the winter of 2000 at Palmer Station with Johan. A one-of-a-kind person that as others have said, made this a much better world.
    I had a look for photos from that winter and found a few I thought others might like to...  more
  • Bronwyn  Poole
    John (Johan) was a year ahead of me at Wesleyan and he quickly joined our close knit group of friends my freshman year. John introduced us to the magic of the universe by inviting us to view the stars with him at the telescope near our dorm. We spent...  more
  • Jon Martin
    So Little, but Huge for a Great Memory.
  • Jon Martin
  • Albie Pokrob
    John was not only brilliant, he was down to earth and fun to hike, bike, or throw the softball with. I will miss his smile, conversations, and visits while traveling around the country.

    He once stopped at my parents house in Ct. They were watching...  more
  • Albie Pokrob
    My wife Kacy and I wintered with John at the South Pole in the winter of 1994/95. I shared an office with him during the winter months, and despite he being a Red Sox fan and me liking the Yankees, we became good friends. I remember one time making...  more
  • Mark Lehman
    It has been wonderful to read through these stories from Johan's vast friend group. Many thanks to David for creating this opportunity.

    Louise and I convinced Johan (after much deliberation) to join us for some hiking and camping in and around Chile's...  more
  • Chet Waggoner
    I will miss Johan a lot. I have many good memories of wintering with him and catching up with him over the years in Antarctica. Here are just a few of those that popped into my head this evening.

    When I first arrived at South Pole in the Summer of 2013,...  more
  • Traci Veenstra
    I met Johan while working at Le Bons Bay in New Zealand for Garry almost 20 years ago. I remember all of the guests from all over the world sitting around the table, all fascinated with everything that Johan told us about. During his week or so there,...  more
  • Martha B
    I had heard about Johan for years from some friends who were with him in Palmer in 04-05 and then traveled together to Patagonia. He sounded like an interesting human but I didn't think we would ever meet. Then, there he was, at a friend's dinner party,...  more
  • Jennah Waggoner
    I was lucky enough to winter with Johan in 2016. I was the steward/dishwasher that year and Johan always made me feel like the work I was doing mattered. It was a hard job and the winter was long and I always appreciated how helpful he was in the dish...  more
  • Sonja W
    This is a favorite Johan photo of mine from the end of the 2004 Palmer winter. Granted, there are not many to choose from, so that makes it an easier task. Johan was staying on a bit longer, but I was heading north on the LM Gould at the end of my...  more
  • Dave Fischer
    I had the privilege of working with Johan over several years in the 1990s at the South Pole. The world has lost a very special person.
  • Christian Rahl
    I first met Johan Nov 2019 while we were swapping places at pole. He was on his way out and I was on my way in for my first time at pole. He returned for that winter in 2020 and I am absolutely blessed that he did.

    Johan was an amazing story teller...  more
  • Daniel Craine
    I met John in freshman physics, and shared studying, card playing, softball and more at Wesleyan University. Years later, I had the pleasure of seeing him when he visited us in Melbourne Australia. I believe he stayed with us on five occasions over the...  more
  • Jo Aigner
    I met Johan in 1999 in Akaroa New Zealand in one of my favorite Guesthouses when I was traveling for one year around Oz and Nz. I was fascinated by the stories Johan told us when we were sitting around the big table where Gary, the owner of the...  more
    • Jo Aigner
      Rudi Moritz Well said Jo! I remember we found it funny that you and Johan had kind of gone the opposite way with your names. Johan changing his name from John to Johan, and you changing from Johann to Jo.
      • July 18, 2022