John EastlakeJuly 16, 1941-February 20, 2021
John graduated from St. Michael’s High School, Greenville, PA in 1959, received his Bachelors in Agriculture-Forestry from the Pennsylvania State University in 1964, and was honorably discharged from the Army National Guard of Pennsylvania after five years (and three months) as a medical corpsman, receiving the sharp shooter badge for rifle (something he would casually mention to his daughters’ dates ). He retired from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) (formerly PA Department of Forests & Waters) after 39 years (2003).
John was all about family and was always there before you needed him. He was a husband, father, grandfather (“Bampa”), friend (he knew no strangers), and a steward of state forest land. He was an avid outdoorsman, hiker (including becoming an Adirondack 46er in 1985), cross-country skier, and photographer. If you saw him without his camera, it was a rare sighting. You always had pictures and stories in your emails. He always pointed out the wildlife, the CCC works, and you knew all the stories that trees and flowers tell. Along with Bob Webber, he laid out a few of Pennsylvania’s most beloved trails: the Black Forest Trail (including the Sentiero DiShay Trail), the Golden Eagle Trail, and the Old Loggers Path. He served as one of the original incorporators of the Mid State Trail Association (along with Tom Thwaites and Jean Aron).
John was also very involved with his community as a longtime member of the South Williamsport Lions Club (2004/2005 past president, 2010 Melvin Jones Award, 2011 Pennsylvania Fellows Award, 2005 Lion of the Year), Civilian Conservation Corp Legacy (2015 Certificate of Appreciation: Conservationist Researcher, 2019 Legacy Stewardship Award), Audubon Society, Alpine Trail Club, Susquehannock Trail Club (2017 Circuit Hiker Award), Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Museum, Keystone Trails Association (2020 Citation Award for Lifetime Achievement), Pennsylvania Forestry Association (2013 The Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education), Tiadaghton Forest Fire Fighters Association, Pennsylvania Forest Firefighters Museum, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation, Thomas T. Tabor Museum, Great Smoky Mountains Association, Pennsylvania Forests Heritage Association, Little League Team Host (Uncle), Nittany Lion Club, Penn State University Football Usher (Section NF), and Friends of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
John was always an educator and historian. He taught all of “his kids” hard and smart work ethics (“it’s the end result that counts”), all in the glory of God. He always looked you in the eyes with a handshake and a smile, sharing stories and corny jokes. And he never forgot anyone’s name. His passion was the history of the Civilian Conservation Corp (he was known as the “CCC Guy”). He shared the environment with everyone and holds a genuine life-estate Deed to one square inch of Mount Nittany Conservancy land. His outreach, though, is measured in miles and miles, genuinely lifting everyone up on eagles wings that are blessed to be part of his trails and beyond.
From his obituary, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, 02/24/2021)