A human being is part of a whole called by us the universe.
- Albert Einstein
  • 78 years old
  • Born on July 30, 1939 .
  • Passed away on March 11, 2018 .

July 30th, 2018

Happy Birthday John! We miss you.



Dear Family and Friends,

  We buried John in his hometown of Viola Illinois March 31st at St. John's Catholic Cemetery, followed by a beautiful service paying tribute to his life. Our children performed musical numbers and presented the eulogy as John had requested. His large extended family and friends travelled long distances to attend a ceremony full of John's favorites-vases and vases of red roses followed by his favorite food, lasagne and banana cream pie.  We remembered his incredible life and shared our grief for his loss.  John would have been proud and I am deeply grateful to all of you for your cards, emails, gifts and contributions to his scholarship.  

John's legacy will live on. 

Bless you all, Much love Pam


Please feel free to view photos and add your own memories, stories or pictures of John for the family in the stories tab above. 

In lieu of flowers or gifts, if you wish to remember John please consider contributing to the John Flaherty Physics Scholarship (note in memo line the scholarship name) via check to:

Yuba Community College District Foundation Office
425 Plumas Blvd
Suite 200
Yuba City, CA 95991
(530) 749-3868
Donation Form: https://goo.gl/jU88v1


John passed in peace after 17 years of bravely fighting cancer. 

Raised in Viola, Illinois, John enjoyed living the majority of his life northern in California with his wife, Pamela, and his three children. John met Pam in Laramie Wyoming while working on his PhD in Physics. They fell in love, completed their degrees, and were married on January 27th, 1971.

In search for sunshine, the couple moved to northern California to raise their family. John taught physics and astronomy at Yuba Community College and even ran a motorcycle and jet ski dealership in the 80s.

He was a man of strong will, determination, and kindness. John's love for his family showed in everything he did, and he most enjoyed working hard to support those he loved.

John is survived by his wife, Pamela, his three children, Heather, John and Britt, his granddaughters, Nora and Emily, his sister Barbara and his brother James. He was preceded in death by his brother Bill, his brother Leo, and his parents Mary Josephine and William Flaherty. Services will be held in Illinois. 

Posted by Steve Klein on 30th July 2018
Happy Birthday John! Steve & Lauren
Posted by Steve Thompson on 6th April 2018
My condolences go out to his family. I was a physics student of his in 1982-1984. Yes, he was a bit unorthodox, but I really enjoyed some of the discussions had during class on various aspects of physics from gravity waves to photon behavior. I'm sure he is remembered fondly by many of his former students.
Posted by George Porzio on 21st March 2018
Very sorry to hear of John's passing. I first met John when I retired 4 1/2 years ago and I was looking to play tennis on a regular basis. John was very kind to invite me to join his Friday morning group. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with John and admired his love of the game. He certainly inspired me and now I run group. Rest in Peace John!
Posted by Steve Klein on 17th March 2018
So much of my life since 1976 has been intertwined with John Flaherty’s that very few of my best memories don’t involve John in some way. His enthusiasm for crazy professional and recreational projects sucked me and others around him into (usually productive) experiences we would have never taken on without his inspiration. These ranged from epic battles to make Yuba College a better place, to putting together teams for any form of racing (cars, lawnmowers, triathlons, etc.), to he and Pam organizing the best gatherings of friends and colleagues. The Physics instruction John delivered all those years was better than that at the top Universities. His teaching style was often not appreciated fully until students transferred and realized that through Dr. Flaherty, they had picked up the most extraordinary competency during Yuba College Physics. That is the realization and confidence that they can go beyond the struggle to actually figure out hard problems. Thank you John for enriching so many student lives and so many faculty lives, including my own.
Posted by Peter Schor on 16th March 2018
Dear Pam, Family, and Friends: I had limited experiences knowing John. and they were all GOOD. I will remember his smile and his willingness to volunteer with the boys and girls tennis at Lincoln High, City of Lincoln Social Tennis, and The LHTG. I had read almost ALL of the tributes which touched me deeply on how much he was loved and admired. Like the wind, you can't see it, but always can feel it's presence, John will always be remembered for making a difference in so many lives. Sending my love to Pam and all family and friends of John's Peter
Posted by Joan Brant-Love on 16th March 2018
Neighbors InDeed, which is a well-respected service group in Sun City Lincoln Hills, greatly benefited from John’s leadership as President when he stepped in in 2006. At the time, Neighbors InDeed was moving from formative stage to one of rapid growth. John oversaw the development of projects, policies and procedures, grew the Board of Directors, enlisted countless volunteers and supported us all in making Neighbors InDeed the well-functioning organization it is today. He did this out of recognizing the needs of, and caring so much for others in the community. A man of great heart. He will be missed. (From Joan Brant-Love and Janet Roberts)
Posted by Pietrina Magna on 15th March 2018
Pam, our condolences to you & your family. So glad John had the opportunity to see his new grandbaby & spend time together. He was an amazing man & we are grateful for having known him. Take solace in knowing you have many friends who support you & you can lean on. Love & prayers to you all. Pietrina & Larry Magna
Posted by Carol Vasconcellos on 15th March 2018
John was instrumental in making our first days in Lincoln Hills so successful. He was president of the Tennis group and made sure Tony and I were included in every aspect of the group. I loved the costumes he would wear at all the tennis events. We knew him as the "fun" John, not the academic wonder boy. You will be missed and your shoes will be hard to fill.
Posted by Lauren Syda on 15th March 2018
My deepest condolences go out to the Flaherty family. Your support and love provided the strength and motivation to wage his 17 year battle. I am so grateful for the extra time I was able to enjoy the amazing man, John Flaherty. His legacy is so rich! A large part of which is the many, many students who benefited from his unique style of teaching. He will be remembered for his loving way of bringing out the best in each of them (though some didn’t recognize at the moment.) Those same inspirational skills extended to his colleagues and friends. Yuba College was positively impacted by his leadership skills and devotion. As a colleague and friend, I value the many experiences we shared. I have fond memories of the many projects he talked me into (most of which ended well), the many situations he helped me resolve, and his continuous support both professionally and personally. Like all that knew John, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to know such a remarkable man. John, may you rest in peace.
Posted by Bob Belknap on 14th March 2018
My 3/11 tribute apparently did not go. Each time I see the picture John took of Patti and me at the Valentine Day Tennis Tournament I will think of him. I will miss John.
Posted by Bob Belknap on 14th March 2018
I'll send this a second time Pam as I guess my 3/11 did not go. When I look at the Valentines Day tennis tournament picture John took of tennis partner Patti and me, I will think of him each time I see it. A fun guy who will be missed.
Posted by LINDA MCDERMOTT on 14th March 2018
Dear Pam and family. Your tennis family will miss you! John always had a smile on his face when we knew he was struggling with his health. Always so approachable and easy to talk to. Pam, thank you for sharing your family pictures. I really enjoyed seeing other parts of his life and his younger years. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Miriam Root on 14th March 2018
John was a force to be reckoned with during his tenure at Yuba College.But, whenever I cajoled him into helping me with some physics or astronomy event for the community and students, he always humored me and obliged. My thoughts are with Pam and his family at this difficult time.
Posted by Haluk Beker on 14th March 2018
Dear John, Physics does not come in tiny bits but sizable lumps. Sometimes after a long lecture, finishing a worthwhile subject, seconds before the bell rings we say 'Well, this is a good point to stop'. So it is with our lives, after bravely fighting a battle for 17 years, you called it quits. To me you were the older brother that my parents did not provide. In my darkest days at the UWyo, when I had a hard time filling the 'Next of Kin' box of the registration form, looking into the abyss from the very edge, I had your friendship and support. We enjoyed our youth, mature and elderly years together, shared each other's joys and sorrows. Never lost contact, always visiting each other, planned for a get together even when 7000 miles apart. Old age is never easy but the physical side may be endured with stoicism. It is the departing friends and the resulting loneliness of being left behind that hurts most. I thanked you when you were alive and now I thank again for enriching my life and your friendship.
Posted by Bryan Edwards on 14th March 2018
John was my physics professor 17 years ago. Taking his class made me switch majors to engineering because he was such a great teacher and person. I spent the next few years talking with him everyday and even used to meet him at the track to race in his Corvette. He will be sorely missed.
Posted by Jim Mack on 13th March 2018
Johnny & I were HS classmates. He was a smart guy & good study partner. He & I were also the 2 defensive linebackers on our Winola football team. He was very, very good at that position. I always jokingly thanked him for being so good as the opposing team normally ran towards my side of the line..& I enjoyed the action! Great guy that ran a great race thru life. RIP old "Irish" friend
Posted by Carl Gronau on 13th March 2018
Pam and family, John was a good guy - he had a smile for everyone he knew and even those he did not know. I enjoy reading some of what folks have to say about John. I know he enjoyed coming and listening and thinking about what guys had to say at our Bible Study sessions and was blown away that people could share and listen to each other. We will miss him. Carl and Carol Gronau
Posted by Mary Flaherty on 13th March 2018
John was a good brother in law to me. He came to visit me one summer and we had a nice talk. My sympathy and prayers to Pam, Jon, Britt, Heather.
Posted by AnnMarie Herman on 13th March 2018
Many years ago John gave my 10 year old son a job on his ranch. My son was thrilled, what a kind gesture. John was a man of high intelligences and numerous talents. He will by missed by many!
Posted by Russ Allbery on 12th March 2018
John was not just my physics instructor at Yuba College: he was my first employer, a mentor, and a friend. I have so many fond memories of the physics lab, working as his lab and teaching assistant, and learning from him about more than just physics. He truly changed the trajectory of my life; so much of my subsequent success I owe to him and my time at Yuba College. He'll be sorely missed, and I will never forget how he changed my life.
Posted by Molly Flaherty on 12th March 2018
My dear cousins and aunt Pam, I am sad for this loss. I know it is so difficult no matter the circumstances. I have so many fond memories of time with my uncle John throughout my life. He valued his family and was always willing to listen or give some advice. I always admired the zest he had for life, personal, professional and adventure. I know he had a great time on earth and he fought well for that time when he had to.
Posted by Ingrid Neumann on 12th March 2018
My life was richer for having known John. The great passion he had for his family, science, and life in general was exhibited in the full way he lived. Thank you for being a wonderful friend and mentor! My thoughts are with the Flaherty family during this difficult time.
Posted by Catriona Bracewell on 12th March 2018
John became part of our family when my daughter married his son. As we live in England, we only met him on a handful of occasions, all of them memorable. Rodney and I particularly remember with great fondness the fun road trip we did with Pam and John the first time we came to California. We had so many laughs, lots of it based on the words we English used to describe things! He will be missed and we send our heartfelt sympathies to the whole family. Love Catriona and Rodney Bracewell
Posted by Lori Flaherty-Estes on 12th March 2018
Phil and I are deeply saddened by Uncle John’s passing. At the same time, we celebrate his life and give thanks for the many ways he blessed ours’. Prayers for peace and comfort during this difficult time.
Posted by Phil Krebs on 12th March 2018
You don't meet many John Flaherty's in a lifetime. John was never a guy to give up . . . how many times did I hear him say; "Lets try this instead" and then move on with enthusiasm. Even when he disagreed with you, you'd feel like he was somehow on your side. He combined so many winning qualities into this unforgettable personality. I'd say "Rest in Peace, John" but he won't. He'll always be out there trying to make the world a better place - through those he cared for and influenced.
Posted by Patti Fox on 12th March 2018
John was a wonderful person - he really was. He really cared about all of us and went out of his way to help whenever he could. He was family - We will all remember all of the special things he did - and his kindness. He was valiant in his struggle with cancer and taught us all to be strong in the face of adversity. He was still teaching all of us until the day he passed. I think of him now and I believe must be in a really good place - among the stars. Peace.
Posted by Joyce Codina on 12th March 2018
Pam Dear: I am so sorry to read of your loss, you always looked so happy in all of the pictures on facebook. It was always a pleasure to have the Slagle family in the neighborhood.. Condolences from Bev, Cindy and I, may he rest in peace.
Posted by Joyce Codina on 12th March 2018
Pam dear: I am so sorry to hear of your loss, our family was always so fond of all of you and your brother and sisters. I never met John but you looked so happy in all of your Facebook pictures, my condolences to you and your children.
Posted by Rosemary Marty on 12th March 2018
What a special person with such a good heart. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. Such a wonderful example to your family of a life well lived... you loved them first and foremost above all else. Namaste my friend ❤️
Posted by Marc Fong on 12th March 2018
To Pam and Family. Our most heartfelt condolences to you. Both Jackie and I liked and enjoyed John very much the very first time we met here in Sun City. We are very much saddened by his passing. John's sense of humor was the greatest. Our prayers and thoughts to you and family. Marc and Jackie
Posted by DAVID LAMB on 12th March 2018
Thank you John for teaching me physics at Yuba College in 1982. I had a blast watching you teach. I'll never forget the time you kicked me out of your office...lol. All was good the next day though. You were a very forgiving man. You'll be happy to know that I went on to receive a BS in Civil Engineering from UCSS, passed the PE, worked 32 years at Caltrans designing & building bridges, buildings & highways & presently, I'm enjoying being a private pilot. Thank you for all of the seeds you sowed in me during Physics 4A. RIP.
Posted by Julie Hill on 12th March 2018
All my condolences to John's family. He was certainly a teacher with flair. I remember asking a question in physics class, and he said "Aw, you don't really want to know that, do you?" Being my usual persistent self, I said "of course!" He said "because god said so!" And then went on to explain. I don't remember the question, but absolutely the man. John, you will be missed.
Posted by Robert Coe on 12th March 2018
Pam,Heather, Britt and Jon- I've counted the Flaherty family as friends for over 40 years. John was such a great man- quirky sense of humor, amazing intellect, just a one of a kind person. So sorry to lose him. Please accept my condolences. I will be keeping you all in thoughts and prayers. Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything I can do to help during this difficult time.
Posted by Mary Cordone on 12th March 2018
Dear Pam and Family, We are so sorry to hear about John. You may not remember us, but you and John were so wonderful to invite us into your home and show us (of all things) your Kitec plumbing redo. John was so gracious and helpful. Sending prayers, hugs, love to you. If we can help in any way neighbor, let us know. Almo & Mary Cordone
Posted by Ralph Richardson on 12th March 2018
John was a good friend of mine. He and I were among a group of six that started physics graduate studies at St. Louis University in 1962. We and three other guys rented a 5 bedroom flat in University City during 1963-1964. John and I were the cooks for the group and he made a great apple pie (might have a few apple seeds in it but, nevertheless, a great pie). He invented smashed potatoes (some of the potato skins in the mix) before the gourmet chefs came up with them. John helped me replace the timing chain in my 4 cylinder Pontiac in the middle of downtown St. Louis, where it had broken down. John was the kind of guy you could count on. He worked hard but enjoyed a good laugh. Three of us (his fellow graduate students) visited his family farm for a long weekend that year. We had frog legs, swam in the pond and took target practice with his brother's 38. All in all, it was a weekend to remember. I got married the year before he left for Wyoming but we stayed in touch over the years. He and Pam visited with us at my brother's lake house in CA. He visited us a few times over the years in PA and we always enjoyed catching up with him and treasured his family Christmas letters. He accomplished amazing things during his life and leaves behind a great legacy in his family. John was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. My wife, Buffie, and I will miss him but will keep him in our thoughts and prayers. Ralph
Posted by Carol Witten on 12th March 2018
Pam and Family, Our sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved. We enjoyed knowing John through Neighbors InDeed and Lincoln Hills Astronomy Group. He was wonderful, humorous, helpful, strong, kind, to say just a few nice things about our friendship. Be well and cherish those precious and loving memories he leaves. Respectfully, Al and Carol Witten
Posted by Jim Bowden on 12th March 2018
You will be missed, thank you for inviting me to be part of Your tennis family.
Posted by Bob Belknap on 12th March 2018
You will indeed be missed but left me with great memories of your friendship and fun tennis. Even your camera . . . taking a picture of my tennis partner and me at a Valentine Day tournament .
Posted by Pamela Geernaert on 12th March 2018
Condolences to the Flaherty family. What a kind and generous man. May your memories keep you strong and comfort you .
Posted by Gary Guethlein on 12th March 2018
A sad day for all of us who knew and loved John. Who knew 44 years ago that one of the Deans of Yuba College was not just introducing me to the can-do guy that would organize a motocross club for us, but also my first physics instructor (ok, we could have all guessed that ...), long time racing buddy, best man at my wedding, a guy who would do just about anything to help a friend, ... John. John was good at just about everything, except losing-he never acquired a taste for that. He was extremely proud of Pam, Heather, Jon Leo, and Britt, so I know that he felt fortunate to have won at family. Go in peace John- congratulations on a life well-lived.
Posted by Richard Vizzusi on 11th March 2018
Dear Pam Flaherty & Family, I am so sorry for your loss, John was such a great person and a dear friend. I know he is in a better place now, and finally at peace with our dear Lord and Savior. Kathy and I wish you all the best, during this difficult time. Deepest sympathy, Rich Vizzusi
Posted by Angela Willson on 11th March 2018
I am so sorry, I considered John to be one of my dear Yuba friends. He scared many of my female students and I always told them he is a pussy cat.. tell him and don't be afraid. Every single one of them always came back and said they loved him and he was one of their favorite teachers. We will all miss him and it is a great loss to us all.
Posted by Marianne Morse on 11th March 2018
Dear Pam, Heather, Britt and Jon, Our hearts are so heavy with sadness to hear of John's passing. He was such a good and strong and intelligent man. We both just feel so privileged to have known him as our neighbor and friend. We will miss him.... Sending our love and comfort to you, Pam, and your wonderful children.
Posted by Patti Kingston on 11th March 2018
You will be missed by family and friends alike. Those of us who knew you from around the tennis courts will always remember your smiling face. Rest in Peace.

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