John was born to John Howard Ewalt and Vera Eileen Ewalt on April 24, 1951 in Great Bend, Kansas. He lived in Great Bend, KS and Denver, CO until graduating from Arvada High School in 1969. He joined the U.S. Navy that year and learned his first life lesson: “Always read what you sign". At enlistment, as he was signing papers, he signed an agreement to extend his enlistment by two years. As the paper was disappearing into the recruiter’s hands, he wanted it back but was told by the recruiter it was too late. This agreement was to set him on a life course. While in the Navy, he attended the Navy nuclear school in Idaho. Following his six-year enlistment (of which there were six months of fun); he ended up in Washington state working at many jobs and facilities at Hanford.
His first job was at the Fast Flux Test Facility (FTFF) as a reactor operator and later as a shift manager. He would go on to perform many other roles, including establishing a successful program for the reduction of human error. After leaving FFTF, John conducted many Hanford site-wide investigations and assessments. He was recognized across the site for his expertise and skills.His next job was at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX) as Operations Improvement Specialist and coach for multidisciplinary field work teams.
John then moved on to the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) as lead for a re-engineering effort to create multidisciplinary field work teams. Eventually, he became the manager for Plutonium Process Support Laboratories, which was a plutonium chemistry research and development lab.
The couple spent many quiet evenings sitting on their deck, enjoying the view with their cats and watching Caroline’s roses grow. John looked forward to family gatherings with the brothers, sister, nieces and nephews. There was lots of laughter when they were around. John’s smile would light up the room and his laughter was contagious. He was a much valued friend to many.
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