Faces of GSN



March 07, 1924—October 3, 2013
John Winton Erwin, Professor Emeritus of Geophysics, University of Nevada, Reno, died in Reno, Nevada on October 3, 2013, of Alzheimer's disease. A native of Chicago, Illinois, John was born March 7, 1924 of John Clarey Erwin and Jeanie Winton Erwin. In 1935, the family moved from Chicago to a farm near Keeler, Michigan. Erwin attended Keeler schools and graduated from Hartford High School, Hartford, Michigan, as salutatorian of the class of 1942. He enlisted and served with the U.S. Marine Corps during 1943 to 1946. On April 15, 1946 he married his high school sweetheart Patricia Young of Hartford, Michigan. They were wed sixty-one years until Patty's death in Octo-ber 2007. John earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, in 1949. He earned his Masters in Geophysics from the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, in 1954. Following graduation from the Colorado School of Mines, John worked for Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan. Later, he and Patty loaded up the kids and headed west to Salt Lake City, Utah, where John was employed by American Smelting & Refining Company, working on mineral exploration programs in Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, Utah and other western states. In 1961, he was employed by Hercules Aerospace Company in Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of the design team for the Sprint anti-ballistic missile. In 1964, John joined the faculty of the Mackay School of Mines of the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, as a professor of geophysics and as a researcher with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. On his retirement in June 1985, he was named Professor Emeritus. Professor Erwin published numerous works in the geophysical field. After his retirement from UNR he continued to teach mathematics at Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada Community College. John was the first in his family to graduate from college. He valued and encouraged education as evidenced by the twenty-four (and counting) college, graduate and doctoral degrees earned by his children and grandchildren, eight of the degrees being awarded by the University of Nevada. John was a registered engineer in the State of Nevada, a member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, the Arizona Geological Society, the Geological Society of Nevada (serving as Chairman in 1969), and the Marina Bay Yacht Club, Richmond, California. Proud of his service as a United States Marine, he belonged to the Navy League and was a life member of the American Legion. For many years he was a member of the Masonic Golden Lodge F & AM/50, St. John's Presbyterian Church and the First Congregational Church, Reno, NV. He enjoyed his retirement sailing and traveling with Patty and sharing geography field trips with his grandchildren with stops for the culinary delights of the Owl Cafe in Battle Mountain and The Griddle in Winnemucca. He also enjoyed lunches at the Gold 'N Silver Inn with fellow engineers geologists Jim Bright, Bob Horton, Bill Johnston, Ed Rugg and other professionals in the mining industry. John was predeceased by his wife Patricia in 2007. He is survived by son James W. Erwin and grandson Jeffrey Erwin, grandson Patrick (Nikki) Erwin (great grandchildren Hunter and Taylor), granddaughter Camille (Kory) Wilson, and granddaughter Nicole (Brian) Johansen (great grandchildren Makayla, Trenton, Tate and Maxwell); son Thomas P. (Molly) Erwin and grandson Philip Erwin, step grandson Paul (Jessie) Kerschen (great granddaughter Rosalind), and step granddaughter Ann (Jason) Wild; son John A. (Sherri) Erwin and granddaughter Rebecca (Jesse) Adams (great grandchildren Aidan and Geneva), granddaughter Marie (Shawn) Lear (great grandchildren Jordan and Maxwell), grandson Scott (Bridget) Erwin, and granddaughter Kathryn (Jonathan) Dethmers; daughter Susan M. (Brian) Buckley and granddaughter Anne Buckley, granddaughter Katherine Buckley, and grandson John Buckley; and daughter Debra A. (Pete) Padgett and granddaughter Melissa Padgett and grandson David (Megan) Padgett (great grandson Nolan), and former daughters-in-law Cheryl L. Ehrke and Michelle F. Hall. His family appreciates the fine care provided to John by Dr. Ronald L. Smith and the caregivers at Emeritus. We also thank the many kind folks at the Gold 'N Silver Inn who welcomed our Dad thousands of times during the past five decades. A Celebration of Life service was held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, October 25, 2013, at Mountain View Mortuary, 435 Stoker Avenue, Reno, Nevada. A Military Internment Service was held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday October 26, 2013 at Mountain View Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials may be made in John's name to the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Mail Stop 162, University of Nevada, Reno 89557.


John Erwin