John was born June 20, 1931, in Bronxville, N.Y., and came to Princeton from Phillips Exeter Academy, where he founded the Exeter Mountaineering Club with his English teacher and renowned mountaineer, Bob Bates. He was a member of Tiger Inn and majored in geology, writing his thesis on “Pleistocene Geology of the Hardwick Triangle and late Wisconsin Glaciation in Northern Vermont.” As a member of the swimming team, John held Princeton records for the 50-yard freestyle from 1952 to 1961 and the 100-yard freestyle from 1953 to 1961.
After Princeton, John served for 3 1/2 years as a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Naval Reserve, graduating in the top 1 percent of his class in Officer Candidate School training. He began his career as a geologist at Esso with assignments in Guatemala, Belize, England, Senegal, and Nicaragua — where he spent his “longest day” as a hostage at gunpoint. He pursued a career in fundraising and major-gifts development, joining Princeton in 1970 and later working for the Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Vermont. He also served as class secretary for 10 years, from 2008 to 2018.
John had a passion for mountaineering, sailing, fly fishing, bird hunting, swimming, and golf, enjoying multiple trips to Wyoming’s Wind River Range, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Belize, Europe, and the UK.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Marcia Stone; daughter Lisa; son John; and four grandchildren.