John Fowler McNamara: Feb. 26, 1939 – Aug. 28, 2017


John McNamara of Oak Harbor. passed away at home on Aug. 28, 2017, in the company of close family.

John was born in Seattle to parents John and Dorothy McNamara. His enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit started young and included selling fishing lures and working at the local market and service station in Chinook, Wash. In his younger days, John enjoyed working on cars and was a founding member of the Long Beach, Wash. Beach Barons. John graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1957.

John was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a degree in accounting from Oregon State University. It was during a summer job with the Bend School District that he met his first wife, Sherry Jorgensen, who is the mother of his two children. After college, John started his career in accounting with the General Accounting Office in Washington, DC. He served in the Army for two years and then returned to the GAO and was based in Portland, Ore. His job to audit government spending took him across the globe to Taiwan, Mexico, Columbia and Egypt along with a two-year assignment in Frankfurt, Germany.

John left the GAO in 1975 to try his hand at real estate investment. His family had moved to Clyde Hill, Wash. at this point, and he became the treasurer of Clyde Hill in the 1970s. It was when taking an H&R Block Income Tax Course in Bellevue to learn how to report his rental investments that John discovered his love for tax preparation. This led to the purchase of the Oak Harbor H&R Block franchise and subsequent expansion into Freeland, Mount Vernon, Burlington, Anacortes, Stanwood, Arlington and Sedro-Woolley. When John retired in 2005, he employed 75 seasonal tax preparers.

John’s sense of adventure and love of travel led him to take an African safari in 1991, where he met Linda Merrion. After a long-distance romance between Virginia and Oak Harbor, Linda retired from her teaching career and they married on Aug. 3, 1992, during a cruise to Alaska. Their travels took them to Australia, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Hawaii and the Cook Islands, to name just a few places. Most recently they traveled to Cuba in January of this year.

Together they enjoyed spending the winters in Cathedral City, Calif., where they enjoyed hiking, bicycling and playing pickleball. John was beloved by a broad set of friends in both Washington and California. He was always willing to help a neighbor and supported his local community, including the Whidbey Playhouse, Friends of the Library and Island Thrift, where he served on the board of directors.

In addition to his wife Linda, John is survived by daughter Julie McNamara-Dahl (Steve), grandsons Matthew and Christopher; son Brian McNamara (Lisa), grandchildren Kevin (Kaitlin, and great granddaughter Emily Grace), Austin (Sarah), Anna, Kassie, Hailey, Lauren; brother William McNamara (Lourdes), nephew Greg McNamara (Rose), niece Andrea McNamara-Doyle (Jeff) and their families. He is also survived by Linda’s son William Campbell, daughters Katrina Plato and Teresa Young and their families.

John will be greatly missed by all his family and friends who loved him very much. They will cherish their memories of time spent together camping, hiking, boating in the wooden kayaks he built and playing board games together.

Thanks to the staff at WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care for their kind and compassionate support during his brief battle with cancer. Memorial contributions may be made to them at 101 N. Main Street, Coupeville WA 98239.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date.

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