John Michael Corcoran A celebration of John Corcoran's life was held at Valley Mortuary, 950 Alpine Lane, Jackson, WY, 83002 on Saturday, February 12. John aspirated food and died in his home in Wilson, WY on February 7, 2011. John was born into the Bear Clan, March 2, 1947 while his parents Joe and Ruth Corcoran lived on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation northeast of Buffalo, NY. He is predeceased by his parents and his sister Debbie, many Aunts and Uncles and several beloved dogs. John is survived by his sister Patricia Corcoran and her husband Carl Nielsen, and their children Bjarne and Eva of Ontario, NY. He is also survived by his Aunt Edie and Uncle Stan Pytel of Bellingham, WA and many cousins up and down the west coast, and Aunt Jean McElligot of Rochester, NY and more cousins on the east coast, and Joyce (Janza) Corcoran of Rock Springs, WY. John attended the first Outward Bound Course offered in the U.S., in Minnesota's Quetico. It was there he met Tap Tapley who invited him to attend the newly formed National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) based out of Lander, WY. Paul Petzoldt was so impressed with John's outdoor skills and leadership abilities that he hired John to lead a group into the back country for four weeks, even though John had only recently turned 17. John continued to work for NOLS and live with Paul and Dorothy. In the fall he enrolled in Lander High and lived with the Case family. With Paul Petzoldt and Tap Tapley (both of the 10th Mountain Division), John was on the first (and several thereafter) winter climb of the North Face of the Grand Teton. On one attempt a storm rolled in and winds were in excess of 100 mph, much snow was dumped and avalanches did occur. The group was forced to dig ice caves and live in them for a week near the Lower Saddle. They were reported lost by national news service (as "no one could survive such conditions"); happily, there were only injuries, but no losses. John hiked, climbed, skied, horse packed, hunted and fished most of the Wind River range, Absarokas, Tetons and San Juans. One climb he particularly enjoyed was when he and his buddies climbed Mt. Moran with their ski gear and then skied down the Skillet Glacier. When John first came to Jackson there were no stop lights and all the roads were dirt. He stayed awhile with Elsie and Wood Warmwald and then his first apartment was in a small log cabin in town, which is now the Sweet Water CafAC.. He watched Teton Village being built and knew many of those involved in its creation and was skiing it before completion. John worked many years as a hunting guide: for Loring Woodman of the Darwin Ranch, Big Sandy Lodge in Pinedale, Heart 6 Ranch, and was manager at Turpin Meadow to name just a few. His favorite place and people were Snook and Evelyn Moore of Moores M Ranch in Cora. He worked with the teams haying and trapped and cherished his time there and what he learned from them. In 1976 and 77 he worked for Colorado Outward Bound and went to school for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He did well, as any one can imagine, but longed for the great out doors. John spent most of his time, since 1964, in Wyoming, but he worked as far south as Baja, Mexico for Outward Bound teaching scuba diving, sailing and dessert survival. John also found his way up north working several times in Alaska logging and working fish boats and diving for crab. He was comfortable in a canoe or on horseback and worked for many outfits wrangling cows, shoeing horses and helping with calving. John had done tree work back east, and off and on since he arrived out west, but in 1986 he established "Wind River Tree Service" and not only took good care of the area trees, but entertained and thrilled many viewers by such a large man climbing about on tiny limbs with huge chainsaws dangling from his belt. He was sort of an aerial artist with massive power tools. John was engaged three times, but only married once. At the age of 42, John married the Mayor of Lander, Joyce Janza. Together they had many great adventures, including a trip to Tanzania with Dine and Bob Dellenback. John and Bob climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and then went on a safari. John turned 50 on that trip and his birthday was celebrated by all the guests and staff at Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge. Unfortunately, the marriage ended abruptly due to the demons John fought all his life. Ruth Corcoran, John's mother is in the American Red Cross Hall of Fame, for over 50 years of volunteer work in multiple counties and virtually all disciplines. Since Ruth taught John and his sister Debbie to swim by the time they were 2 and 3 (and John could knock off a A½ mile before he was 5) and this was very unusual back then. The local Red Cross asked Ruth to write a manual for instructing young swimmers. The title of the book: "Teaching Johnny to swim". Life comes full circle, it's gratifying that John has enjoyed his work at the American Red Cross in Jackson. He also was attending meetings with friends regularly and working at Mountain House with many supportive and wonderful people. John could also be found at St. John's Living Center, for years he has visited old friends there and shared stories. John was a very special person and he had many extra special friends. His family are forever grateful to those who were especially supportive to John. Thank you to Dr. Bruce Hayse, Scott and Cindy Carter, Bernard and Suzanne Rietmann, the Linn families, Chuck Schapp, George Clover, Gary Hardeman, Joe Moore, Roger Millward, Birdie Millward, Steve Thomas, Joe O'Laughlin, Barb and Vernon Stephenson. We fear leaving some one out and apologize in advance for any over sight. A very special thanks to Joyce for all she did for John and assisting with final arrangements. Nya-weh to all those who attended the celebration on Saturday, your support and kind words were wonderful. John's strength and abilities were legendary, unfortunately so was his weakness. He loved music, reading, Scrabble games, children, animals, Earl Grey tea, oatmeal and as he would tell you, food. He loved Wyoming and considered it home. As one person said at his memorial, "Wyoming lost a friend and a legend". To know John, was to love and admire him and sometimes fear him. May he rest in peace. John's family brought his ashes back to NY for services there, but will bring him back out west this summer as he had requested. If you wish to make a donation in his honor, you may choose from: Foundation for Alcohol Research www.ABMRF.org, American Red Cross or Mountain House in Jackson. All have secure web sites. Nya-weh (thank you).