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John Momper (1948-2013)

Obituary: John Momper

John Momper, who served as the School of Social Welfare’s Management and Services Officer, passed away on May 6 in Oakland. He was 64.

John was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., the third of six children. The son of a pile driver, John grew up on the city’s northside, where his family did without a television set or a car. He went on to study political science and education at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

John dedicated most of his professional life to public service, with a significant tenure at the Community Food Bank. He began working in the national nonprofit's Pittsburgh branch, eventually moving to the San Francisco site and then on to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, where he assumed the role of executive director.

John joined the UC Berkeley Labor Center in 2001. He remained with the campus for the rest of his career, taking posts in the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) and the administrative office of the School of Social Welfare.

An athlete and outdoor enthusiast, John was very involved with the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders and served as the group’s volunteer race director for the past three years. He was also an avid tap-dance student and performed with his class at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

John was very passionate about supporting the arts. He was active in helping save Studio One, the local community arts center in his Temescal neighborhood in Oakland. His hobbies included photography and watching films, and he held a particular fondness for foreign, silent and pre-1960s era movies.

Some other tidbits about John shared by his wife Jeanette include his excellent ability to diagnose and fix all types of cars (until they became computerized), his huge affection for cats and dogs and that he “identified with his Slovenian maternal side a bit more than his Irish/Alsatian paternal side.”

John happily became a first-time grandfather a couple of years ago and visited his son and infant granddaughter in Pennsylvania whenever he had the opportunity.

Dedicated, gentle and kind-spirited, John will be missed by his colleagues and friends here in the School of Social Welfare.

Gifts in John's memory can be made to On the Issues, a non-partisan organization that disseminates information "so that votes can be based on issues rather than on personalities and popularity."