Martha's Vineyard, MA
John J. Varkonda, 55, passed away December 31st at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was born in Salem, Ohio, on August 7, 1958 to John and Ruth Varkonda. He graduated from Salem High and matriculated to Kent State University, where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in Natural Resources Conservation. After working for the National Park Service and the town of Mashpee, Massachusetts, John was selected in 1987 to be the superintendent of the Manual F. Correllus State Forest, the largest tract of public land on Martha's Vineyard. While working for the National Park Service, John met the woman who would become his wife and best-friend, Jane Broderick, with whom he settled on the Vineyard. There they brought two children into the world: a son, Aiden, and a daughter, Kasey.
John was an avid rock climber and mountaineer in his youth and had a life-long passion for camping and motorcycling. Recently, in his hope to pass this interest to another generation, he and his son rebuilt several motorcycles. He was proud of his daughter, who, from a young age, excelled at gymnastics. A man who made life-long friends, John annually toured the northeast states on his motorcycle, camping with friends he had met a quarter century earlier during college and his time with the NPS. John also loved his animals: both he and his dog, Buddy, looked forward to their long walks together.
John was preceded in death by his father, John, and his brother, Richard.
He is survived by his wife, his son and his daughter, all of Martha's Vineyard, his mother, Ruth, and his sister, Lynn, of Salem, and his sister, Amy, of Columbus.
Funeral arrangements are being made by Chapman, Cole, and Gleason in Oak Bluffs. A tribute to John's life and legacy as a man, husband, father, and long-time caretaker of the state forest can be found on-line at mvgazette.com.
(Chapman, Cole, and Gleason 508-693-1495, RC 1-4-14)