John Francis Fallon, age 81, passed away on February 11, 2020 at Agrace Memory Care Suites in Madison, Wisconsin. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 21, 1938 to John and Diana (Mangiaracine) Fallon. John grew up in Massachusetts, Indiana and California. John left home to attend high school at Roosevelt Military Academy in Illinois. He went on to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he earned a double major in philosophy and biology and then a PhD in biology. It was at Marquette that John met Elaine (Degnan) and they married on June 2, 1962. John served two years in the US Army Medical Service Corps before enjoying a long tenure as a scientist, teacher and mentor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the Department of Anatomy and later the Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology.
He is survived by his wife, Elaine; and children, Sean (Sandy), Tim (Sue) and Claire (Steve Kalinosky). John was also the proud grandfather to Kristen (Brandon Collins), Jen, Patrick, Ryan, Ellen, Isabelle, Zane; and great grandfather to Madeline. He was preceded in his death by his parents, John and Diana, as well as Geneva and William Hall, and his brother, Mike Fallon.
John lived life with curiosity and passion. At his core, he loved his family. He modeled devotion and brought “Team Fallon” together in times of joy and adversity. John had questions about everything which led him to be an expert in a wide array of topics including tea, hot peppers, Hopi art, and orchids. He loved to read and had broad musical taste. He will be remembered for his wry sense of humor and missed for his dad jokes.
Although John never went “to work” a day in his life, he did go “to the lab” seven days a week. He could often be found delivering lettuce to his flock of chickens or picking up eggs for his graduate students. He enjoyed using the Socratic method to challenge the thinking of students and colleagues. Sean Hasso, former student has stated, “If I take only one thing from John’s tutelage, it is the knowledge that; while you may hold ideas and hypotheses dearly, no forward progress can be made if you are unwilling to let your ideas mature and evolve.”
The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Alexis Eastman, UW Hospital Staff, All Saints Memory Care, and Agrace Memory Care Suites Hospice for John’s care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in John’s name to either The American Association of Anatomists, 6120 Executive Blvd., Ste 725, Rockville, MD 20852, in recognition of John’s contributions, an award will be established in his name; or to the family to be used to endow a graduate student training slot in Developmental Biology at the UW-Madison.
There will be a private family gathering later in the week. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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