John E. Shepanek
John E Shepanek passed away peacefully at home November 3, 2020 in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
John was born September 13, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan to Jean and John Shepanek, the oldest of four children. He attended Precious Blood Catholic School, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. He was always proud of his Polish heritage, Michigan roots and was a Wolverine fan to the end.
He married Sandra Van Zandt on May 24, 1957 in Detroit. Together he and Sandra lived in Chicago, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Farmington Hills, Michigan, Danville, CA and Tustin, CA before moving to Oregon in 1986. They enjoyed a rich social life and kept lasting lifelong friendships in every place they lived.
His passion for food and restaurants, started in his father's grocery store, which led to his (and his brother Dick's) first franchise restaurant "Little Red Hen". That experience led to a very fortuitous job opportunity in northern California with Saga Foods/Straw Hat Pizza, then Taco Bell and Carl's Jr. He moved his family to Oregon to help franchise the quick lube chain Oil Can Henry. He later purchased the company, expanding development and growing it from two centers to 92 stores throughout the western states. It was a great joy to him to be able to welcome nearly all of his children, his son-in-law Brett and several grandchildren into the business at one time or another.
John brought his leadership and business acumen to serve on the boards of the former Christie School, Jesuit High School, Catholic Charities and Providence Advisory Board.
John loved fishing, classic cars, spending time at his home in Newport on the Oregon coast with friends and family and watching his grandchildren's sporting events. In his later years, he was able to act on his lifelong love of travel; taking numerous trips across the country and to Asia, Italy, France and Poland.
In retirement, he and Sandra wintered in La Quinta and for 14 years welcomed family and friends to their home in Mountain View Country Club. While his golf game did not improve much, his gleaming golf cart in its spotless garage was the envy of his neighbors.
John was a man of faith, honor, intellect and good humor. His leadership, in business as in life, was always heartfelt and he was truly a man for others. He will be well remembered and much missed. He was a true example of devoted fatherhood to his six children, and the ultimate Poppa to his many grandchildren.
John is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Sandra, and his siblings: Dick, Larry and Lorry. Also survived by six children and their spouses: Lisa, Chris (Suzanne), Michael, John N. (Karin), Paula (Brett) and Kari (Matt), former daughter-inlaw Jovita Alphonse, and 13 grandchildren: Max Shepanek, Elizabeth Berken, Catherine Berken, Kyle Shepanek, Tyler Shepanek, Emma Shepanek, Brandon Day, Landon Shepanek, Jake Day, Ethan Shepanek, Noah Shepanek, Grayson Tessieri and Conner Tessieri.
In lieu of f lowers, we invite you to honor John's memory through two of his favorite charities; Providence Heart Institute (providencefoundations.org) and Jesuit High School (jesuitportland.org).
Our family is grateful for the kindness and care of Nareth, Maria and Lily who made such a positive difference in his life these past couple of months.
A private family service will be held November 14, 2020 at 1PM at Our Lady of the Lake. The service will be live streamed through the parish website ollparish.com We look forward to a larger Celebration of Life in 2021.