Deceased December 18, 2021

View alumni profile (log in required)

In Memory

We lost John the day before Christmas from Parkinson’s and other illnesses.

At Amherst, John was a Phi Gam and chemistry major. His most noteworthy achievement was dating the moon rocks brought back from the Apollo 12 mission in 1969. The age-dating of lunar rocks brought to Earth by those Apollo astronauts revealed that the moon formed 4.51 billion years ago—just 60 million years after the solar system itself took shape. When the results were published, John’s name appeared in news articles all over the world. He parlayed his scientific expertise into a forensic consulting firm and later authored a bestseller, Forensic Science for High School.

In 2007, John and wife Andrea moved to Ajijic, a town about one hour south of Guadalajara, situated at 5,000 feet on Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. In 2009 they dropped down to sea level, bought a lot and built a sizeable “villa” on the beach nearby. Friends from around the world have joined them every Christmas season to create very special memories.

A key part of their life together has been their shared love of travel. Andrea and John visited more than 100 countries over the years—from Borneo to Timbuktu; Barrow, Alaska, to Tokyo; Bali to Toronto. A bucket list item was to take each of their grandchildren on an international trip. In so doing, they covered Brazil plus both sides of Iguazu Falls; Norway, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland; Italy, Greece and Turkey; Colombia; Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, Argentina, plus a cruise to Antarctica; Darwin and Kakadu National Park in Australia, plus Papua New Guinea, plus Tonga with the youngest grandchild—14 at the time.

John is survived by wife Andrea; daughters Sarah Funkhouser, Susan Musson and Lisa Funkhouser; son Peter Funkhouser; and seven grandchildren.

Peter Levison ’56