John Popper

John Popper

June 30, 1953 - January 31, 2017

John Popper

June 30, 1953 - January 31, 2017


John David Popper, 63, passed away suddenly from Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma on January 31, 2017 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA. He was born in Oakland, CA on June 30, 1953; the middle child to John and Beverly Popper.

John grew up in Endicott, NY between the ages of 4 and 12 until the family returned to San Jose, CA. He attended Oak Grove High School in San Jose graduating in 1971. During high school, John played football, basketball, track and cross country. He proudly won the Senior Scholar Athlete Award. John earned a BS in Biology and Marketing as well as an MBA from San Jose State University. He worked 28 years for Unified Grocers most recently as Director, Sales Performance & Analysis splitting his time between the Livermore office and the City of Commerce office. He loved his job but especially the people for whom he worked and worked with. You made a major difference in his life!

John married Lisa January 5, 2013 in Laguna Beach, CA after a three-year courtship. They enjoyed socializing with friends and family, playing scrabble, cribbage, Boggle, Rummikub, pinochle, wine tasting and collecting, traveling to Vancouver, BC, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Europe, Alaska, and his highlight, Custer’s Last Stand. John was an avid road bike rider and participated in many races for worthy causes. If he didn’t get in two rides on the weekend, he was a grumpy husband! He loved playing poker with the “USOP boys” complaining about Craig’s good luck and late email notices, but looking forward to these Friday nights so much that he refused to move down south full-time just so he could participate. John loved baking his family’s traditional cinnamon rolls at Christmas always layering pounds of extra brown sugar and cinnamon and rolling them thin. If he was in the Livermore office, he often baked cupcakes with homemade frosting, and his famous peanut butter cookies. He enjoyed playing golf with Jim and Ted annually and actually won the last round, watching old black and white movies and TV shows such as Gilligan’s Island, The Monkeys, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Get Smart, and the Brady Bunch. He was definitely born in the wrong era! We watched Hallmark Christmas movies in June, and, of course, the Bachelor. John had a collection of over 20,000 songs on his IPod ranging from “semi”-popular tunes to 60s folk to country.

John is survived by his wife, Lisa, of Huntington Beach, CA; three stepchildren, Laura Kirchner of Los Angeles, Krist Biakanja IV of Seattle, WA, and Kevin Biakanja of Huntington Beach; two children by choice Brandon Nord of Aliso Viejo and Noelle Dunn of Sacramento; sister, Peggy (Ray) Tomasso of San Jose, and brother, Stephen (Cheryl) Popper of Thurman, Ohio as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is predeceased in death by his parents, John and Beverly Popper; wife, Sue Popper; and stepson, Bryce Sanchez.

If you were fortunate enough to know John, you knew you had a friend for life. In fact, he boasted that he met his two best friends in middle school. John had a quick wit, was lightening-fast at mental mathematics, loved analytical detail – tracking his bike miles, The Bachelor statistics, budgets, retirement fund, as well as his (and Lisa’s) automobile mpg. He deeply cared about the people in his life. If you needed his help, he never wavered to assist in any way he could. John loved driving his Mercedes with the top down, an old song on the radio, and headed towards Lake Tahoe for a gambling trip. That was his idea of heaven! His fun-loving personality, quirky sense of humor, and overall presence will be sorely missed.

Services will be held on Saturday, February 18, at 11 am at Sea Cliff Country Club, 6501 Palm Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92648. Lunch will follow the memorial program. John requested attendees at the service wear bright-colored clothing.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to be made to the following organizations that John supported:

AIDS/LifeCycle 2017: Mr. Tom D. Frady – AIDS/LifeCycle
(please note in the comments section that you are donating in memory of John Popper)

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Condolences and stories may be left on John Popper’s online guest book at

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20 responses to John Popper

  1. I first met John in 2004, our common ground at that time was Excel. I can still remember the excitement on his face when I mentioned I could do a pivot table. He was a caricaturist’s dream. With his loss you come to realize how much you wanted to know him longer, the 1979 photo seals the deal, wish I had met him sooner too! I can remember the Elvis sideburns, handlebar mustache, and long wavy hair look all to well. We know his appreciation for dessert, games, biking,television, travel, and his love for Lisa. I think I want to share my memories of burritos. John thought nothing of getting on his bike on a Saturday morning (while he lived in San Jose) and riding 20 miles each way to Super Taqueria for lunch. Who does that? He was famous for his love of the Foghead at Una Mas….no sour cream please! I would be remiss if I didn’t make mention of anything from Chipotle as one of his standards. I think (thanks to Lyle’s introduction to) his favorite had become the wet chile verde burrito first consumed at El Cerito Taqueria near the Livermore office and then on occasion at a little place a few minutes away from the office in Commerce as well. I passed by Chilis today, one of the spots we had would have lunch at when our schedules permitted and smiled as I thought of him, although still deeply saddened by his passing and balling as I write, I hope he knew how much he meant to me. I imagine John now standing next to St Peter all decked out in Tommy Bahama with his laptop open explaining that we’ve got to track these things Pete! Rest easy my friend…

  2. Patricia says:

    John – It’s difficult to put into works all that you’ve mean to the world and how much you are going to be missed. It hurts to think that you won’t come walking in the door again with your big ole’ smile so we can talk about kids and family and challenges and triumphs and so much more. Your candor about all things that made no sense, your open laugh that made everyone around you start to laugh, your truly astounding intellect – they are all things I took for granted – I wish I’d held onto them longer and appreciated them more. I can honestly say, that I would never have come to appreciate or even know to watch, The Great Train Robbery or Killer Clowns from Outer Space – had you not filled us in on the hidden attributes of those movies.

    You’ve left a hole in the world – a big gaping hole that I don’t think will ever be filled. Know that you were loved and will be truly missed. I thank God to have known you – to have had the opportunity to talk and laugh with you about all things from serious family issues to how to improve upon your already flawless spreadsheets. Lord knows – no-one will ever be able to create a spreadsheet as amazing as you.

    Lisa – You and your family are in our constant thoughts and prayers. We thank John for bringing you into our lives.

    John – We love you – always. Rest Well


  3. John is my cousin Johnny, because his dad was Uncle John. I was closer to his mom and dad when I lived in Silicon Valley, and I didn’t see him often. I didn’t know he found and married Lisa and am glad to hear that he found so much happiness with his new family.

    John was always sunny and positive, loved the corniest of jokes, was a friend you could count on for help if you needed it. I am sad that his personal sunshine is gone, but the world is brighter for him being in it.

    With sympathy,
    Rita (Patterson) Schlosser (John’s older cousin)

  4. Lit a candle in memory of John Popper

  5. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I think about you each and every second of each and every day. Oh, how I miss you…

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