John Suemper Alin - 1940 - 2019


John Suemper Alin of McMinnville, Oregon, separated from his increasingly uncooperative body June 8, 2019, leaving behind a lifetime of love, laughter, and adventures. Known as Papa to many, Jack grew a combined family with Susie, his wife of 42 years, including five children, a series of good dogs and one or two bad ones, and too many exchange students and NPR-listening farm animals to be counted.
Jack loved teaching math to Linfield College students for many years; he happily retired in order to spend more time outdoors, building furniture and small inventions in his recognizable style, tending to life on the farm, and traveling to loved destinations near and far with Susie, friends and family.
A person might also have known him at points through his life as a cross-country runner, a mountain rescuer, a zealous re-user/recycler, an unofficial community shop teacher, a dedicated bicycle rider, and an accidental championship basketball coach. He loved recounting his adventures as a young man traveling throughout Europe by Vespa, discussing topics from politics to the finer points of chainsaw operation, and sharing stories and debates over delicious food and wine—all with his characteristic wit.
Jack was born in 1940 in LaMoure, North Dakota, and grew up knowing the value of hard work and the rhythm of five meals a day doing farm work. After graduating from Moorhead High School, he studied math at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, received his doctorate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and did a variety of teaching stints at University of Southern California, University of Oregon, University of Utah, as well as a teaching fellowship in Bangalore, India, before ultimately landing the professorship at Linfield College that allowed him to return to his chosen home of Oregon in 1972.
A Midwest boy at heart, Jack was never one to expound on his feelings, but he was always generous with his community with love, help and support when it was needed. As a father, his advice was usually understated, often with a humorous edge, and his support was unwavering. In addition to building the home he lived in since 1981, he contributed to homebuilding with Habitat for Humanity for many years in his retirement.
Jack was preceded in death by his son, Eric Fost, in 1985. Jack is survived by his beloved wife, Susie; children, Jonathan Fost of The Dalles, Oregon, Paul (and Edie) Fost of Pound Ridge, New York, Annika (and Mike) Schilling of McMinnville, Oregon, and Simone Alin (and Gordon Holtgrieve) of Seattle, Washington; eight grandchildren; his brother, Bob Alin of Fargo, North Dakota, and his family; and a deep bench of friends who became extended family after years of adventures, parties and the shared ups and downs of life.
Jack will live on in shared memories and stories of Papa-isms and adventures gone right—and wrong—among all who loved him. There will be a celebration of Jack’s well-lived life at the end of June. To leave condolences, please visit


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