In Memoriam – John R. Sedlander (Feb 27, 1922 – Oct 3, 2015)

John Sedlander and boys(John Sedlander at MASHOUT 2013 with son Jeff
and grandsons Erik & Patrick)

The officers and members of BURP were saddened to learn of the passing of long time BURP member John Sedlander in October 2015. John was a good friend to all who knew him, an excellent brewer, and a teller of tales like no other. He will be greatly missed.

John was born on Feb 27, 1922 in Cromwell, MN to a family of strong Swedish and Norwegian stock, and this Scandinavian heritage formed a large part of his personality and work ethic over the course of his lifetime. Like many of his heritage, he looked to the sea for his vocation, joining the Merchant Marine during WWII, where he sailed as an engineer on liberty ships, transporting soldiers and supplies to and from the Pacific theater. After the war, John returned to Minnesota and sailed with Zenith Dredge, a Duluth-based company which built ships for the war effort and then participated in the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959. He finished his career as a safety engineer for the Travelers Insurance Co. In retirement, John lived in the Catonsville area of Baltimore with his beloved wife Marge and his four children (two sons and two daughters). John and Marge enjoyed a long marriage of 61 years before her passing in 2012. In his later years, John served as a volunteer interpreter on the restored liberty ship John W. Brown, one of only two fully operational liberty ships remaining from the war years. The ship is moored in Baltimore’s inner harbor as a living history museum and still operates occasional cruises which are open to the public.

John was one of BURP’s earliest members, joining the club soon after it was founded in 1981. He was an avid and prolific homebrewer and was a fixture at BURP events for many years. He was also a longtime camper and particularly enjoyed participating in MASHOUT, the regional campout started by BURP in 1988. John never missed a MASHOUT, even into his later years. He was best known for bringing “lumberjack candles”, standing logs with slits cut into the tops filled with paraffin. These burned brightly and were very popular at the nightly campfires. John last attended the event in 2013 at age 91, along with his son Jeff and grandsons Erik and Patrick. There, he was presented with a certificate honoring him as MASHOUT’s oldest participant.

Those of us who knew and loved John will sorely miss his wonderful sea stories told over a homebrew or a bottle of beer from New Glaris Brewing, his favorite commercial brewery (John was a big fan of New Glaris’ “Uff-da”, a wonderful bock beer whose name comes from the Norwegian expression for surprise or astonishment). His memory will be cherished by those of us who were privileged to know him. We’ll be toasting him at this year’s MASHOUT with a hearty Uff-da!