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John Tartan

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John Tartan Obituary
JOHN TARTAN John M. "Buck" Tartan was born Nov. 6, 1924, in Ruth, Nev., and passed away Sept. 25, 2009, after a lengthy illness. John passed away at home with his family at his bedside. He is survived by his devoted wife, of 45 years, Judy Breeding Tartan; and three children, sons, Charles Tartan and wife, Janice, and John Tartan Jr., all of Las Vegas; daughter, Karen Schuth and husband, Dave, of Spokane, Wash.; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Louise; father, John; and three sisters, Rose, Mary and Mildred. John will also be remembered by countless friends with whom he shared innumerable happy moments, his wide smile and giving manner, and of course, the most unmistakable hearty laugh most have ever heard. His impact on all who knew him was indelible and remarkable, whether it was student, family or friend. John was raised in McGill and moved to Las Vegas in 1953. He attended McGill Grade School, and graduated from White Pine High School in 1943. John was an outstanding athlete and lettered all four years of his high school education in basketball and football. White Pine High did not have an organized baseball team and John had a deep desire to play baseball, so he joined the American Legion baseball team. He later returned after college and coached an American Legion team that won their state championship. Upon graduation from High school, John enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a second lieutenant in World War II as a pilot. He flew Stearman airplanes and was recalled during the Korean War, serving an additional year and a half for his country. After the war, John earned a spot on the Ogden Reds baseball team, a farm team for the Cincinnati Reds. The experience he gained from playing with the Ogden Reds helped him secure a baseball scholarship to Utah State University. After receiving his B.S. degree, John accepted a teaching position at Basic High School. He was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach for the Basic Wolves. John, his team members and their fathers, built the first baseball field at Basic with donated supplies. Until then, they had a rock field that they had to rake before every practice and game. John started the saying on the scoreboard, "Home of the Basic Wolves" and he was the first coach to dress in team uniform for every game. John led his Basic baseball players to the first State of Nevada baseball championship and also won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) tournament that first year. They went on to win the next year's state championship and in 1955, John was named "Helms Athletic Coach of the Year." In 1957, John secured his masters degree in administration at Arizona State College. He then returned to Las Vegas to teach at newly opened Rancho High School as head baseball coach and assistant football coach for the Rancho Rams. He led the Rams baseball team to three state championships, 1958-1960. He loved his players as a father would love a son, and they in turn loved him back. John was also a member of the Southern Nevada Officials Association for 25 years, officiating football for high school, college and semi-pro games, and basketball in high school and college. He was inducted into the Southern Nevada Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 2008. John next served as head of counselors and then assistant principal at Rancho High. He transferred to Valley High School in 1976, and in 1978, requested a transfer to Las Vegas High. John retired from the School District in 1980. John played and sang music for most of his life, well into his later years. Judy and John took road trips regularly to McGill, where he would sing with his friends into the wee hours. In 2005, John was honored by having John M. Tartan Elementary School named for him. The Tartan Tigers were a great source of pride to him and Judy. He loved going out to the school to see the children, and they in turn greeted him with hugs and kisses. The school was a perfect acknowledgment and legacy of a man who devoted his life to education and would start a program if one was needed, and who then used his unique talents to see it through to success. In lieu of flowers, please help keep John's memory alive by donating to John M. Tartan Elementary, 3030 E. Tropical Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89081. Viewing will be 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2, both at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave.

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