John Marshall Louton | Passages

John Marshall Louton died peacefully surrounded by his family on January 19, 2023.

John was born on September 4, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Woodstock. He attended Ohio State University and ultimately received his PhD in Chinese Philosophy from the University of Washington. John worked on translating classical Chinese texts and poetry the rest of his life.

John was an avid hiker wherever he was, including the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, Zambia’s bush country, and the parks and mountains of Taiwan and China.

From 1986 to 2006, John served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and was stationed in Zambia, India, Albania, Taiwan, Beijing, and Chengdu China. He made a significant impact during his time abroad, including his involvement in the opening of the American Embassy in Albania and delivering a heartfelt eulogy for Stanley Shapiro in the Great Hall in Beijing. John was passionate about the Fullbright Foreign Student Exchange Program and believed in the importance of cultural understanding for successful diplomacy.

After retirement, John and his wife Betsy settled on Orcas Island, Washington where he served on the Orcas Center Board of Directors and taught a class on Chinese Philosophy at the library. He worked tirelessly moving rocks, digging holes, fixing gates, and weeding endlessly alongside his loving wife Betsy. He advocated tirelessly for campaign finance reform by writing letters to his political representatives. He was at his happiest walking in the woods with his dogs.

Memorial services in honor of John will be held on Orcas Island and Seattle, with the time and details to be announced. Donations can be made in John’s name to the International Myeloma Foundation, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the Orcas Island Chamber Music Foundation.

John will be deeply missed by his wife Betsy, daughters Amy and Samara, daughter-in-law Rosemary Caperton, son-in-law Michael Frank, grandchildren Gavyn, Maya, William, and Elliot, brother Tom Louton, and sister-in-law Barbara Putz.