In Memoriam John Julius Lewallen

an Ocean Protection Coalition Founder

“John Julius Lewallen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and Mendocino County community member, died Nov. 1, 2019, in his daughter Rebecca Kagin's Petaluma garden cottage in the warm care of his wife, Barbara Stephens-Lewallen. Born Nov. 14, 1942, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Grace and Walter Lewallen, John grew up in Brisbane, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, graduating from Juneau High in 1960. Young John loved hunting, fishing and exploring the wilderness.

John received a full-ride scholarship to Whitman College, graduating in 1964 with honors and a Bachelor's in Political Science. John spent a year in India on a Fulbright Fellowship, before attending Stanford Law - again with a merit-based scholarship. John withdrew from Stanford in 1967, heading to Vietnam as a volunteer with the International Voluntary Service, providing humanitarian aid to displaced indigenous peoples. John returned in 1969, a peace activist, an environmentalist and a hippie, writing a war memoir, "Land of Frozen Laughter," published 2016.

In 1970, John married Eleanor Sara Leventhal, a teaching student, and the pair settled in the East Bay after a honeymoon, circumnavigating globe. In 1972, John's book, "Ecology of Devastation: Indochina" exposed the impact of Agent Orange on Vietnam, and John organized a Convention on Ecocidal War in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1974, daughter, Rebecca, was born, around the time John co-edited "The Grass Roots Primer" and worked as features editor of Clear Creek magazine. In 1978, the family relocated to Northspur, where John and Eleanor published their periodical, "The North Country Star." John and Eleanor were well-known activists in the homebirth, anti-war, anti-nuclear, ocean protection, sustainable forestry and Green Party movements.

In 1980, son, Shanti, was born at home and the Lewallens established the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, harvesting, drying and marketing wild edible seaweed. In 1985, son, Loren, was born. The family relocated to Comptche in 1991. In 1994, John ran as a Green Party candidate for California governor. In 1996, John and Eleanor published the "Sea Vegetable Gourmet Cookbook and Wildcrafter's Guide." In 2001, Eleanor, devoted wife, mother and community member, passed away after a five-year battle with cancer.

In 2001, John published "High Altitude Nuclear War," opposing nuclear brinksmanship in space. In 2005, John married Barbara Stephens. Barbara collaborated with John in seaweed, activism and all aspects of life. Their activism included advocating for fishing and seaweed wildcrafting rights, and nuclear de-escalation. In 2012, John ran for Congress, campaigning for peace conversion of military assets, among other progressive goals. In April 2019, John and Barbara hosted a seminar at the UN on nuclear risk reduction.

John delighted in writing, the wilds, living off the land, nonviolent resistance, transcendence, literature, shamanism, family and Barbara. John unrelentingly lived by his convictions, an independent spirit who believed in the power of human choice to create one's own happiness and destiny. His candid wit, irresistible charm and deep wisdom will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

John is survived by his wife, Barbara; children and children-in-law, Rebecca and Jeremiah, Shanti and Leah, and Loren and Katherine; grandchildren, Analise, Walter, Natalia, Eleanor, Opal and Ezra; stepson, Jonathan; brother and sister-in-law, Roy and Beth, and family; and his friends and family around the globe.”
-Mendocino Beacon Obituaries


©1980-2019 Ocean Protection Coalition
Last site update: 11 December 2019