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Celebrating the life of

John G. Posa

April 11, 1953 - February 25, 2024

John G. Posa

John G. Posa, 70, successful patent attorney, engineer, and artist, passed away in Savannah, Georgia with his wife at his side.

Ever the consummate professional, once he learned that he had lymphoma, John sat down to write his own obituary. But he did not get around to finishing it.

Out of respect for John, we share his words with you as written: 

“Died due to an illness. He leaves behind countless wonderful friends and family, including his wife Oksana, the sweetest person on earth, and his former wife Sally, who sacrificed so much to raise their beautiful son, Ben.

John was born in Detroit, and graduated from Cass Tech High School, an experience that shaped his life. He was enrolled in the Electronics curriculum at Cass, but his passions, and his friends, were in the art department. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he met Allen Krass, a patent attorney for a small company where he worked part time. A father figure, a friend, and a mentor, Allen Krass would become the most influential person in John’s professional life. After receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering, he worked briefly in the field, but his heart wasn’t in it. On a whim, he answered an ad in Electronics, a trade magazine, looking for “engineers who wanted to be editors.” He soon found himself in New York City, reporting on the global semiconductor industry. One day, while reading Electronics, Allen spotted John’s byline and called him up, encouraging him to become a patent attorney. But instead, with signs that printed publications were on the decline, John joined a couple colleagues at Lattice Semiconductor Corp., a start-up in Portland, OR, as Vice President of Marketing. A couple years later Lattice went through a financial restructuring, and he finally saw the opportunity to attend art school. He received a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the Portland Museum Art School, where he studied painting and printmaking under Gordon Gilkey, another major influence in his life. Out of work, he took a job at Mentor Graphics in corporate communications. All the while, Allen Krass kept in touch, urging him to go to law school. He finally gave in, and earned his Juris Doctor at Lewis and Clark Northwestern College of Law in Portland. He moved back to Ann Arbor, and joined Allen’s firm, Krass & Young. One afternoon he ordered a cappuccino at a nearby coffee bar from a new barista. Tall and beautiful, she took his order with a foreign accent, then disappeared. It would be months later before they would meet again on the street. They became friends, then inseparable.

John loved art and invention.”

John knew that his “countless wonderful friends” would come through to complete the portrait of a man they loved so much.

1990. On a plane back to Portland after striking out on job interviews in the Bay Area, Mr. Posa overheard a couple of gentlemen talking about the need for a marketing communications manager for their growing startup. Having burned through all his resumes in San Francisco, he asked the stewardess for a piece of paper. She returned with a napkin and he quickly crafted some semblance of a resume and made his way through coach to introduce himself as “the man for the job.” They chatted briefly until one of the men asked him when he could start. They did not seem overly committed when Mr. Posa said ASAP! Two weeks passed without a word, so a call to the VP of Marketing seemed in order. As he began inquiring about the job, the VP queried, “we thought you were going to start last week.” He worked for Mentor Graphics long enough for it to be his last high-tech job before passing the Patent Bar exam in Portland and later the Michigan State Bar, thus reinventing himself once more, Patent Attorney.

1993. A love story. The tall and beautiful barista with a foreign accent did not remember their first meeting, but John must have been smitten. His sharp eye for beauty, his curiosity, passion, sense of humor – and not the least, his soft voice and Hungarian moustache -- were irresistible to the girl. Everyone fortunate enough to keep company with John and Oksana would agree that they were in the presence of something truly rare: a deep, romantic love that only grew stronger in the passing years.

2006. John and Oksana, now married, loved their winters down in Savannah, Georgia, and summers on Lake Michigan, accompanied by their rumbunctious dog Bagel. They traveled to Japan and to Eastern Europe and, based on Oksana’s heritage, John embraced Ukrainian and Russian culture and many friendships oversees. From his early years as a journalist, he cultivated his love for Japan by learning the language and playing the beautiful game of GO daily. 

His friends would also know that John identified first and foremost as an artist. He lived as an artist every woken minute and was an ardent supporter of other artists. He carried a camera with him just about everywhere and recorded his impressions of beauty. He could also be seen in coffee shops with his sketchpad in hand. Those of us on Facebook enjoyed his brutally funny political cartoons, lampooning the likes of Trump and Putin.

John’s own obituary expresses great gratitude for his friends and his mentor, Allen Krass, but it does not really mention how successful John was as a patent attorney. In the course of his career, John helped hundreds of individual and corporate clients secure over one thousand patents. He generously gave pro bono legal advice and improved the ideas of novice inventors without claiming any credit to himself. He was also granted forty-plus patents for his own inventions. John was a brilliant, open-minded engineer, an enthusiastic listener to other people’s ideas, and people who listened to him benefitted greatly.

John also possessed a powerful bullshit detector that kept those of us lucky enough to be called his friends in line. John’s creativity, humor, and storytelling drew people into his magic circle upon first meeting him. A colleague once said of John, “He can be a tough man to manage but an easy one to admire.” John Posa acted out his death scene without sentimentality and to the point. Tough and admirable.

2024. After a courageous, but relatively brief battle with cancer, John died on February 25, 2024. He and his wife were quietly optimistic that he would last much longer. They refrained from telling friends, family, and colleagues for several months after the diagnosis. John’s mind and will were strong, but his body could not withstand the brutal onslaught of cancer and chemotherapy.

As Oksana describes him, “John was a true Renaissance man with the heart of an Angel, the mind of Midas, the hands of Vulcan, and the spirit of Eros.”

John was preceded in death by his parents John A. Posa and Shirley J. Gibson; a brother, Daniel A. Posa; and a son, John Rune Posa. His sister, Christine Bolini survives him.

Central to his heart were his wife, Oksana, his former wife, Sally Evaldson and their son, Benjamin Posa.

John also loved good company! Join us for a celebration of his life on March 10, 2024 at Ukiyo restaurant at 2224 Bull Street, Savannah, GA. A service in Ann Arbor, Michigan is being planned for May 2024.

In John’s memory, the family invites donations to

Ukrainian National Women’s League of America

Arts Southeast – Sulfur Studios

Humane Society for Greater Savannah

Savannah Supports Ukraine (Facebook)





Dear Oksana, so sorry for your loss

- Roman Humesky, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Very sad to hear of my friend John's passing. John wrote articles on my personal chip design successes as editor of Electronics Magazine. His enthusiasm and charm as well as professional skill attracted me to him. When I founded Lattice Semiconductor in Portland, I decided to invite him to join our team as VP Marketing. His personal charms were the key to help start conversations with the CEO's of Synertek , Dick Abraham (Lattice First fab partner) and VLSI Technology (Al Stein,our second fab partner) . Without his contribution, Lattice would not have produced its first product and sales. It would not exist today,let alone close to a Billion dollars in annual sales. John was a great contributor and a great friend. Rest in peace,dear John. My condolences to Sally his then wife who I had the pleasure to know and his entire family Rahul Sud Founder and First CEO of Lattice Semiconductor Corp.

- Rahul Sud, Milan , Italy

Standing by Oksana in this difficult moment, remembering John’s loving and dedicated nature, his wit and hospitality, his art (I will now look differently at the fish that John had made and gave us as a present while still in Michigan), John’s drawing lessons with Anastasia, with her deep appreciation of his stoic patience and humor. When you know of someone’s terminal illness, it’s still hard to prepare for the outcome, part of you resists and doesn’t let go. However, when one’s life has a very short closure, then disbelief in passing takes care of the momentum in which it feels like the gone person actually stays alive. I received the news yesterday, March 2nd, on the day of my grandfather’s passing. It was in the intermission during my visit to the Met opera. As I was shaken by seeing Oksanas FB post, I actually appreciated sitting in the darkness and listening to the music, it helped me shape my thoughts and feelings the way, that accepting of the art as part of human existence, invention and creativity once again fell into its eternal statement: Vita Brevis, Ars Lunga. Truly grateful for all the memories. Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there; I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die. (By C. Harner/M.E. Frye).

- Irena, Dobbs Ferry, NY

It was when I needed a Copyright Lawyer that I met John several years ago. A major France radio station had chosen a snippet composition of mine as a theme for one of their weekly programs w/o my permission. John was determined to assist. He was able to "make me whole" again w/o charging me a dime! Additionally, although John was younger than me, he had always come across as a "warm uncle."


A candle has been lit!

I did not know this man, but must say he sounds like he was a very interesting fellow. Rest well sir! and to the family hold tight all those sweet memories,,,,,,

- CRAIG LONG, garden city, GA

I met John in the late 90s as I was transitioning to a second career as a patent law attorney in my fifties. He taught me how to write patent claims (although he forgot about it later) and even came and gave a presentation in an intellectual property class i had started is the College of Engineering at U of M. It was a fun presentation and I still remember it.

- Maria Comninou, Ann Arbor, MI

Extreme sadness for John´s passing. I met John around 1995 in Ann Arbor. My company needed an I.P. attorney to work on our trademarks. From our first meeting, I knew he was completely authentic and quite exceptional. John was very confident with a casual and friendly approach. I soon learned this was because he could (and did) achieve anything he wanted to in many varied subjects and fields. After some years of working together (on and off) on the trademarks, I got to know John more socially. We would go for drinks after work in Ann Arbor, usually at a brewpub or the Irish Pub. John´s storytelling was epic and always very funny. Full of insights and details and colorful characters. I also learned he had three degrees (Engineering, Fine Arts, Law), had lived in New York City, Tokyo, and Portland, and had completed work as an engineer, VP of marketing, editor, artist, and patent attorney. For John, all this was possible. With a brilliant intellect and capacity for action, he got things done and achieved so much in one lifetime. He once advised me, "Don´t wait till the decks are cleared to start something you really want to do." One of the great joys of knowing John was his offbeat sense of humor. He enjoyed observing absurd situations and circumstances and relating stories about them. We also had a long-standing routine of me asking rather silly questions, deadpan style, with John always ready to play along. Of course, I was no match for his quick wit and clever comebacks, but that wasn´t the point. I asked him once (stupidly) why anyone could possibly need three degrees. John explained how his degrees connected, and reflected his interests and experiences. So regularly, and in recognition of John´s achievement, upon greeting one another, we would sing the first few lines of the song "When Will I See You Again?" by the 1970s band "The Three Degrees." Me the first title line, and John the second - "When will we share precious moments?". Sometimes we sang more - John knew all the words. On other occasions, when asked if being a patent attorney was mostly a matter of filling out the correct forms, John would describe the vast stack of forms he was currently working on and provide details about the complexity of certain ones. "I´m working on some very complicated forms right now!" he would say. Then, as he often did, he would ask me, "Just for the record, what EX-AC-TLY is it that you do again?" Another time, John tried to teach me the basics of the game GO, which he was very good at. During the lesson, John inquired what strategy game I preferred to play. My answer of "dominos" drew wry amusement. This led to me attempting to explain the concept of "advanced and strategic domino play" and even sending John books about it. After some months passed, John texted me a drawing of an unfinished "tic-tac-toe" game with the note, "Need your help badly. Tricky one here, X to move - any ideas?" John also had an incredible memory and could retrieve on-demand, perhaps years old information. I witnessed this once when we were trying to remember the name of the lead singer of a 1980s pop band. John performed what seemed like magic by going slowly through the alphabet and carefully pondering each letter. As if performing some kind of mental gymnastics, after a short time, he impressively recalled the rather obscure fact we were looking for. These are just a few memories and stories about the extraordinary John. Visits to Savannah and Charlevoix over the years to see John and Oksana, along with my wife Karen, were wonderful times for us. His passing leaves us all with deep sorrow. John was a friend, mentor, and a luminary in our lives. His talent, humor, and friendship were unique and irreplaceable. My heartfelt condolences to Oksana, Sally, Ben, and all of John´s family and many friends who, like me, are trying to come to terms with this profound loss. - I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. - Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. (Henry Scott-Holland)

- Martin Cobb, Willis, MI

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel