School 09

John Stefan Trach

June 1, 1954 ~ December 9, 2023 (age 69) 69 Years Old

John Trach Obituary

John Stefan Trach, 69, of Atlanta and Big Canoe, GA passed away on Saturday, December 9, 2023 in Jasper, GA.

John was the cherished father of Juliana Elizabeth Trach of New Haven, CT and beloved husband of Lizanne DeStefano.
He is survived by his sister, Luba (Bogdan) Vujcic, brother, Stefan (Kathie) Trach, and sister-in-law, Cathleen Trach. He was the fun-loving uncle to Michele (Jamie) Glood, Suzanne Trach, Walter Jr. (Melissa) Trach, Nicole Trach (Sonny Mouneu), Nikola Vujcic, Natasha Vujcic (Anshul Sud), Larisa Trach, Sara Trach (Tyler Fick), Douglas Trach, Monique Bogacki, Marlese Bogacki-Schaefer (Spencer Wilkes), and twelve grand nieces and nephews.

He is preceded death by his parents and his older brother, Walter Trach (Cathleen Trach).

John was born on June 1, 1954 in Charleroi, PA, son of Stefan and Helen Ciak Trach. He grew up in Monessen, PA, where he was a member of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church and attended Belle Vernon schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Penn State University in 1976. He then moved to Williamsport, PA where he worked at Hope Enterprises promoting independent living for people with disabilities. It was there he met his future wife, Lizanne DeStefano. They married in Williamsport in 1988. John earned a master’s degree in Special Education at University of Georgia in 1981 and taught in Clarke County schools where he was named Teacher of the Year there in 1984. John loved Athens, especially its running, hiking and outstanding music culture. He also spent many summers in the Pocono Mountains working at Camp Akiba. In 1986, he relocated to Champaign, IL to study at the University of Illinois, earning a PhD in Special Education in 1990 and joining the faculty in 1992. John’s career was devoted to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. He was very proud of the many students he  mentored who went on to take leadership positions in government, higher education, and community service throughout the world. 

In 1996, John’s daughter Juliana was born. He was very proud her accomplishments and loved bike riding, traveling and attending concerts and sporting events with her. In 2018, he and Juliana  travelled together to meet their extended family in Ukraine and visit his family homestead.

John retired from the University of Illinois in 2012. In his retirement, he was an active Master Gardener and enjoyed travelling, entertaining, and researching his family history. John and Lizanne returned to Georgia in 2015 and appreciated the city life of Atlanta and the beautiful mountains of Big Canoe.

John’s knowledge of music was vast and varied. He loved attending live concerts and music festivals, amassing a collection of thousands of recordings. He was a devotee of Ukrainian history and arts and took pride in reconnecting with his family there after many decades. He was an authority on beers and actively supported local breweries. Every event was made better with his curation of music, beverages, and carefully laid fires.

He was loved and respected by so many people and will be greatly missed. A memorial service is planned for June 1, 2024 in Monessen, Pennsylvania.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Rails to Trails Conservancy or the charity of your choice.

Scott Huskins Funeral & Cremation Services is in charge of the arrangements. 678.771.5566 |

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