John Edgar Sage, born in Bonners Ferry May 25, 1951, died December 8, 2023, surrounded by the warmth of his family, peacefully returning to his Lord and Creator, concluding a courageous four-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, January 12, at St. Aloysius Church on the Gonzaga campus, Spokane, followed by a celebration of life at nearby O’Malley Hall.
Later that afternoon, John will be interred in the Rathdrum Cemetery in Idaho among several generations of his forefathers.
The beloved middle child of Jack Edgar and Julia Sage, John was the epitome of sacrifice, resilience, integrity and profound love. His strength and determination in these final months shone brightly, mirroring a lifetime dedicated to the well-being of his cherished wife, Cathy Sage. Their 53-year marriage, a testament to enduring love, was celebrated last on August 15, 2023.
John’s life was a tapestry woven with admiration for his elder sister Julie, an accomplished scholar, and guidance and support for his younger brother Jim. Raised in the humble surroundings of Naples, John blossomed into a man of keen intellect and practical wisdom.
An avid Stephen King reader, his youth echoed the adventurous spirit of “Stand by Me,” a reflection of the rugged, sincere ethos of his rural upbringing.
John’s formative years at Bonners Ferry High School were a prelude to his remarkable intellectual journey. His parents marveled at his self-discipline and focus, virtues that defined him throughout his life. It was here that John’s heart found its compass in Cathy Howe, his high school sweetheart.
Their love, undeterred by the miles that separated them during college, flourished into a beautiful marriage following John’s first year at the University of Idaho. The joyous union brought forth two sons, Joseph in 1970, and Andrew in 1976.
During this time, John distinguished himself nationally, earning the Sells Silver Medal for his stellar performance on the Uniform CPA examination, a feat that granted him an audience with President Nixon.
John’s professional life, post-graduation, was nothing short of illustrious. His journey began at a prominent accounting firm in Portland, Oregon, and saw him rise to corporate controller at Idaho Forest Industries in Coeur d’Alene. It was at IFI that lifelong friendships were formed with Dennis and Laura Jeffrey and Jim and Linda Scharnhorst.
His relentless pursuit of excellence led him to the Stanford School of Business and then to Gonzaga University, where he earned a Master of Taxation degree. The 1980s marked a pivotal era where John, harnessing the nascent power of computer technology, transformed the tax industry through his private practice. The Sage family later planted roots in Spokane, where John served as the Chief Financial Officer for Clack and Co. and, in 1992, joined the ranks of Pyrotek, Inc. This period of growth also welcomed his first two grandchildren, Katelyn (Laboy) Sage and John Edgar Sage II, and later, with Joe’s marriage to Lori (Flett) Sage, his grandson Cole Finney, who joined in many cherished family adventures.
The last 25 years of John’s journey were rich with family milestones and professional accolades. The birth of Andrew and Matthew, sons of Andy, added boundless joy to his life. As “Papa,” John reveled in shared moments of sports and laughter with his grandsons, fostering a deep bond over games, adventures, and the victories of the San Francisco Giants, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Seattle Supersonics.
His pride swelled not only for Katelyn’s fast-pitch softball triumphs but also in the academic and athletic successes of his sons and grandsons. The achievements of his namesake, Johnny Sage, filled him with awe, and he held a special place in his heart for Andy (Junior) and Matthew, guiding them through their formative years with wisdom and love.
John’s passion for sports beautifully intersected with his role as a coach, a balance of career ambition and family devotion. His ascent to Senior Vice President allowed John and Cathy to traverse the globe, immersing themselves in diverse cultures and experiences. Work, for John, was not merely a career; it was a vessel for his profound joy and fulfillment.
The concluding years of John’s life, though marked by health challenges, were also filled with blessings. The arrival of Benjamin Daniel Sage and Mercy, courtesy of Andy and Kim, expanded the family’s joy. Katelyn and Ty Laboy’s children, Dawson, Lucy, and Tate — the latter met by John just before his passing — enriched his role as a great-grandfather.
In his battle against Parkinson’s disease, John’s spirit never wavered. He strode through life with vigor, managing his estate and cherishing each day until a stroke led to a final, brave fight. With the steadfast support of Ann Farrar, he ensured everything was in place for his beloved Cathy. A steadfast believer in Jesus Christ, John’s faith remained unshaken to the very end, a beacon of hope and strength for all who knew him.
John Edgar Sage’s legacy is a mosaic of love, dedication, and faith, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those he touched. His journey, a testament to a life well-lived, continues.