John Jacob Schurdak, 92, of Bethlehem, formerly of Bedford, NY, died April 22 in his home at Kirkland Village. He was the husband of Eleanora Wrinn Schurdak. Born in Alabama, John graduated high school in Ohio, before attending Yale University on a full scholarship. He received his B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa, Hopper College) in 1950, and his PhD in 1958, halting his schooling briefly to serve in WWII. While at Yale, he wrote about the role that technology would play in education, stating that while technology would render certain functions almost obsolete, the computer would never replace the connection between two individuals. Throughout the next six decades, John would credit Yale for an opportunity to inhale the brilliance of vibrant learning, creative, expansive thinking, and smart humor. A pioneer in the world of technology, he worked at IBM and then transferred to Fairfield University where he spent 32 years as Director of Educational Development and Research. He ushered Fairfield University into the technology age, purchasing the university's first computer, and designing an infrastructure for a university-wide computing system. He continued to build for a world to come, sharing with his children the potential benefits when something like a barcode would replace a price tag or sending a birthday card from a computer that could think like a human. Although designing for that future, he taught in the present, working with teachers on the front end of rethinking curriculum enhanced by the use of technology. A lover of learning, John read books, listened to music, watched documentaries, and was an avid reader of The New York Times. He relished trips to museums, where he was known for both the extensive time he would take to view an exhibit in its entirety, as well as his desire to review the exhibit a second time. He loved telling and hearing a good tale, and his big laugh was the gift shared with those in his company. Religion was a constant throughout his life; he served as eucharistic minister and lector and was the head of religious education at St. Patrick's Church in Bedford, NY. He loved to travel the world to see his children and to probe their professional aspirations and forward-thinking thoughts, and he cared deeply about his wife of 62 years.
SURVIVORS: He leaves his children Catherine E. Schurdak, John W. Schurdak, Ellen C. Schurdak and her husband Domenic P. Sbrocchi, Tamara Schurdak and her partner Anne M. Gunning, and two grandchildren, Kai and Julian Schurdak. He was the brother of Marianne Fletcher (predeceased), Edward Schurdak, and Robert Schurdak.
SERVICES: Services will be private at the convenience of the family. Cantelmi Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018 has been entrusted with arrangements.
CONTRIBUTIONS: In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Yale College Annual Fund (go to www.yale.edu/giveyc; please include details in the Tribute section of the form) or the Carole King-Helbling Kirkland Music Fund (make checks payable to Kirkland Village, 1 Kirkland Village Cir., Bethlehem, PA 18017, designated for the Carole King-Helbling Music Fund).