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In Memoriam: John C. Sliva

Retired Odyssey Systems electrical engineer and 35 year resident will be waked on Tuesday

John C. Sliva, age 71, a resident of Tewksbury for over 35 years, formerly of Pittsfield and Danvers, passed away on Sunday, July 30, 2023 at Lowell General Hospital after a recent diagnosis with an advanced form of cancer.

John was the beloved husband of Karen A. (LaChapelle) Sliva, with whom he would have celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary on August 17, 2023. He also leaves his daughter Brooke J. Sliva, whom he was endlessly proud of, her loving fiancé Andrew J. McGuinness, and a special cat companion, Oscar. John leaves cousins in Western MA as well as many cherished friends from over the years, including countless connections via the Ham Radio community where he will be duly missed on the airwaves. John will always be remembered for his quick wit and dry, off-beat sense of humor and his love of animals.

Born in Pittsfield on May 8, 1952, he was the son of the late Charles E. Sliva and the late Lucy A. (Jacobs) Sliva. John was raised in Pittsfield, and graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1970. He attended Northeastern University, where he received his B.S.E.E. degree in 1975.

During his formative years, he was a member of the Boy Scouts in Pittsfield and earned the distinction of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement awarded by the Boy Scouts of America. One could always find John outside exploring the woods or experimenting with science kits in the basement until the amateur radio bug bit him. Licensed since he was 15, John soon mastered Morse code, earning him an ‘Extra Class license’ to operate.

John was employed as an electrical engineer by the AVCO and Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington and later on as Lead Systems Engineer for Odyssey Systems in Bedford at Hanscom Airforce Base. He truly enjoyed both his job and his colleagues and was passionate about his work, proudly stating “peace is my profession” until he retired in May of 2022 at the age of 70.

A member of the A.R.R.L. (American Radio Relay League), John had one of the original call signs, which he never altered, and was widely known as WA1GOS on the radio waves. ’73, O.M.

In his free time John enjoyed hiking and urban exploration (anything with a haunted history), photography, wildlife, and all things nature.

Family and friends will be received on Tuesday, August 15th, from 4-8 p.m. at the Farmer & Dee Funeral Home, 16 Lee Street, Tewksbury. A Memorial Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, August 16th at 11:30 a.m. at St. William’s Church, 1351 Main Street, Route 38, Tewksbury.

Those planning to attend are asked to meet at the church. Interment of his ashes will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Pittsfield at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Pat Brody Shelter for Cats, P.O. Box 142, Lunenburg, MA 01462 or online at

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