John ""Iver"" Laffan
John Oliver “Iver” Laffan
John Oliver “Iver” Laffan, 80, passed away on Friday, May 18, 2018 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Stroudsburg, PA. Born in Quin, County Clare, Ireland on July 9, 1937, he was the son of Patrick and Margaret “Greta” Laffan, nee Coghlan. John attended Saint Flannan’s preparatory boarding school in Ennis, County Clare, and All Hallows Missionary College in Dublin where he studied for the priesthood for a time. “Iver” changed his path and immigrated to the United States in 1956 where he worked to put himself through school at the Academy of Aeronautics at LaGuardia, studying aircraft maintenance, earning his Airframe and Powerplant License. Soon after, at an Irish dance in NYC, he met the woman who would become the love of his life, Winnie McKnight, and started at Northwest Airlines as an Aircraft Mechanic at JFK.
In 1961, John was drafted into the US Army, serving in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, during the Berlin Crisis, in charge of a fleet of helicopters that patrolled the border. Upon his discharge, he returned home to marry his dream girl, Winnie, in 1964. He became a Maintenance Crew Chief at Northwest Airlines at JFK and later moved to Newark Airport in NJ in 1973. After 43 years of dedicated service, John retired in August, 2001. He was honored by the company with an appreciation award: “Your experience and knowledge will be sorely missed by all of us here at Northwest Airlines. Magically, your Irish brogue and flight line moxie clarified the flight crew’s dilemmas and saved many flights.”
His talents expanded beyond the repair of 777 aircraft to the single-handed renovation of their home in Mountainside, restoration of antique cars and furniture. He took great pride in his craftsmanship and was meticulous in all of his many endeavors, a consummate engineer. He was an avid gardener, landscape architect and a passionate mason. John possessed the unique combination of vision, knowhow and grit to build amazing one-of-a-kind creations.
John resided in Mountainside, NJ with his family for 34 years and moved to Stroudsburg, PA in 2005 to enjoy retirement. He enjoyed golfing at the Glen Brook Golf Club in Stroudsburg, PA, winters in southwest Florida and summers with his family on Long Beach Island, NJ.
In addition to his beloved wife, Winifred “Winnie” McKnight Laffan; he is survived by his four children, Carolyn Laffan Miller and her husband, John, Colleen Laffan, Jeanette Laffan Aiello and her husband, Scott, and Patrick Laffan and his wife, Susan. He will also be greatly missed by his five grandchildren, Liam Laffan, Quinn Laffan, Conor Aiello, Claire Laffan and Jillian Aiello; and by his siblings, Mary Fitzpatrick, Joseph Noel Laffan, Margaret Nolan, Catherine Lenihan and Michael Laffan; as well by many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his beloved brothers Patrick Laffan and Brian Laffan.
Visitation will be at Dooley Colonial Funeral Home, 556 Westfield Ave., Westfield, NJ on Tuesday, May 22, 4-8PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 23 at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, 300 Central Ave., Mountainside, NJ at 10AM. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. Donations in his memory may be made to Honor Flight Network at honorflight.org.