John D. Sybalsky 1953-2009
Sybalsky loved square dancing. He
loved dancing, calling, analyzing calls, being involved with fine tuning the
definitions and their proper usage, and he loved to use non-traditional music
and to call things "left." If
you ever danced to John you would have heard things like "the other
left....trust me" "Don't
make me come out there and defenestrate you with a rusty spoon"
"Nothin’ like teamwork (pause) and that was NOTHING like
teamwork" and so many more comments. In
addition to the somewhat under the breath comments, he might call you by name
and say "Tony, turn around"...."Bill, you're now a
girl"..."Cindy, trade places with Todd and you'll be fine." It
didn't matter where you were on the floor, John would try to fix your square’s
While attending MIT, John learned to square dance. By 1973 he was calling and teaching others. John advanced to calling C4, the highest level in square dancing. John met his wife Jill through square dancing as she too is a caller. Together they taught dancers and traveled, calling all over the world. John also called locally for 3 clubs- Stanford Quads, Interlocked Squares and Top Cats. John joined CALLERLAB in 1979 and he served on a variety of committees over the years: Formations, Definitions, Plus, Advanced, Challenge, Research and Development, and with his wife Jill started the Website committee with him as the chair and her as vice chair. Their efforts brought CALLERLAB to the Internet. John also served as Parliamentarian for CALLERLAB since 1989. John was elected to CALLERLAB's board of governors in 1988 and had served continually since then, (with one exception of taking one year off for health reasons). Since joining CALLERLAB John never missed a convention in 30 years and was often a presenter on a variety of subjects related to calling, dancing, and dancers.
For many years John was a caller for the National Advanced and Challenge Convention, for the Golden State Round Up in CA, one of the top 10 callers for the Jubilee, in CA, for Tech Squares weekends at Lake Shore Farm in NH (1995-2002), and he called Challenge weekends at Cherry Ridge, PA for 20 years, and was a staff caller for the American Advanced and Challenge Convention, in OH. John also called at the National Square Dance Convention and the New England Square Dance Convention, as well as other weekends, festivals and conventions around the US and overseas.
John Sybalsky teamed up with Bill Davis and created The Big Five Dictionaries (Basic through C2) and they also put together the definitions for the advanced and challenge dance programs for CALLERLAB. John and his wife Jill published a caller's note service "Top to bottom" and he assisted her for many years with her annual callers’ school in Santa Clara County, CA. John and Jill were going to record a square dance record together but sadly they didn’t get to a studio to get the tracks recorded.
Not all of John's time and talents were devoted to square dancing. John was born and raised in NY and attended MIT receiving a BS in Computer Science & Engineering. Technical papers John wrote: 1966- A General Purpose Translation Demonstrator, in Proceedings, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) 66; 1980- An APL Compiler for the Production Environment, in Proceedings, APL 80. By 1982 John relocated to Oakland, CA. In the 1980s John founded Venue a software development company dealing mainly in LISP. Since 1997 John and his wife Jill developed other software ideas for Venue. John was also a gun enthusiast. In 1990, the directors of the International Shooter Development Fund elected John as a member of the United States Shooting Team Inner Circle. John also loved to cook. John, Jill and the family attended cooking classes at the California Culinary School in SF and Mon Cheri Cooking School in Sunnyvale.
His wife Jill, who is a genealogist, did John's family history and proved John's connection to many famous relatives, as well as veterans of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Due to Jill's efforts John joined The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) via his 4th great grandfather Thomas Wason.
On memorial day May 25, 2009 while visiting with his mother in NY, John suddenly passed away. The cause of death was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with dilated cardiomyopathy. John is survived by his wife Jill of Sunnyvale, CA, his step-son Wayne Marci of Sunnyvale, CA, his mother Helen Sybalsky of NY, his brother Bill Sybalsky of CT, and his niece Julia Norris of CT. He was predeceased in Jan. 1997 by his father John.
Jill requests that donations be made to the John Sybalsky Memorial Fund. The CALLERLAB Foundation, 200 SW 30th Street, Suite 104, Topeka, KS 66611. 785-783-3665. Please note on your check that your donation is for the John Sybalsky Memorial Fund.
John and Jill's Family History John and Jill's Other Businesses John and Jill's Calling Schedule
© 2009 Jill Sybalsky. All Rights Reserved.