In Memoriam: J. M. Ivler

(Los Alamitos, CA 1/13/2017)  by Dave Emerson.  Once again, a Los Alamitos hero has been suddenly taken from us.

I was shocked and deeply grieved to learn Friday afternoon that J. M. Ivler died of a massive heart attack on Thursday.

J.M. was a courageous, smart, and highly committed advocate for the betterment of our community and our schools.  He  spoke out courageously against corruption and the abuse of power at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

He was a key leader of a small band of local residents who repeatedly thwarted massive overdevelopment and exposed corruption in our corner of West Orange County.  Truly a David who defeated Goliaths that outspent him 100 to 1 with his wisdom, commitment, and the truth.

JM got involved in local politics almost as soon as he moved into Los Alamitos in 1992, joining a fight against Race Track expansion and helping a band of populists wrest control of Los Alamitos’ City Council from a small clique too often put the interests of businesses ahead of residents.  He never quit pushing hard for what he felt was in our community’s best interest.

JM was also co-editor, administrator, webmaster and a regular contributor to and it’s predecessor,    He also co-founded and ran Education4Kids (, committed to using technology to improve education across the nation.

But J. M’s highest commitment was to his family.   He was the committed and loving husband of his wife, Thuy, since 1991, and proud father of their son, Matt, a Junior at Los Al High & their daughter, Brooke, who graduated from Arizona State University last December.

JM is also survived by his mother, Barbara Ivler of Seal Beach.  The two of them used to go together twice a week to the local 24 Hour Fitness to work out.  Ironically, JM was stuck with the heart attack while waiting at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena while his mother had outpatient eye surgery.

JM’s sudden passing leaves a huge void in both his family and in our community.  Hopefully many of us will rise up to fill those voids.   As we have proven again and again over the last ten years, working together, we really can fix our communities.

A Memorial Service is scheduled this coming at 11:00 am this coming Wednesday, January 18th, at Temple Israel, 269 Loma, Long Beach.

Over the next week or two I will be bringing up to the front some of JM’s more provocative or influential articles.  I started with his thoughts on voting this past November, Election Day 2016, typical of his wisdom, wit, and accurate analysis of what’s wrong with our elections. . . as well as a creative solution.

Please take the time to post a positive memory or comment below.    And help us spread the word of JM’s Memorial service using your preferred social media by the links below.

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17 Responses to In Memoriam: J. M. Ivler

  1. Jody Shloss says:

    Truly a very sad day for everyone who knew JM. I just can’t imagine a time without him at a city council meeting.
    He had so much love and passion for his family, friends and his city.
    He was also one of the funniest, nicest, most generous human beings I’ve ever know.
    Gone way to soon and will be greatly missed.
    RIP JM, you were my favorite liberal

  2. Judy Kraemer says:

    I am also truly saddened by the news of JM’s passing. This news spread quickly to the Cypress community which benefited greatly from his oversight and knowledge. JM spoke up in Cypress too in the best interest of keeping Cypress safe for its residents and its neighboring cities. It was a pleasure to meet JM and work with him on city ballot measures. JM made a big difference for many people.and will be missed! RIP JM!
    Judy Kraemer, Cypress

  3. Lisa GianCarlo says:

    JM Ivler was truly a great man. He successfully helped to protect our community and he loved his wonderful wife, daughter, son and mom. With the passing of our beloved JM, our community has lost a great activist, educator and friend. JM has discovered and educated us about government corruption at the local level. JM has fought to make Los Alamitos a better city, and his work has also protected Cypress from over-development. We owe him so much. It is up to us to carry the torch and continue to preserve our wonderful community. If not you and I, then who? We love you JM. I leave you with the words of JM himself – which he posted on New Years Day this year:

    “The sun will come up tomorrow. Just like it did today and yesterday. It’s just another day, for you to do with what you may. You will choose how you greet it, how you meet it, and what you will make of the morrow. It is yours to do with what you want. You will make it good, or bad, based on your actions, your perceptions and your desires for the day is yours to do with what you will. It is a day above ground, a day filled with opportunity, choices, chances to let your dreams fly and time to hold things dear. Each of our days are numbered, and we don’t know when the final one may come, so plan as if you will live forever, and live each as if it is your last. Seize the day, force it to your will, embrace life and remember above all, that you are the breeze from a butterfly’s wing; leave ripples in the waters of life that mark your passing with peace and love.”

  4. Cheryl Nodari says:

    I met JM Ivler through the Bernie Sanders campaign in Orange County, California. We shared articles and political news via Facebook. In addition, we shared information about our health with one another. He told me he had previously suffered a major heart attack, and I shared that I had recently discovered that I have a rare blood disorder called polycythemia vera. (That was discovered while being treated for melanoma skin cancer.) The cover photo, on my Facebook page, is a giant tree. This is the comment he posted on it: “A bunch of kids see that tree, they would climb it, exploring and jumping all over in squeals of joy. An adult sees that tree and nothing. That is not a tree, it is life. Live like a kid. Climb.” This stuck in my head, and I thought it would be nice to share with his friends and family. My condolences to you.

  5. Nina Chapman says:

    Devastated to read this news. J.m. and I became friends a couple years ago and frequently enjoyed political discussions. We were both adamant Bernie supporters. I’m deeply saddened and will miss him and his wit tremendously. My love and healing energy go out to his family.

  6. Meredith J. Kennedy says:

    I am truly saddened by the news of John’s death. I knew John and his family during the four years that we lived on the corner of the same street in Stamford Connecticut. John, a young teenager, at the time, was the same age as my oldest daughter and the two formed a friendship that has lasted all these years. Through her I have been kept appraised of John’s many accomplishments and only recently added him as a Facebook friend. My heart goes out to his mother, Barbara, and to his wife and children. May his memory be a blessing to all those he knew.

  7. Dani Wray says:

    I am saddened to read this news. I had great respect for Mr. Ivler’s intellect, intensive and exhaustive research, and his sense of humor he shared with his community. As a former staff member of the City’s planning department, I remember how his work for the community reminded me that I, and my fellow workers, owed it to the public to do our absolute best work at all times, to research the hell out of our projects, and to be patient with the public in answering their questions. My son is a classmate of Matt’s. I know Matt’s friends will be there for him. I am truly going to miss Mr. Ivler. Godspeed.

  8. Leah Cohen says:

    I met JM Ivler during the Bernie Sanders campaign in Orange County. I was always impressed by his intelligence; awareness; and dedication to social and political issues, and to his community and family. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time. May G-d comfort you and may his memory be a blessing.

  9. Steve Seide says:

    As a very distant relative, I did not have the pleasure to spend a lot of time with JM. I did, however, have many opportunities to witness his caring and generosity toward his family. He always “committed acts of kindness” for those close to him and sought ways to make the many lives he touched a bit better. I will miss his humor and his energy, and will do all I can to help Thuy, Brooke, Matt and Barb. With Fond memories, and sincere sadness…. Steve

  10. Joan Faerman says:


  11. Roy Porter says:

    As for City Los Alamitos political and city policy issues, Jon was always at the forefront.
    Some times we agreed – other times not.

    I always respected him standing up and speaking out though. He made me think several times. Some times I changed or adjusted my thinking and some times, I stood my ground and he respected that too.

    Los Alamitos is a better place today because of Jon.

    Jon will greatly missed by me and several others.

  12. Lisette S Gabler says:

    JM and I were at odds regarding Los Alamitos politics but I am shocked and saddened at the news of his passing. I would like to send my deepest condolences to JM’s family.

  13. Art DeBolt says:

    Sadness and shock are an understatement. Emptiness in the void created with JM’s passing only scratches the surface of my feelings. I first encountered JM years ago with his involvement in Los Alamitos politics. I remember my first thought after listening to him address a city council…”I am glad we are on the same side”.

    His passion for politics was only surpassed by his love and devotion to his family. Our political discussions quickly moved to the children and how well Brooke was doing at ASU and Matt at Los Al. My repeated urgings for him to get on the city council were always countered with his promise to his wife not to run for office. His family was always first.

    JM and I could not be farther apart politically beyond local politics. I would occasionally “poke the bear” with a Bernie or Hillary comment knowing full well I was stepping into a no-win conversation. JM would say it was amazing that two people so different could be in so much agreement on local issues. It was always JM who kept the focus and was not afraid to step into the fray to benefit his neighbors and community. A great example to follow.

  14. Maria Villagrasa-Castano says:

    My heart breaks to hear of John’s passing. I have known him since the early 80’s, although I have not seen him for many years. He was such a charismatic and generous person. He was like brother to me. Many great memories will be in my heart always for this wonderful soul, a true Mensch. My deepest condolences go out to his family, just know that his light will shine on forever. RIP my dear friens

  15. Barbara B. Abrams says:

    I was saddened when I heard the untimely news about John’s passing. I am a dear friend of his mother Barbara Ivler, and our friendship goes back to Sunday School Days in New Jersey. Apparently his life on Earth made a big difference for all that did know him. To his whole family my deepest condolences.

  16. Javier Mejia says:

    What a blow! A direct hit to the heart of so many here in this community not to mention the Ivler Family. JM was a pillar in this town. If you ever took the time to talk to him, you would know what a strong passion he had for his community and and his family as well as a drive to make life in Los Alamitos the best it could be. He leave us all with some very large shoes to fill, or flip flops to fill, for those of us who knew him better..

  17. Greg says:

    A very sad time. He exemplified leadership. I’ll miss reading his takes on local events.

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