In Memoriam: John Zupan

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John Zupan, a well-known vintage racer and founder of Portland-based Zupan’s Markets, died Tuesday from injuries sustained after a suspected drunk driver hit his motorcycle Monday evening. He was 66.

Zupan was riding his motorcycle on Marine Drive near 138th Avenue in Northeast Portland Monday night when a car driving in the opposite direction crossed the center line and collided with his motorcycle. Zupan died of his injuries just after 10 pm Tuesday.

“John Zupan was a passionate – and very fast – vintage racer. In the few times we were in the same class, I counted his taillights going by me more than once in a race,” said Keith Martin, SCM publisher. “His death, at the hands of a drunken fool, makes me sadder than I can communicate. Rest in peace, John.”

“John was a fanatic car guy, vintage and sports racer, entrepreneur and ultimately, a motorcycle enthusiast,” said Michael Pierce, a Portland businessman and writer for SCM and Corvette Market. “His enthusiastic nature, fierce friendships and loyalty indicate that he will be missed in many circles.”

Mike Zupan (left) and John Zupan (right). Photo: www.zupans.com

Zupan began working in the grocery business at age 16. In 1975, he opened his first market, which became a must-stop for lovers of top-notch food. The company grew on its tradition of quality. Three Zupan’s Markets are in the Portland, Oregon area, and a fourth is scheduled to open late this year.

Zupan’s son, Mike Zupan, took over operation of the stores in early 2000, but Zupan remained active in the company.

The Zupan family has not yet released memorial plans.