John was born July 13, 1930, in Bismarck, to Francis and Ada (Maurer) Halloran, both descendants of early pioneer families, the Lyons, who were stationed at old Fort Lincoln during Custer's time, and the Hallorans, who operated the Custer House in early Bismarck. John attended St. Mary's Grade School and High School, graduating in 1948. He graduated from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minn., in 1952, and completed further studies at several other universities. He taught English in three states.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and later volunteered for the newly organized Peace Corps, serving in the Philippines from 1961 to 1963. John was reunited with his friends and students from the Philippines at a fiesta held in his honor last summer in Los Angeles. After extensive traveling in the mid-1960s, John returned to Bismarck. He was assistant director of the North Dakota Travel Department -- and then worked as a writer/editor for Basin Electric Power Cooperative for five years. John operated two gift shops, Import House and East West Gift Center in the early 1970s.
He and Virginia Nelsen were married on June 15, 1978, in Bismarck. The couple operated a gift store, Yes Virginia, from 1978 to 1996. In recent years, John wrote and self-published two books. The first, "A Journal for Katherine," is a memoir about early Bismarck, his family and his experiences through his college years. The second was a memoir of his years in the Peace Corps.
The first altar boy at Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, John was active in his church parish for many years. He was a founding member of the Cinema 100 film society and was involved in the selection of this season's series. Other community activities that reflected his interest in the arts included serving on the founding board of Dakota West Arts Council and Dakota Stage Limited. Recently he assisted with collecting memorabilia and documenting the history of early concerts at the Belle Mehus Auditorium. He also was a trustee of Veteran's Memorial Library for two years.
John leaves his wife, Virginia Nelsen; their daughter, Katherine Nelsen Halloran; and two sisters, Margaret Kelly, Denver, and Mary Halloran, Bismarck. He was preceded in death by his parents; and one brother, Leo. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers gifts to establish a college fund for their daughter, Katherine.