John Lee Colbert
John Lee Colbert
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John Lee Colbert, 70, of Byron died suddenly at his home Sunday, May 8, 2022. John was born October 5, 1951 in Starkville, MS. Growing up in a military family, he lived in many places throughout the USA and abroad. He graduated high school in Virginia, earned his bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University, and received his master's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY. John was united in marriage to Marcy Tagge in 1973. John began his career as a mechanical engineer with IBM in 1982 in Charlotte, NC. They moved to Rochester, MN in 1989 and later to their home in rural Byron. John retired from IBM in 2013 as a Senior Technical Engineer in the Server Development Department with 32 patents to his name.

John lived his life with passion and adventure. Two weeks after retiring from IBM he kayaked the length of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, just because it was something he always wanted to do. John never backed down from a challenge. He climbed Long's Peak in Colorado, competed in 3 Spartan races along with many other competitions. He was a very proud and well-respected member of Progression Fitness. He enjoyed skiing, sledding with his grandkids, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, wood working and all things mechanical. He never wanted to stop learning and growing. He was a man of faith and loved God and his family dearly.

John is survived by his wife Marcy, three children Lisa (Jeremy) Moreland of Rochester, David Colbert of Minneapolis, and Sarah (Mike) Kramer of Rochester, and eight grandchildren, Annalise, Hudson, Harper, Sayde, Aurora, Evelyn, Gabriella, and William. He is also survived by two sisters, Beth Colbert Vail of Mississippi, and Sandy (Ronnie) Freeland of Colorado. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold Max and Margaret Sue, and his younger brother, Mark.

A memorial service will be held at 2 P.M. Friday, May 20, 2022 at Rochester Assembly located at 4240 18th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901. There will be time to greet and visit with family following the service.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Colbert family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit



Rochester Assembly
4240 18th Ave NW
Rochester, MN 55901
2:00 PM

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S Sandy Shirk/Heath on May 19, 2022

My heartfelt sympathy to John's family. I worked with John at IBM for over 20 years. He was a wonderful engineer and an even better friend. He made all of us better for having known him and worked with him. I am keeping your family in my prayers.

S Scott and Chris LaPree on May 16, 2022

John was a great engineer, and always cared enough about his work to make sure it was up to his high standards. He made everyone around him better, and always had a wonderful attitude, while remaining very humble. A man to emulate and admire. The world was a better place with him here. God bless his soul.

V Velma Robinson on May 13, 2022

Marcy, I am so shocked and saddened by your loss.
You and your sweet family were in our lives only for a short time but made a lasting impression! May God heal you, the children and grands and all John’s family🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻 Velma Donahoo Robinson

J Jimmy Donahoo on May 13, 2022

Each of you are in our prayers as you struggle to deal with this loss. From reading the obituary I can see that he was an outstanding man. Sending prayers and love for each of you. Jimmy and Barbara Donahoo

D David Hill on May 13, 2022

I worked with John at IBM Rochester for many years on mid-range computer systems development. He was a talented and creative engineer who always strove to make the best product possible. We often had lively debates regarding design directions/details, but they were fueled by both of our passions to create something special. No debate was ever mean spirited or damaged relationships, it was all part of the creative process. The end result was always superior. When I learned of his passing, I was shocked and deeply saddened. It caused me to reflect on the great products we developed and the wonderful creative journey we took together. It was great fun. My thoughts and prayers are with all who knew and loved John during this time of great sorrow. Rest in peace my friend.

B Brenda Kemp on May 13, 2022

Prayers and love to John’s family! Thankful for all the memories you all have!
Love Brenda Kemp

J Justin Hawley on May 13, 2022

I didn’t grow up with a father who lead me in the Lord. But the men in church, each in their own way, were my fathers. John was one of them. He taught me a lot about what it means to be a Godly man. He was always happy to see me with a great smile and he inspired me with his manly adventures, his amazing marriage, and truthfully- his exercise routine. I was always kind of surprised he was so happy to see me. I don’t know why, but probably just because most people in life don’t greet you with a sincere smile that you can feel your own value in. But he did. He lived life fully. I cannot imagine the glory he is seeing right now and love you all who were closest to him.

J John & Linda Woolbright on May 13, 2022

CandleTo John’s family and loved ones~
We are so very sorry for your loss.
John was a really good guy and we
considered him a good friend.
My Mom (Juanita) always
considered Margaret, Mildred,
John William and Corky her cousins,
even though they were not blood kin.
We have kept in touch more as we have
grown older and due to facebook.
We connected with John when the
family moved back for a few years
during High School. So thankful to
know he had such a joyful, Godfilled
life filled with love and family.
We know it will be hard to go on without
John but always treasure your precious
memories and the legacy he lives behind.
With our love and sympathy~
John C. Woolbright
Linda (Blankenship) Woolbright
Benton, Arkansas

K Kristi Graner on May 13, 2022

We love you guys and are praying for you. John was such a mighty man of God. He is leaving a powerful legacy of love.



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