Funeral Details

John Buryl Lazar

March 6, 1947 - April 3, 2024


Date and Time

Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 10:00 AM


Chicago Jewish Funerals
Skokie Chapel
8851 Skokie Boulevard
Skokie, Illinois 60077
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Rabbi Ari Hart
Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob of Skokie

Interment - Private


Chicago Jewish Funerals - North Chapel
Immediately following the memorial service until 1pm.

Beginning at 1pm there will be a reception at the Rosen household, 2203 Bennett Ave., Evanston

The service will be live streamed on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 10:00 AM Central Time.

Memorial Contributions

University of Chicago Oncology Department
Gift Administration & Business Data
5235 South Harper Court, Suite 450
Chicago, Illinois 60615
The KIND Fund
Feed the Children


John Buryl Lazar, 77.

Devoted son of the late Buryl and Zelda nee Sampson. Loving brother of Rabbi Jeffrey (the late Barbara Bornstein Lazar) Lazar and Joan Brunwasser. Dear uncle of David Lazar, Michael (Emma Rosen) Brunwasser, Ariella (Ilya) Belopolsky and Yael (Dan Marzouk) Brunwasser. Service Sunday, May 19, at 10:00 am at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd., (at Niles Center Road) Skokie. A reception will follow immediately, (at the funeral home) from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. The interment was private. To view the funeral online, please visit our website. In lieu of flowers, donations to the University of Chicago Oncology Department; the KIND Fund and Feed the Children would be appreciated. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals – Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822,


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The other day I walked into my backyard and with a catch in my throat I said out loud, "Oh, John." What was coming up for me were all the lovely dinners we shared in the backyard with John, Joni, Michael and Emma. John would take great delight in bringing his fabulous fruit salad that always had unexpected ingredients and we all engaged in a game to guess what was in it ... inevitably we were stumped. The three different types of ginger, different types of oranges, apples, pom seeds, and then the extra special ingredients. The conversations flowed, the lessons of life were generously shared and laughter permeated the evenings. Then we would adjourn to the kitchen with all hands on deck to make the kitchen flat. Music played and more laughter and more conversation. I treasure these moments and hold them in my heart. John shared his wisdom and yet there was always curiosity there. He changed my life For Good.

Dorothy Rosen
April 25, 2024
John- your spirt lives on in all of those whom you touched so deeply and supportively, You were a remarkably compassate and caring person who knew the power of connection and being there for others. Your grace and yet pwoerful presence in dealing with your czncer was an inspiration to all of us. Many blessings to you and those family and close friends who gained,and gave to you.

Greg Pawlson
April 25, 2024
I was so sorry to hear of John’s death. I got to know him through a group of coaches and others who regularly wrote and commented on each other’s posts on LinkedIn, and then through his updates on his illness, his treatment and the writing and coaching activities he determinedly pursued. From this, I know what a wise, deep, funny, clever, and caring human being he was. He will be sorely missed by so many people, near and far, but the impact he has had in the world will live on. I send my sincere condolences to all his loved ones.

Alison Maitland
April 25, 2024
John was a member of the ISPI and EMEA community for many years he will be missed

Roger Addison
April 25, 2024
I never met John in person. Our correspondence started when I joined an on-line group on LinkedIn, which was set up by John's colleague and my friend Sylvana Caloni. It was designed to create a consistently interesting and intriguing dialogue among the participants, to do so on a weekly basis, build up a readership and thus augment our followers and their "likes" with a view of augmenting , our professional reputation and related new business. All the participant writers considered themselves experts in improving human and organisational interactions. All of us shared curiosity, interest in what is new and playfulness of approach and language. John always provided insightful comments on what we wrote and interesting commentary on what was important to him.

And then the playfulness disappeared from John's writing and the serious, frightening and sombre story began to unfold.

In sharing his experiences and being very open and specific about what he was going through, John showed incredible courage and a great desire to be of help not only to himself but actually to others who were on the same or similar hard journeys. I found myself looking forward to the next instalment of the story, reading and worrying about the ups and downs John described, cheering whenever he managed to achieve a positive result. The small steps were an incredible big victory. His forbearance and wry comments about his own situation were testimony to a person with great faith and an excellent practitioner of hope. I used to respond with comments and questions, which he was very generous about answering. I was pleased that, despite never meeting and really never sharing any life experiences, I was still able to help by cheering him on and supporting the hope.

I never imagined that the second bout of cancer the doctors identified well into his recovery from the initial one would bring about such a dreadful end. When I first received the message about the memorial service I was wholly taken aback. The news of John's death was a very saddening, bitter and surprising news. Maybe, if later on, there might be a way of publishing his updates and emails in a format that would be helpful to other patients. Such a present to others would be an apt legacy and in line with a man who was a true mensch. May John's memory be a blessing to us all.

Edna Kissmann
April 25, 2024
I first met John many years ago at an International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) conference. However, I actually got to know him beginning when he came to his first ISPI Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) conference (in Warsaw that year, 2014). Not only did John participate, he became a Team Leader for our centerpiece, the Open Assist ,which is a unique live teamwork experience. This important centerpiece, which runs throughout our conference, provides the opportunity for teams of participants to engage directly with senior management representing a real organization (client). The objective for the teams is to respond to the organization’s (client’s) Request For Proposals (RFP) to outline an approach for resolving a current problem the organization is facing and/or to identify and take advantage of opportunities to perform and produce “even better” results.

Through the Open Assist process the client organization receives real value and participant teams gain knowledge and actual experience, working on a diverse multinational team, as they interact directly with, present to and get feedback from a senior management team, all in a “safe”, supportive, constructive environment of learning, sharing and enriching each participant’s experience and ability to grow their professional network. john's team was selected by the client in Warsaw 2014, Istanbul 2015 and Bonn 2016. John continued to volunteer to be a Team Leader in all conferences thereafter until his medical condition limited his ability to participate. We will miss his formal contributions through the Open Assist, via presentations in Briefing Sessions, through wonderful professionals he introduced to ISPI EMEA, as well as through informal chats and over meals. John will be a valuable part of our ISPI EMEA family always, via all the many people and organizations he touched, supported, and enlightened.

Carol Panza
April 25, 2024
John is the reason I moved to Chicago. He introduced me to the beautiful city, delicious food (something besides broccoli and baked potatoes that I was accustomed to in San Diego!), winter clothes, and golf among many other things. I have wonderful memories of John planning elaborate dinners for friends, reviewing recipes, and spending hours in the kitchen preparing. He loved his friends and his family deeply. He was a kind, compassionate, and caring person, was intellectually curious and a life-long learner. While our marriage was short, we remained dear friends throughout the years. I will always cherish John. His love and kindness will always be a part of my life.

Judy Braun
April 28, 2024
We shared three decades-long friendships with John. He had a personal friendship with my late husband, Barry, that manifested in hours-long intellectual inquiries between himself, Barry and their friend Bob Jackson. They met monthly over a breakfast that probably wasn't eaten because it'd take time from their discussions. John had a separate friendship with me which began when we met doing personal growth courses in the 90's and continued taking the same seminars and courses over many years. We shared not only the same ontological distinctions, but also a love of cooking...and eating. Thirdly, HollyBarry (my husband & I) had a relationship between John and our entity as a couple, We traveled together, shared the Jewish holidays together and sometimes just watched Netflix together. We were all comfortable with one another in whatever ways that kind of intimacy emerges after years of friendship. I'm still having difficulty walking past the stack of recipes in my kitchen that John & I were choosing from for our next collaborative meal together. It may have to remain there for a while...till the emptiness subsides.

Holly Kahan
April 29, 2024
To John's family and close friends,

Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing away of this wonderful human being - John Lazar. I met John through the Institute of Coaching in Boston, at one of their conferences in 2018. As always, the conference was replete with remarkable speakers and thought leaders. However, this one was made even more special because I met this infectiously happy and wise man - John Lazar. As you might expect from a coach as experienced as him, he seemed to instinctively take me under his wing, becoming a mentor and a friend. This was despite the enormous distance between us - I live in Sydney Australia with my family.

He generously reviewed my book and I was glad to return the favour by reviewing his. I was honoured to have co-presented at the International Leadership Association's Global Leadership Conference in 2020 and we had plans to continue to collaborate when Covid hit. But in true John style, we stayed in touch via Zoom and emails, always encouraging each other to learn and push the knowledge boundaries of evidence-based leadership. He was, in my mind, the embodiment of coaching wisdom and practice.

I recently lost my beloved husband to cancer and so my heart goes out to John's family during these difficult times. Whilst the pain will never go away, in time, we learn to simply look up to the stars, hug a loved one, or say a little prayer whenever we think of our departed loved one. We are all the better for having known John and I will forever miss him.

Rest in peace, my amazing friend John Lazar.

With kind wishes,
Dr Ruby Campbell

Ruby Campbell
April 30, 2024
John was a career-long thought leader and valued member of the global performance, training, and leadership development communities. He influenced the world with his leadership and professional contributions--and was a wise, caring, and fun guy!

Andy Buzinski
May 7, 2024
John and I met in 1990 in Toronto at the annual conference of our professional society, ISPI. We knew many colleagues in common and launched a friendship. I looked forward to getting together with John each year at our conferences. He was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known with an of-the-moment humor that was infectious.

John greatly enjoyed travel and came annually to the Bay Area in Northern California. We have a core group of ISPI’ers here and John was always a welcome visitor. He stayed at my house and we hosted some wonderful dinners for our little group. John was delighted to be the sous chef. We went to visit wineries, to plays at the local repertory company, and dined out with our colleagues.

When John became ill and began his very challenging journey, his detailed updates helped the members of his ‘tribe’ understand what he was enduring and gave us intimate insights into how he was managing his disease. John used his well-honed coaching and processing skills to encourage and guide himself. We tribal compatriots were privileged to observe and learn from him. John’s end of life journey had to be his most difficult and it provided a model for surmounting extreme adversity. I thank you, John, and miss you every day.
Love, Carol

Carol Haig
May 9, 2024