John Carl Warnecke died of pancreatic cancer on April 17 at his family ranch in Alexander Valley, California. He was 91.
His firm, John Carl Warnecke & Associates, was once one of the of the largest US firms. His major projects included the Hart Senate Office Building, New Executive Office Building, both in Washington, D.C. ,and the Hawaii State Capitol, His designs were known for embracing an international style. He also designed 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Key alumni of his firm, Eugene Kohn, William Pedersen, and Sheldon Fox, went on to found KPF in 1976.
According to an obituary in The Press Democrat, Warnecke had been part of President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Camelot’ social circle after helping to preserve the historic structures at Lafayette Square. He later had a love affair with the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy and wanted to marry her, according to family members quoted in the obituary. The Kennedy family commissioned Warrneke to design the John F. Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.
Warnecke was also a gifted athlete. Before his career as an architect, he played left tackle for the 1940 Stanford University football team that won the Rose Bowl.
He had also recently competed his memoirs and his editor is seeking a publisher for the work.
Warnecke is survived by two sons, a daughter, a sister, his former wife and four grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on May 16 at the Warnecke Ranch in Healdsburg.