When we die, it will not be the size of
our bank account that it is remembered;
It will be the deposits we put into
bettering the lives of others.

John has been gone for about two months now, and I still look for him every time I enter the club.  He left us early, but I think it was what he wanted. It certainly wasn’t what we wanted, but then again,  John was never one to do something simply to go along with the crowd. 

He could best be described (per Readers’ Digest) as “one of the most unforgettable characters I ever met!   Having tried marriage once, and finding it didn’t work for him, he was a confirmed bachelor.  John’s life was tied to three locations, his office, the club, and his house; a triad lovingly illustrated at his funeral with a superimposed triangle placed on a map of the community.  But it was at the club that his personality truly revealed itself.  He was a study in dichotomy of sorts. I remember the nights when his laughter or voice filled the room, and others when he engaged in quiet conversation.  He would play a few games of bar dice and laugh at his competitors as he won roll after roll, then he would spend all his winnings buying them drinks.  And if you didn’t love his “Nova” Cats or had a political view that differed from his, look out, but even if you did, should you need anything, John quietly let you know he was there to help.  He was loud, but quiet; outgoing, yet reserved; demanding while patient. Some might say he was like the wind; he could be a refreshing breeze, or a nasty nor’easter.  With John, nothing was predictable. 

Another friend, Andy, has been given the challenge of settling the estate.   John had a will, but let’s simply say that it could have been more extensive, as it did not come close to providing the direction needed for all which remains; a business, multiple properties, extensive collections, a classic Mercedes, and a residence filled with a momentos.  Over the past few weeks I’ve had occasion to visit that residence and take everything in.  Suffice it to say Andy has his work cut out for him.  The material remains from a life well-spent fill his house, and they will soon be gone.  John’s personal possessions will be passed on or sold through the estate.   The house, business and other properties will take on new owners, and what remains will go to charity.  Soon the estate will be settled and all the loose ends will be secured. Some will say that all that remains is an urn filled with John’s ashes.  They couldn’t be further from the truth.

What remains is the memory of a great man.  John was bigger that life, and so was his heart.  He was the guy who bought club-box season tickets to the AA Reading Phillies, and routinely gave them away to a family sitting in general admission.  A guy who volunteered his time and financial expertise to help the local youth baseball program.  A man who paid it forward on a regular basis.   

John would use his remote to start his car when he was leaving the club.  Sometimes that car would idle for over an hour. When he finally got up and headed for the door a number of us would mockingly yell out, “Nite John boy.”  Without so much as a look in our direction he would yell, “Shad-up” as he strode out the door. It was his way of saying, “See you guys tomorrow night.”

What remains?  It’s not the material possessions, property or wealth.  What remains are the great memories, the stories that can make us laugh till we have tears in our eyes, and the quiet way in which he demonstrated his care and concern for others.  John was a Starthrower; he made a difference in people’s lives.  What will remain when you pass on?  Make a difference; be a Starthrower today.