In the Dark times, before geekdom/nerds were sort of cool....
It is a odd happenstance that I meet Lee McCormick and John in a store called "Punch and Judy's" on main street in Newark. I was new to Dungeons and Dragons (circa 1979-80) and this store was a Mecca for us.
John and Lee soon opened their own store "The Days of Knights" in Newark and the focus of our little community soon shifted to their store, it was here, egged on by John that we branched out into new worlds. One of those worlds was Melanda which was created by John and Lee. It was here that I first went into the famed "Burgundy Pit" a module that John (and I believe Mica his wife) wrote, and of which he bragged about no one ever completing it......yes not even the crew of the enterprise could, I know I was there.
After High School I worked in the Arcade in the same Mini-mall as DoKs (as we called it) and everyday John and I chatted, he was a warm and giving person sometimes to a fault. He was always there for advice and to share a joke with. He was also there for much more, sometimes, when I needed to do something, he would freely allow me to use his car, He corrected the spelling on my papers for school (trust me they needed help) and was a sounding board for any hairbrained scheme you had.
John had been a teacher, He had a show on channel 2 where he talked about horse racing and ran Doks for decades.
He was also a bit of a Charlie brown figure, deathly afraid of mice and instead of Lucy pulling the football away from him, he had his love for the Cleveland Browns, who never disappointed us with their ability to disappoint him. Though he was a math genius, he could not tell Left from right and when giving directions people would use baseball out fielders (John Loved baseball) names to signify left or right.
He could always tell a story and we had a inside joke where as soon as he began we would interrupt and say "Does this story have a barefoot Indian in it?" and when he ensured us it didn't...we would let him continue.
As the years went on I was guest at his house on Friday nights when he, his Wife Mica and daughter Kyra (with the McCormicks) running them in my world I created, the laughter at that table and the science breaking bad rolling that took place will always be cherished memories.
As I got older John became a advisor to me, he had been a special ed teacher, and when Kevin was having learning issues early in his school life he gave me sound and valuable advice.
John, through the Wilmark Dynasty's, put on LARPs and Cons every year where he's beloved friends and new friends would come together for a weekend of Mayhem. We always had a saying, it wasn't a Con until John and Mica had a argument....usually over something like "where was the tape" or something like that. Every Saturday night we would pull all the chairs into a big circle and have a sing along, he was like a Vampire who feasted on everyone's good will....god the laughs.
He was not a perfect person....none of us are...he had a temper but as I got older I could tell when it began to boil, his speech would get quicker, I would tell people just back off for a few and after a few moments to think he would come back down.
Towards his mortal final moments, Cancer robbed him of his ability to be John, he had battled his brain cancer in the past but today he lost his battle.
I will sorrowfully miss his company, though he gave me so many memories I wanted more.
I can not imagine the grief of Mica, the girls, his grandchildren and vast circle of friends must be.
He was my Ever Lovin Buddy
P.S. I will leave you with one last thing, I helped John move his Mother out of her house, I was informed there was a statue of a horse that needed to be moved....it was statue alright...a big one....and it was solid metal....But I forgive you john.