With heavy heart and mixed emotions, our classmate and friend to many of us—old “John Boy” or “Otto” or just plain “John”—is now, hopefully, in a better place. “Mixed emotions” because the last few months of his life must have been hell for he and his wife, Peggy. John suffers no more, and it is certain that his family (wife, Peggy, and brother, Hank, in Columbia, MO) can finally feel some relief.
Peggy contacted me from Madison, WI, last Wednesday to tell me that John had passed away the day before, July 1. I had been planning to call my long-time buddy this past July 4th weekend, for our traditional every-other-month-or-so phone call. John had been ill for many years with emphysema and had spent the last couple of months since mid-April in a nursing home.
Peggy would visit every day, usually during evening visiting hours. Sometimes in the afternoon, as well. His breathing issues had become severe over the past month or two. He had been managing the illness, remarkably, for more than ten years, with near heroic at-home assistance on the part of Peggy. At about 4pm this past Tuesday, she got a call at home from the nursing home to the effect that the end was near. He died with his beloved Peggy beside him at 5:35pm.
A friend of John’s, a George Hesselberg, journalist for the Wisconsin State Journal, wrote a very nice article about John.
John’s obituary can be found here at the Cress Funeral Home website, along with many fond recollections about him from friends and acquantances he’d met along the way. On the obit page scroll down to the link: “Add or view memories” and click.
More on John’s passing on his obit page…