my other boyfriend / Jessi Koster Baff (Friend)
I met John in 1985, our first semester as Journalism majors at Temple University, when John sat next to me in Political Science. We were an odd pair -- me in my combat boots and fishnet stockings and he in his flannel shirt. Yet in many ways we were soulmates (and not just because we got the same score on every test, even the SATs, as John liked to point out.) For many years (up until my wedding in 1994), he was my "other boyfriend": my movie date, my museum partner, my bar pal, my breakfast/lunch/dinner companion. John was my constant. He saw me through bad boyfriends, bad living situations, and more than a few bad hair colors (you really loved the black, didn't you, John!) I think John was probably the first man who really knew me and loved me anyway. I hope he knew how much I loved him too. John, I will miss you forever. There is a hole in my heart where you once were (I know, John, you are thinking I'm being too dramatic, but some things never change). And yes, your hair looks good in all the pictures. Love you, Jessi "Lyn." Close
Wishing I'd known you longer / Greg McElhatton (Friend)
I met John through the AIDS Marathon program; both of us needed a roommate for the Florence leg of the trip, and the program reps matched us up. "You'll really like him," Beth had confided in me. "He's a sweetie." Before we went to Italy we'd met up at a marathon happy hour in October, and we ended up spending almost two hours talking to each other and ignoring everyone else that we'd wanted to see. By the end of the night I was almost giddy about spending more time with him; we'd both just clicked with each other in that way that happens too infrequently.
Florence was nothing but fun with John; we walked around the city that we'd both visited before and saw it through each other's eyes, went to new restaurants, worried that each of us would snore and keep the other awake, and passed out in mid-conversation the night after the marathon. We danced, and drank, and listened to so much of John's music the hotel must've thought we'd started our own disco.
After the marathon we kept trading messages and swearing to get together soon, but something always seemed to get in the way. I'd teased him that I'd stolen my recent facial hair from him and because he was such a Six Feet Under fan that I was calling it the "Nate Fisher" even as I really was privately calling it the "John McCalla." I always wanted to hear how he was doing, to trade MP3s, to continue laughing over our horrible official marathon photos. He was a fantastic guy; I'll never forget him and always, always miss him. Close
You are missed / Karen Mixon (High School Friend )Read >>
You are missed / Karen Mixon (High School Friend )
I graduated from High School with John in Delaware County. We became very close in our senior year, and I remember many fun times with John laughing so hard that I could barely breathe. We once got into the wrong car after grabbing lunch together, and it took us several minutes to figure out why the key wouldn't turn the ignition! We stumbled, laughing, to John's car and sped off.
I am sorry that we lost touch over the years...he really was a special person. He was one of the few people that I felt really "got" me in High School. We had so many deep discussions, full of teenage angst...sigh. Good times, good times. Close
I knew John since 1996. Our paths converged during turning points in our lives. We helped each appreciate the value contained in a fresh set of hours and encouraged each other not to waste any. John lived life fully and played full-out. I'll miss his eyes, his smile, his sexy voice, being bad together in a good way, and our talks. We shared a unique friendship and helped each other become better people. I'll close how we always closed back in Philadelphia, Love you-miss you-mean it... forever, my dear friend. I offer my condolences to his mom, family, and friends. Susan
one more time? / Frank Quesada (cyber friend )
Your universe of friends is so immense and diverse, I hope there is room for one more, me - your cyber friend.
You were an unconventional man and so was our friendship. We met online in the spring of 2006. You popped out of winter hibernation like a spring chicken and said “HI, JOHN HERE, NOW READY TO DATE!” I was in a in a different stage of my life and could not follow your lead. I put you off, brushed you off, and tuned you out. But your persistence finally let us to meet in person weeks later. And I’m so glad we did because what became of that was a beautiful friendship. You accepted my friendship for face value and nothing more. I only saw you a few times in your lifetime, accidentally running into each other in our neighborhood as we were going about our busy lives (always when I looked my worst and you looked the hottest!). We shared our worlds almost daily through our computers - only a few blocks away - but a world apart.
The last time I saw you was in July. You were having dinner alone at Cosí’s on Connecticut; I passed by riding my bike and reached through the railing from the street to pick at your food. I didn’t get off my bike, but that ten-minute encounter was as close as we ever got to having a dinner date. How lucky others were to be able to sit down and experience your charm for hours and hours. And how little did I know then that I would never see you again.
Over the course of our friendship I became your human blog, a depository of funny stories or perhaps an escape from a troubled world. I am a lucky man because I got to hear it all - the good, the bad, the dull and the exciting, the lousy dates and the blue-ribbon dates, fund raising, marathon training, outpatient surgery, car repairs, laundry saga, summer trips. How much action can one person pack into one summer? Wooohoooo! .... then came Ed into your life. Our chats decreased, but never more than two weeks went by without getting some sort of communiqué from you giving me a report on your love life. Sometimes in the form of a Western Union Telegram, as if trying to save money and getting to the punch line quickly - “Happy, Dating, Late for Work” and always signing off with a hug. How sweet is that of a cyber friend? How fortunate that I saved the chat log from our last conversation on Friday before you flashed away!
Lucky for me I found my way into your real world through Erin who kindly invited me to your Memorial Service. On my way to the Service I walked by Cosí’s. It was Friday like the last day I saw you, but it was not the hot sunny summer Friday afternoon I remembered. It was dark, it was cold and it was raining. It was quiet and too cold for anyone to sit outside. You could hear the raindrops fall on the corner table where you sat and your chair stood empty, as many of us feel now. I entered your Service quietly and anonymously and sat upstairs in a corner by myself - after all I was only an icon on your computer screen that did nothing unless you clicked it open. I observed from the balcony so much grief and pain, but I had an opportunity to connect with your real world in my own terms. You had a gift for touching people deeply and profoundly hit the soul of many - and you didn’t spare me nor did you leave me behind. If I feel so much pain, I can only imagine what your family, Ed, Luis and closer friends are feeling. My heart goes out to them.
I wait for the day that Apple introduces the iHeaven. I will buy the first one in hopes to hear from my cyber friend one more time…
I was the youngest of my Uncle John's three nieces’. I never could say Uncle John when I was little so I began with Junkie then Junkie John as I grew up. I was named after him, Jaclyn is my full name but he always called me jackie, jake, jack-e-bee. My mother and he were extremely close I swear they were Siamese twins, even though the papers wrote my mom was his half sister! Whatever that really means, I know John would laugh. The point is that they were inseparable. They both wouldn’t shut up about each other! Many people have uncles but my family is not big and he meant the world to my mother and my family. He would like to "punch me in the face" (inside joke) if he knew how "smoopy" I was being about him, but I don't care so THERE Uncle John! :) Even though I had the shortest amount of time with my uncle, it was enough. I always thought he was amazing. He would travel everywhere, and tell me great stories that we would one day be able to share together! He was in college when my parents moved him into his dorm at Temple and I sat on his bed (5 yrs old) thinking he was amazing then. Little did I know my Junkie John would have been very successful in all that he was determined to accomplish, and not just brainwashing me that he was truly the most handsome man on earth, or his eyes were the bluest in the entire world!” Really Junkie John the bluest in the world?!" That’s what I noticed and loved about my uncle the most. He inspired me to do many productive things with my life. Unfortunately I haven't really started every thing I wanted to do that we discussed but given the shocking news was a wake up call that I cannot waste another precious moment. I will start to train for my first marathon and will run in his shoes that he ran in his AIDS marathon. I will graduate college in two years. Take many pictures on my beautiful blue eyes and compare both of ours! I will travel and read tonsssssssss! I will take photographs for fun and frame them. I will have many boyfriends and have fun with all of my girlfriends! I will still laugh and hope and dream, even if we are not together dreaming our dreams. I have many things on my "To Do" list that I will finish. I know you will be there with me at the finish line, in the audience when I receive my award, degree, recognition to charity, my wedding etc. I just wish we had a little bit longer Junkie John; I wanted to tell you and see the look on your beautiful face that after traveling the world, I found that you were right you truly had the bluest blue eyes in the world. Miss you, love you - Jackiebee
keep smiling and laughing / Neil Adler (friend)
Dear John, you have taught me and so many others so much, trying to express my gratitude in words is impossible. You taught me to be more passionate, more expressive and more of a leader. Your laugh and smile always rubbed off on me, and countless others. I miss you so much, and will forever, but thinking of all the wonderful memories and pieces of advice you shared with me will truly make me laugh and smile even when I want to cry. Take care my dear friend. Close
I met John when he was 18 and have loved him ever since. My life became more special when that beautiful creature drifted in. He truly was one of my most favorite people I've ever been blessed with knowing. He was a treasured friend who will be sorely missed. It makes me happy to know that he had so many friends who feel the same as I do. If I look outside tonight, I'm sure I'll see a star shining a little more brightly. It's the eyes. "Don't you forget about me" - how could I?
An Inspiration / Jeff Wade (friend)
It was surpising and yes, a little thrilling to read John's first column as Editor of the Washington Business Journal. I had just met him at party at my house, and did not realize it was John writing until about halfway through. I was really touched by his sincerity and humor. Each time I met him afterwords, I saw a little more unfold, and I enjoyed the time that he, Ed and I spent together. When I run my first marathon I will think of John. Close
I have already written and talked to you so many times since Monday. I'm so sorry I was so far away.
Four months was not nearly enough, but I am so blessed I met you that balmy September evening and I will cherish every moment for the rest of my days. When I close my eyes, I see your sparkling blue ones smiling back at me.
Thanks for tapping my newspaper a couple of weeks ago in the Metro station when I had my head buried in a crossword. If you hadn't, we wouldn't exchanged "heys" as you got on the train and I got off. I apologized over e-mail later for being so spacy that morning, and you didn't hold it against me. Thanks. I don't know if you remember, but you wrote back: "I'm always out of it on Metro. I usually have headphones on, a newspaper in front of my face, sunglasses on and a garlic necklace around my neck." That was Dec. 13, and all I could think was it took a heck of a lot more than garlic to keep people away from you. I got to see you twice more after that. I wish it had been more.
I can't stop thinking about you / Erin Killian (Smart-ass reporter, but really a friend )Read >>
I can't stop thinking about you / Erin Killian (Smart-ass reporter, but really a friend )
I keep expecting you to pop your head up over the cube and look at me so deeply with a smirk. If I laughed, you'd pop up and ask what I was laughing about. Just last week, you asked why I was smirking at the computer screen --"are you reading a message from your boy-friend?" you chided -- and I gave you a smartass reply, something to effect of the nausiating cliche "none of your bees-wax." Sean Madigan would look at me as if to say "None of your beeswax is so dorky." But you and Sean were like my brothers.
I think about you looking in my eyes and holding the glance so long, but I wouldn't break it first. But you wouldn't either, so it was a battle. I can't remember how often I won.
I think about you saying how you're going to kick my ass at the Cherry Blossom 10-mile April 1. Over and over again and I just shook my head. And how you could have beat my marathon time, but you didn't want to push it. You showed off that medal so proudly, your face beaming. I think about you standing up and stretching. About you laughing so hard, hunched over in your chair, that raspy smoker's laugh at Amanda's jokes. About Amanda pretending like she's a dog, walking around on all fours and barking and you taking popcorn or whatever was around to throwing them at her to get her to do tricks. You laughed so so hard, hunched over, barely able to get the laugh out.
I think about you trying to read me. About you saying, "Let's go get a coffee." About how you and Sean would tease me so heavily, but you always had the sensitive look in your eye if you thought it was going too far. About your concerns about taking over the newsroom. About your advice at Santa Fe Cafe when I was sad and you said, "It always gets better."
I think about us going to events together -- dinner at Matchbox, drinks on 17th street, the Hotel Palomar event after the best lawyers' event, the dc central kitchen chef battle, drinks at the Washington Post dive bar. You'd smoke your cigarettes, over and over, and I'd bear the smoke so I could chat with you longer.
I think about you stopping at my cube and saying, "Let's get married and have babies together like Will and Grace." And whispering to me that Beth had to separate us because you had a crush on me. I think about you saying how much alike we are. "You're a flirt," you'd say. You told me how charming I was, but my god, John. YOU were the the charmer.
I think about one of the first times I saw you in the elevator on the way up to the newsroom, in September 2004, and you glowed and sighed, raising your shoulders high, and said, "I'm in love." You had just started dating Edgar. And I remember thinking "Who is this guy?" But you did fall in love -- and hard.
I think about you in a cab when Luis moved to New York. And you said, "I'm so sad, erin." You had tears running down your face and I hugged you, but felt broken hearted leaving you in the cab. I walked up my steps and wanted to call you, but said myself, "He'll be ok."
I think about running into you in Dupont Circle. And how happy we were to see each other and you sent me a note later saying my smile brightened your day.
I think about you at Biddy Mulligan's at Jury's, and you said, with Alex sitting next to me, "Erin, you're so hot. If anyone could turn me straight it would be you." I have never been so flattered.
I think about your hilarious stories -- so many of hilarious stories of kissing random guys in elevators, at Blockbuster, even at the Florence marathon reception. You didn't care. You just did it, and people kissed back. You didn't care how graphic you got, either. And I didn't either, though I was stunned sometimes by your stories.
I think about when you met Ed. And you were, again, glowing and said, "I think this is it." And I said, "No way," and you said, "Yes. He gets my wit and he's as witty as i am. And he likes to travel. And we just have the best conversations."
I think about you editing my stories. And calling me over to show me what you were doing. And your constant praise. You were so proud of the whole staff. And we were so proud of you for making editor. "I'm editor!" you'd say, and smile. "Oh, and by the way, I'm editor."
I think about you all of the time, John. I can't get your face out of my head. And I haven't accepted yet that you're gone. You left us too soon and so many people loved you so so so deeply. Close
xoxo/ Amanda Long (his ever-assisting, interpretative dancing Mrs. Long )Read >>
xoxo/ Amanda Long (his ever-assisting, interpretative dancing Mrs. Long )
I keep looking for the appropriate thing to say but John, you and I always said the deliciously, truth-filled inappropriate things to each other. I can't distill our friendship or your presence to words, so I'll let you have the last word: loveyameanit. Close
Marketing Art Director / Owen Davis (Friend)Read >>
Marketing Art Director / Owen Davis (Friend)
I never actually had the honor to work with John, he got to the WBJ right as I was leaving, but he and I attended almost every WBJ party after that and he was always very friendly and kind to me, he just seemed to give off a vibe as if we were knew and worked with each other for a long, long time. He will be missed. Close
His way... / Beth Hunt (grateful friend )
For days, I've struggled to come up with the right word to describe what John did to you. Finally, it struck me: Seduce. John seduced us all, with his charm, his wit, his brilliance and his smarts. He worked harder, played harder and lived more in his 38 years than most of us will live in a lifetime. I miss him like mad. And I'm g*dd*mn mad that he's not here to show me the way out of this mess. Close
Smiles/ Susyn Schweers Ahern (friend)
We met during "The Real World: San Jose" (sponsored by ACBJ) and then you came to Washington, where we were lucky enough to spend nearly every day together for 2 1/2 years.
Your passing breaks my heart, but my memories of you will always make me smile. Close
THE MUSIC STOPPED... / Luis Soto (Life Partner )
John loved deeply and consequently he is immensely loved by all of his friends, family and me. We all love John for many different reasons, for me…he was my entire life.
For the past eight years we held each other’s hand through life, from the day we met in Philadelphia until his last day in DC. Ever since then, we have never been apart. John is the love of my life and I his, we are soul mates.
Together we laughed and cried, traveled around the world and danced through live. Day after day he taught me what it is to really love someone and be equally loved in return. No matter what or where, we knew there was someone -just one special someone- in the whole entire world, that was thinking of you and that you could always count on. We had each other. I have never loved anyone the way I love John even thou we have been through many challenges, our love for each other was ever present, real and everlasting. Last month, during Christmas time, I told him that we had time to figure things out. Little did I know that time was a luxury we did not have. “The greatest give you can give or receive is Love”. For that, for all the lessons learned; for sharing his life, thoughts, dreams, weaknesses, fears, strengths and dreams and for all the happiness and laughter, sadness and tears I am eternally grateful. He made me a better person.
John always told me that success was not measured by professional or academic achievements nor by material possessions but by the connections and friendships that we made with others and how those connections influenced or inspired them. Even thou he was very successful professionally; it was his friends, love and passions that meant the must to him. Therefore, John had a very successful life. “Some people come into our lives, leave footprints in our hearts, and we are never the same”
John was not just an award winning journalist, great writer, editor and photographer, he was also a great son, brother, uncle, boss, friend, boyfriend, and an outstanding human being. He did everything with great passion and conviction. Those of us that knew him loved his quick wit, great sense of humor, intelligent conversation, compassion, brilliance, contagious smile and those unbelievable blue eyes -among countless other qualities. He was passionate about music and every day had a new “favorite song” that I had to hear.
On January 5th, 2007 the music stopped.
I consider myself to be the luckiest man alive for sharing my life with such a wonderful and beautiful man. John: thanks for choosing me and loving me.
Thank you all for sharing your feelings and for loving my baby Johnny so much! THANK YOU!!!!
One more thing…Jaclyn; yes, your uncle has the bluest eyes in the whole world! Close