The other day was asked a question about how things would work out after the devastation that COVID19 is doing to the economies of the world and my first thought was that I have no idea!
It would be so much better to ask someone who had seen something like this before. Someone who had lived through things that were a better frame of reference, like post WW2. Someone like you or perhaps Dr Robert M. Miller from California would have been much better people to ask! (I wonder did you ever meet or read his cartoons, I think you would have like them and enjoyed his company. You have a lot in common.)
Then, a couple of hours later, the news came through that your condition had deteriorated and things were not good. That was a few days ago, and now you have left us and are at peace.
You were one of my veterinary heros. I recall the first time seeing you speak, perhaps in 2001 or 2002, and I was in awe. You were a groundbreaker. A maverick. But also a brilliant role model for how to be those things and be a “professional”. You changed the way the river flowed for us all. And your radiant love for our great profession was always so obvious. An agent of change, leader and cheerleader start to finish.
There is little happening now that you were not playing with a decade or more ago. Webinars. Online community. Content production. You saw it all and fearlessly blazed the trail forward.
You are an inspiration to so many and without a doubt helped me turn a raw curiosity and passion for business into something more refined and useful.
I am so lucky to have been taught and inspired by you and I am grateful and honoured to be able to know you as a friend also.
I know we will not have the chance to meet and break bread again together over lunch at the Hummingbird Cafe in shoreham airport. And I am sorry and desperately sad not to be able to say goodbye and thank you in person. I think though that has avoided me making a bit of a scene. And suspect I would, for once, be unable to find any words.
Our little veterinary family will remember you fondly across the globe.
Now you go gentle into that good night. Having changed so much and touched so many.
Goodbye John. My teacher. My colleague. My friend.
With thanks and sadness but most of all, with love.