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Art Car List Memorium

Page history last edited by Richard Carter 10 years, 1 month ago

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Here is a quick eulogy that was sent out on the Art Car net.

 

Many of the folks there didn't know John very well, so filling in the blanks seemed appropriate.

 


 

John Schroeter, the co-designer of the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, died from a sudden heart attack Thursday morning while in Colorado. He was 58. He is survived by his spouse Patsy Mc Phereson, his cousin Marcia and lots of grieving friends.

 

John was an incredible guy. He spent half his time either laughing or helping

other people, usually both at once. He gleefully managed to work a good bit of beer into both activities. To top it all he even squeezed in a career as a scientist, holding various research appointments at Rice University and at Baylor College of Medicine in physics and more recently in neuroscience.

 

John spent his life helping his friends. If you needed a ride to the airport he would raise his hand. If your car needed fixing he would raise his hand. If you needed a truck and trailer to move halfway across the country, he would lend you his rig and help you do the drive. He never stopped moving and he never stopped laughing. Far as we could tell he never slept.

 

 

John had the keenest sense of the absurd that I have ever seen, and he often worked the absurd into his equally keen sense of the slapstick practical joke. He was particularly fond of the cream pie as an artist's tool, and could somehow combine the immediacy of the three Stooges with the technical elegance of Victor Borge. Don't ask me how, but he had that touch. Woe to you if you turned your back on him on your birthday, for he would put a cleverly hidden cream pie into your face within a microsecond. I long ago stopped even trying to dodge.

 

 

Once when we had promised a friend that they would be hit by "at most one pie" during a particular event, John compensated for our promise by devising the Incredible 6-foot Pie, using 120$ of coolwhip and LOTS of cardboard and tin foil. We had to haul it to the ambush site on my truck, and lord knows how the two of us had the agility to corner the victim. And let's not even mention his 6 barrel air powered Pie Bazooka, or his diabolical radio controlled pieing helmet, or the Big Funnel.

 

 

In the early 70s John was crucial to the early development of ValHalla, the unique volunteer-operated graduate student pub at Rice, where he served as the second ever manager. Since then, John has massively supported that institution "in his spare time" doing everything from weekly supply runs to wholesalers, to plumbing, AC, and electrical work, to cleaning up the place if the normal crew wasn't around. John kept his traditional Friday volunteer bartending shift continuously from 1972 until the present, and he always found a way to make his guests laugh. Although he also kept scissors handy, in case anyone foolishly came in wearing a tie. John was a force of nature.

 

 

During that entire period from 1972 on, the first time I _EVER_ saw him voluntarily miss his bartending shift was the Friday before our first parade in 2001, when he was still frantically trying to get some of the electronics for the fishcar to work.

 

 

Patsy says that the night before he passed away, they went up on the hill behind the house in Colorado and played the whole evening with a cool new bubble maker she had given him. There are worse ways to spend one's final hours.

 

 

John was my closest friend for over 25 years. He was many people's closest friend. He will be sorely missed. Those of us who know him well can't quite imagine the world without him.

 

 

-- Richard

 

Addendum:

 

One HACK related story I inexplicably left out was Bowling for TVs. This has become a New Years Eve tradition for HACK in recent years. But many folks may not know that this tradition originated with John and his friend Dave Stehm in about 1980. It started one evening as "Bowling for Miller bottles" but on the spur-of-the-moment Dave recalled he had an unused broken TV. The rest is history. John spent a year afterwards gathering old TVs, then I volunteered my grad-school rent house as a bowling alley, and it became a New Years Eve tradition in our group. I recall in 83 or so we had a working TV in the bunch, and when we turned it on, there was a retrospective of old Ronald Reagan movies. People were fighting over the bowling ball. John laughed so hard he couldn't stand up. That is how I will always remember him. Houston folks who may never have met John personally should remember him the next time they go TV bowling.

 

 

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