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Memories of John Part 3

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago

Stories and pictures - Part 3


John did heroic traveling to help his parents Dick and Mae in their declining years.


John spoke of his parents often, usually as his first two best friends. For the scores of us that consider John our best friend, the appreciation for this legacy should start with this triad. All that we all love about John stemmed from this amalgam of inputs from his youth. John marveled at the home they created in their retirement in Colorado.




Visitors will certainly recall the various Johnesque projects that Dick completed although legally blind, as well as the untouched condition of the personal touches Mae left on the home and grounds. Before and after their passing, John diligently preserved the loving environment they created. All the care and responsibility John has devoted to those of us around him was showered on his parents as each declined in health. Although emotionally trying, his care for them was executed through love and devotion for the unique bond the three held. After their deaths, John would occasionally reflect on their three lives together and comment on the emptiness he still felt in their absence. While we all understand that depth of emptiness right now, I am warmed in knowing that this team is once again reunited. I imagine Dick and John elbow-deep in the engine of the tractor while Mae collects lunch from the garden.




John loved to hit people with cream pies.


John's favorite saying was: "The rule is, you can only be pied in the six months immediately before or immediately after your Birthday." John always respected this rule to the letter. -- Richard


Actually the first time I saw John it was in the Safeway on Holcombe and Kirby. The year was 1985. He and Richard were buying cheap cream pies on a Sunday morning. They were a very distinctive couple of guys- John with his freeform beard and kinetic energy running circles around Richard who stood in one place contemplating something in the air. I was baffled- were they Jesus freak hippies going to some church picnic? I almost warned them that those pies wouldn't be thawed in time for lunch- lol. I was naive then.....- Alison




Whether pitcher or catcher, he loved to play with gooey pies.



People loved to hit John with cream pies.

It took us a week, but we managed to get him with 50 pies for his 50th birthday.





John really loved Odoul's straight from the keg.


Neil Arnwine and myself were bartenders during the 7 pm shift on Friday's for many years and were victims of John's countless pranks. One Friday, Neil decided to give back to John. He bought a case of O'Doul's and put them in the kegerator. In the old days, John would come in the bar, put his glass on the bar to be refilled and go use the restroom. We filled his beer that night with O'douls and convinced all the bartenders after us to do the same. At midnight, John came to us and said that he felt wierd - mildly buzzed (when he should have felt drunk) and with a headache. We confessed then about what we had done and had a good laugh. He then bet us that we could never serve him O'Doul's again (over the next calendar year).


Oh well !! The challenge was on. It was made harder as during our shift John would inspect the keg and check for bottles of O'Douls and stand there till we refilled his glass.


Neil, Craig Strain and myself were office mates and we came back from class one day and Neil had a wicken grin on his face. He told Craig and myself that he had a way to trick John and he did. Neil order a keg of O'Douls and using CO2 drained a Pearl light keg and filled it with O'Doul's. Right before our shift we switched the Pearl with the O'Doul's filled keg and started serving it to everyone in the bar (without their knowledge). Sure enough John came in for a refill, checked the keg, looked at his beer, compared it everyone around him and went on drinking O'Doul's. We kept on the charade till we drained the keg and then announced to a very distrurbed crowd (including David Yingst) that they had all been drinking O'Doul's that night but we needed them to be part of it so that John would not suspect anything. We refunded them their money and John bowed at Neil for a prank well done !! - Purvez



John was a fiercely competitive sportsman.


Shortly after I met John in 1979 he suckered me into a 1AM game of "red rover" outside Valhalla with a bunch of other grad students. In the darkness, my team didn't realize his team had lined up immediately in front of a row of hedges. Ouch. He then introduced me to the old-school sports of Blow Pong (double ouch) and Keg Toss (my bones may heal someday).


In a Blow Pong game, you did NOT want to be across the table from John. I swear I sometimes heard a sonic boom coming from the ping pong ball after he got a good lock on it.


But the pinnacle of his competitiveness was the Croquet matches he loved to organize. He always insisted on Oakie Poison rules. Vicious he was - vicious I tell you.


John also introduced me to the sport of liquid nitrogen spitting, although he later expressed some regret for having done so. -- Richard





John built a 5-barrel pie pie bazooka and liked to ambush unsuspecting guests from the roof as they arrived.





(Add picture of him lurking on the roof with this if we can find it.)



An earlier version dubbed the "Pie Gun" could shoot Cool Whip in a continuous stream.




I think this is the prototype version- for about 30 secs you were invincible- then the ammo ran out!-KG


John loved to ride motorcycles and bicycles. He didn't actually own a 4 wheeled vehicle of his own until he was over 50, although he was always fixing cars.




John was the person who convinced me that I should crank up Richard's motorcycle and ride it through his house at some point in time during my 30th birthday party- Richard was taking a bit of a nap, and John thought this would be just the thing to wake him back up. It definitely worked- I had to rev the engine pretty well to get over the doorjambs from the dining room into the hallway... Cathy D.


John and Patsy went backpacking in Colorado at every opportunity






John went hiking in the mountains of Colorado at every opportunity


While I never went backpacking with John, we did go hiking with Patsy and John on several occassions. After we moved to Denver, we spent Thanksgiving 2001 with John and Patsy in Monument Valley and climbed to the top of Mt. Herman. John taught me the technique of doing "mini switchbacks" along the trail when it was too steep on the way down which I still use all the time. He helped inspire a love of hiking in the mountains which Marcos and I still enjoy almost every weekend. (Marcos and I had never lived around Mountains before) John was always the first to the top and impossible to keep up with. The next morning we woke up to find the ground covered with snow and proceeded to get out the toboggan and the skis and had a great time until the snow started coming down too hard. We then went up to our new house in Denver for the rest of the weekend.


Those of you who knew John well might have noticed his hair got noticably whiter around that time. By the time I woke up the next morning John was already in the shower coming back from his run and I realized I had not put the new bottle of shampoo in the shower yet. I knocked on the bathroom door and asked him if he needed shampoo. He replied "No there's some already in here". John had used the dog shampoo that we had for Busy Bee (our little white Jack Russell Terrier) which had bleaching agents in it to make your little white dog look even whiter. I'll never forget how frizzy and white his hair and prize winning beard looked that morning. Anybody else would have been furious, but John just laughed it off. - Bart


I have put up some pictures from this visit and a personal memorial tribute to John up on my site at:




- Bart


Winter in Colorado with the Schroeters






John also was the Valhalla resident dervish

With a dance style somewhat akin to uncontrollable muscle spasms and repeated and endless thrusting of limbs, the sight of a tie dye, brightly colored high top tenny clad John is seared into many memories (in spite of the memory blotting effects of blow pong, Retsina, other stuff, and yes, BEER).

(more ...)



One of the strangest things, though, is that -- in the early days -- John wasn't much of a dancer. Actually, it was more like: John. Didn't. Dance. I'll never forget the jaw-dropped disbelief when that changed. Abruptly. Spectacularly. Awesomely. John was always looking to try new things; and once he'd decided to do something, he'd go for it full blast! -- Ellen


Everytime I hear Working for the Weekend by Loverboy I think of John. When Seth and I were behind the bar John knew we would always play it for him. I could never resist the urge to dance with him. John was by far my favorite dance partner at Valhalla, Loverboy or not. -Shea


In my four years here at Rice, sometimes I feel like the person I've learned from most is John. It was the million little things he taught me about how to run Valhalla, the million stories he shared about the bar and the university's history, or that if you want to chug a yard, all you need is determination and patience (lots of patience). I will treasure the memories I have of John, Kyle and myself down at the bar on Sundays for our work days, painting, sanding, staining, cleaning, "organizing", and drinking. What I will really miss though, is the dancing. -- Jenni Greeson




John had a magnificent collection of wind up toys next to where he kept his Wild Turkey.




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