But I've never had to write one for a friend before.
John died very quickly - the first email indicating that he was going to go into hospice care was only April 4.
That same day, obviously thinking he had lots of time left on the earth, I received this from him:
Thanks for calling me this a.m. flash from the past and always great to hear from you. I am looking forward to the big bash this summer we can reunite on the "lake that is tied in the middle" If I can swing it I will be buying a brick to memorialize my existense and maybe a quote about not going quietly into the night, O Captain, my Captain. And god willing, we will hoist a few dark brews for those fallen and for those brave enough to face Life's Chall-anges pronounced in the style of Cousteau. Peace, love and Power to the People.
John's wife Paula told me that John (who she called JR) really appreciated all the phone calls and attempts at contact in his last days.
What follows is the obituary that I submitted to the Jamestown Post-Journal for publication. It won't look quite like this when the professional journalists get done hacking it...
John Michael Rupp
7-21-1947 to 4-18-2006
7-21-1947 to 4-18-2006
John Michael Rupp died April 18, 2006 at his home in South Burlington, Vermont.
At the time of his death, Mr. Rupp had been battling with cancer for several years. He died peacefully in the company of family and friends, wishing him well on his last journey.
Mr. Rupp was born in Bradford, Penn., July 21, 1947 but grew up in Lakewood, New York where he was raised by his parents, the late Frances Hoy Rupp and the late Emerson Joyce Rupp.
He attended local schools and graduated from Southwestern Central High School in Jamestown, N.Y. in 1966. In high school, Mr. Rupp distinguished himself working on the student newspaper, The Trojan, as a columnist, as well as winning numerous tennis matches on the school tennis team, earning his varsity letter. He also was member of the wrestling, cross country and soccer teams.
After graduation, he attended the University of Miami, where he studied psychology. He later attended the Esalen Institute and Naropa for massage training.
Mr. Rupp was an avid naturalist and worked at a number of occupations in his life, doing caretaking, security, landscaping and massage, especially with the Tyler Place, a resort in Vermont. He also enjoyed working as a volunteer interpretive guide in Kauai, his adopted home for 20 years before he moved to Vermont. He also lived in Colorado for some time. Almost all of Mr. Rupp’s homes were in mountain areas.
He was an avid runner, backpacker and enjoyed playing tennis. His most enjoyable moments were spent with his family, wife Paula, and daughter Noelani, 4.
In addition to his wife and daughter, (both of South Burlington, Vermont) he is survived by his son, Orion Penn, 31 of Seattle.
Also living in loving memory of John is his hanai son Ki’ai Barretto and hanai daughter Ka’iulani Baretto, both of Kauai, his Hawaii ohana, and numerous devoted friends around the world and across the country.
The family thanks all of the physicians and hospice staff and personnel for their gentle care.
Mr. Rupp’s ashes will be brought to Kauai for a memorial service May 13.
On July 21, Mr. Rupp’s birthday, there will be a remembrance hike up Mt. Philo in Charlotte, Vermont to honor his life.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be sent to his daughter Noelani’s college fund at 201 Brand Farm Drive, South Burlington, VT 05403.