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His Name Is John Winter. He Was My Client. He Became My Friend.

John Winter 2009His name is John Winter.  John was referred to me by another client in 2006. He was raised in New York, and I was a Jersey kid growing up, and we just hit it off. Some clients become friends.  John was one of those.

John's daughter Trish (light of his life, and his only Tucson relative) emailed me Sunday afternoon to say that her Dad had died in his sleep on Saturday night. 

Not possible!  I had seen him Tuesday night for a couple of hours at a job search function, and he was excited about the possibility of a position with Asarco Mines Railroad Division.  (John was an absolute genius with things mechanical, and that had come to the attention of Asarco's HR department.) 

The new moon was bright as he said goodbye to me, mounted his big BMW motorcycle, and headed on home.  I remember standing still in the parking lot, listening to the beautiful sound of that powerful BMW engine as it faded into the distance.

Memorial:

This morning as I write this post, (with thanks to John's sister Holly) there are two books on my desk next to me.  Both were John's.  One is John's address book, and I put it to good use yesterday afternoon.  The other is his New Testament, and I'll have the privilege of reading from that this morning at his memorial service(Please click that link.)

John's Address Book:

I spent the day yesterday calling people I don't know because they were in John's address book, inviting them to his memorial service. If you were special to John in some way, your name was in that address book.  Clients, Real Estate agents, loan officers, friends, family, suppliers, even a contact at Barrett - Jackson, the classic car auction company.  (John has a 1951 Dodge Woody.)

"You don't know me," I said, "but we both know John Winter."  "Your name's written in his address book, along with your phone number.  I'm calling to invite you to attend his memorial service tomorrow.  We'd like to fill the room in John's memory for his daughter and family who are coming in from out of state." 

John's New Testament:

I'll have the privilege in a couple of hours to read from the second book at John's memorial service.  John's namesake is the Apostle John, who wrote in his gospel "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

You wouldn't peg my friend John as the stereotype the media has plastered on the Christian faith he held. 

(Actually, I think it's safe to say that nothing about John Winter was stereotypical.  Neither will be his memorial service, after which everyone will be invited next-door to the Bashful Bandit bar for a Tequila Toast to John.)

But a conversation we had one day while we were remodeling his kitchen stays with me.  9/11 hit him like a ton of bricks, especially as New York is John's hometown.  We talked about the difference between two world views, one of which says "God wants you to die" and the other which says "God died for you, and wants you to live." 

My friend John Winter held that second world view, as do I, and I expect to see him again.

 

EDIT:  By 10:00 this morning, the chapel was half full.  Tucson is a laid back town, so we didn't start on time.  We waited another 15 minutes, and by the time we started remembering John in our stories, the room was full, and people were standing in the back.

From the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament:  "The Lord bless you, and keep you.  The Lord cause His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."

___________________

I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE
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Comment balloon 19 commentsMike Jones • November 21 2009 08:56AM

Comments

Mike, I didn't know John but now I feel I do.  My bible study is doing an overview of the bible and this weeks study is on John.  James and John were given the names Sons of Thunder and it sounds like that name applies to your John also. 

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) about 11 years ago

I wish I had met your friend John, Mike. Sounds like he was quite a man of his convictions, with SPIRIT! What a wonderful tribute to him. XXOO

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing about 11 years ago

What a wonderful testimony to your friendship and faith Mike. John sounds like he was a special man and I too believe that in our "dying" we will truly live. Thank you for sharing here and may the Spirit be with you all today and you remember your friend.

In His love,

Your friend Karen

Posted by Karen Otto, Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes (Home Star Staging) about 11 years ago

Wow Mike...he sounds like a wonderful man that will not easily be forgotten. May you, his family, and friends continue to share in His word today as you remember his contribution to the world.

May he Rest in Peace and dance in Heaven!

Posted by Bill Nazur (First Lending Solutions) about 11 years ago

Mike,

I'm so sorry for your loss! God works so mysteriously, he surrounds us with so many people, but with so few truly great friends. It's no comfort today, but you'll soon find that the memories of the good things such friends added to your life out weigh the pain of their loss.

Two years ago I loss my friend Bob Martel. Bob and I talked almost every week day and spent most Fridays together, I was working he was ridding along. We'd missed the last two weeks and hadn't talked all week when he called late one Sunday afternoon. It was a strange call, but we made plans to get together Monday. I was shocked several hours later when his wife called to say he died 2 hours earlier. I think Bob knew, because the last thing he said to me was to call before I come to pick him up. I gave the eulogy talking about the memories. I think about Bob espicialey Fridays about the good times and the good we did together. I've been blessed by the people in my life.

When the pain passes you'll find that John blessed you, he may be gone but his blessing will always be with you!

Bill

http://activerain.com/blogsview/142448/Who-Have-You-Talked

 

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) about 11 years ago

Mike...... I am featuring this post in,"Christianity and Real Estate" as a prayer request for the family, friends and all the people your buddy John Winter touched during his life.

THANK you for alerting me to this post, Mike......

May our Creator Father God minister comfort and healing in Johns sphere of influence....... in our beloved Messiah Jesus' wonderful name(s).....

"The Lord is near to the broken hearted and crushed in spirit......"


\O/

 

Posted by Alexander Harb, Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing (Knights Investing) about 11 years ago

This is quite sad -- you are doing a nice thing for him and his family. All the best.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 11 years ago

Mike- And I know without a doubt that you will see John again for God called him home for there is much work to do beyond the veil. I am sure he is busy in the service of our God for the benefit of man. Thank you for sharing his story and your friendship. Katerina 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) about 11 years ago

Katerina,

This life is just the beginning, and God is good.  Thanks for commenting.

Bob & Carolin,

We just never know...  John will be missed.  The memorial chapel was filled, and the stories people related touched our hearts.

Alex,

Thanks for featuring the post on your group page.

Bill A,

Your comment IS a comfort today.  Thank you.

Bill N,

There must have been 75 people in the Chapel, and every story unlocked a memory for others.  One woman came because she was in John's address book, and she didn't know why.  He just made an impression!

Karen,

Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.  In the midst of sorrow, God is our comfort.

Susie,

He was a man with SPIRIT.  You would have loved him.

Marchel,

Thanks for being the first to comment.  John has many biker friends, and had the Apostle John and his brother James been contemporary, I think the back of their leather jackets would have had the words SONS OF THUNDER.  I said as much at the memorial.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

Good Evening - John and I were touched by your blog tonight - you are such an incrediblle person and like they say, God doesn't give you more than you can handle - you don't need to be strong - just let your emotions show through and that is what GOD would want.  We are thinking about you tonight.  Lots of love from John and Kathie

Posted by Kathie Morgan about 11 years ago

Mike - I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.  But I have learned that God calls His special children home when they are needed.  His plan for John is greater than anything we will ever know.  You were blessed to have John's friendship ... but in return ... John was blessed to call you friend, as well. 

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) about 11 years ago

Mike, thank you for your kind words, and leading John's memorial service.  It truly was amazing how John could just attract all sorts of people like moths to light.  Trish (and I) are devastated by his sudden loss and I know for one I am asking "why?" quite a bit, and admittedly with a bit of anger.  He was supposed to walk Trish down the aisle next year. But I simply have to accept, whether there is a bigger picture or not, and move on.  All I know is I will honor John's memory by striving to be the best friend and husband for Trish, and to make sure our future children will know how wonderful John was.  John, rest in peace.  You will be missed.

Posted by Graeme about 11 years ago

Graeme,

I'm honored to have known John, and through this tragedy, to have met you and Trish.  You created an amazing visual memorial to John's memory.  Thank you!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

I knew John in a roundabout way. I met him while racing in Baja. We had both come to help out a mutual friend.

Here's a quick story I remember about John. Brent, myself and John were exploring near the Mogollon Rim north of Young, AZ. Brent and I had our XR dirt bikes so we thought the rest of the group would wait at camp for us. Not so fast, John had his trusty BMW that he had brought up. He even had some offroad tires on it. I couldn't believe he was going to take a 30+ year old beemer on the trails we were going on. 

He did. Amazingly he followed us everywhere. A few bumps and scratches later I know he had a good time. 

That sums up the John that I knew. Nuts!

Rest in peace man.

Tim

P.S. Someone take care of that old bike. Its a great bike and I loved watching it progress as he worked on it over the years.

Posted by Tim Huber about 11 years ago

Tim,

That old 30-plus-year-old Beemer was front and center in the Funeral Home Chapel.  I'm sure Trish & Graeme are taking good care of it.

Thanks for your story about John.  Tell your friends to come back and write their stories.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

I have no doubt John Winter was honored to have you as a friend.  What an honor to speak at his service. 

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) about 11 years ago

It's a blessing to read about your tribute to your friend John Winter.  I was able to join with others to pray for his loved ones remaining until they join with him eternally.  May memorable times and the grace of God comfort you and his family.

Posted by Diane Rice, SFR, SRES, CNC ( Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL) about 11 years ago

Sorry to hear of the loss of you friend. May he rest in peace and may his family have the peace and comfort of our Lord to keep them going.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) almost 11 years ago

When you say to yourself "I can't figure things out," God says "I will direct your steps." Proverbs 3:5-6 and this is a beautiful forum you created to share His message.

Thank you for being his friend.

Posted by Brandi (First former Mrs. John Winter) almost 11 years ago

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