In Memory Of John …

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Today in the middle of teaching I got a phone call. It was one of my previous media/video associates telling me that our mutual friend and previous co-worker, John Sacrenty had died. He had been working on a project and wasn’t feeling all that great. He went to take a nap for a while and when his wife went in to wake him up, he had passed away. So many memories flooded through my mind.

John and I worked together in the early eighties on large multi-screen, multi-image projects. Some of them were a lot of work, with intense deadlines etc. One of them in particular took an enormous toll on both of us physically. It started out as something that sounded doable. But the show ultimately was a nightmare to work on, with an unrealistic deadline and a lot of pressure. We spent several months working almost round the clock with literally 2 or 3 hours a night sleep. By the time we put the show together it was like something out of a bad horror movie. We were stuck alone in the middle of a stormy Michigan winter in the ranch house of a summer camp. No one else was there but a bunch of very cold animals. By then both of our health was failing. Even though we were in our 20’s I was actually afraid that we wouldn’t live through the experience. I was hallucinating from lack of sleep. John started having seizures. By the time we were done with it all neither one of us was the same physically. John especially was sick a lot and never had the same level of energy. Somehow we lived through it together.

The good news for John was that he met the love of his life there. I think that by far was the brightest spot in the whole ordeal. I will also say that show touched many people’s lives. It was seen all over the country. It was trouped by many large ministries. It took on a life of it’s own and continued on long after we went home and tried to nurse ourselves back to health.

John was an amazing human. He was quite the quirky character… and character was a good word for him. He had a brilliant mind and was amazing at what he did. He had that creative spark that is so rare. He wasn’t afraid to try different things. He also had no corporate interpersonal skills. He was no brown noser… which drove the poor middle management guys at the companies who hired us to do their media crazy. John wasn’t impressed by power or position. I think in someways the big corporate mucky mucks liked that because we would just treat them like normal human beings. John looked for and respected people who had character and backbone… and that he respected.

He could be exasperating sometimes while he was working… he would be so focused that it was hard to get his attention. He was not a big multi-tasker. But he would pick up conversations we had started weeks or months before without warning or explanation in the middle of something else. Luckily somehow I could follow that. I actually punched him one night he aggravated me so much. But there’s so much that I loved about him. I loved his intensity and his passion for the things he threw himself in. I loved his love for Julie, his wife and his growing family. He was very conservative in his politics and very opinionated about the state of Christianity in the US. We didn’t always totally agree, but I loved his willingness to really think the stuff through. I’m sure some people would call him a curmudgeon. To me he was just a quirky, great guy.

I’m going to miss him. Even all these years later we still would keep in touch. He would send emails about stuff that he was either fuming or musing over. Sometimes he would call me when he was off on the road working. A few years ago he called and there was a huge noise in the background. When I asked him where he was, he said he was backstage… he was on tour with Metalica doing their media. I couldn’t even imagine him being able to stand listening to their music. But he loved his family and was willing to do whatever it took to provide for them.

And now he’s gone. And his wife will somehow have to go on and try to figure out how to take care of all the kids. It’s the curse of the self employed that there isn’t the good insurance plan to fall back on.

And tonight I feel old. Most times that time in my life seemed like yesterday. But then something like this happens… or I look in the mirror and see the gray hair… and realize that was a lifetime away. Goodbye my friend.
Originally published July 11th, 2006

Nancy Said…

“I remember you telling me about John. I feel for his wife’s and their kids’ loss. Yes, now that we are “gettin’ up there” we will be seeing more and more of our friends passing away. I was just thinking about that recently as David was telling me about his chest pains. Oh joy. But it does make me want to make the most out of each day and treat life more as an adventure. I feel a sense of wanting to be childlike again, to be able to turn off the responsible adult brain and just enjoy the simple everyday things. The other day I walked the dogs just before sunset. The air was cooling down and walking in the breeze felt so good after the hot day of hellish stillness. I hope I can learn how to play again.”

Karen Said..

“I’m sad for your loss of this special friend. You had JUST talked about him to me on Saturday at lunch. What a privilege to have known him, and for him to have known you. I wonder what sort of multi-media welcoming event he is in charge of for God. I’ll look forward to meeting him in the future good life. Trusting you’ll introduce us?”

Raw Faith Said…

“Nancy… playing good… childlike good… too much adulthood bad.”

Welcome to the wacky world of blogging. Thanks for leaving a comment. It is kind of weird that we just talked about all that this last week.”

Kerri Said …

“Even though I already knew about John’s passing, I find myself wanting to say something comforting. On the other hand, there is really nothing to say. This man was a great friend that earned your respect and love. Losing that is profound and mere words can not lessen the pain. But it strikes me that although I know that to be true, I still want to say something. I still want to take the edge from your pain. I do not want you to suffer. But then again, maybe that would disrespect who John was. What kind of a man was he if mere words could lessen how deeply you feel his loss. I suppose the enormity of the pain you feel is in itself a testimony to the man he was.”


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