8 months, 2 weeks ago by Bob Gough
Nobody did it better than John Tripp
Five years seems like only yesterday, yet so much has changed.
The original piece I wrote about the passing of John Tripp in 2009 was lost following the demise of the old QuincyNews.org (talk about so much changing), but the feelings I have for the old man are still strong in my heart and in my mind.
Exchange Club meetings, golf outings, breakfast with the gang at the B and R (now O'Shea's...see? Change.) and John's advice when I went to him with the crazy idea of starting an independent news Website.
The shock I received when I got the phone call on the way back from my annual Strat-O-Matic baseball gathering in Bloomington and that I don't remember any of the rest of the drive home. The amazing tributes by his friends and family that followed over the next few weeks.
The program from his funeral still hangs in my office and our community calendar section is titled "Up, Down and Around Town" in honor of his long-running column that begame a blog in our Internet world.
The impact John had on so many lives is proven every year when May 16 rolls around. I was at a Cardinals game in St. Louis last year on this date and thought about him often during the game. He always referred to former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa mockingly as "a genius."
Below are the remarks STARadio VP/General Manager Mike Moyers wrote about John following his death in 2009:
"The community took a big hit last Saturday when it was learned that John Tripp had passed away.
It was sudden—totally unexpected---still not to be believed. John would have been 59 today. He was one of those special people—a person who could---- and did most everything—and did them well. John Tripp had the ability to think—and speak---in that order -- he made it look easy. In fact, he made most everything look easy—except hitting a fairway wood off of downhill lie. But then, who has that shot?
JT was in my office the Monday before his passing—a totally unexpected treat for me. We discussed some baseball, politics and stuff before he said, "what do you have around here I can do?? I’m bored…need to do some radio work. Doesn’t Mary ever go on vacation?” I asked how long he had been on the loose from Culver (the college had just gone on summer break) and he said, “Since Friday!! I’m bored.”
The topic turned to his collection of radios---John was a total radio freak---and he announced that he still had his original General Electric Super Radio---one that he bought around 1980. The Super Radio can pull in just about any AM signal on the dial and John and I used to compare notes on what or who we had listened on any given night long ago. John asked “Got anything new?”
I showed him my new RCA mp3 player with an FM radio and of course John had to hold it. He, as only Tripp could, asked about a dozen questions, made me show him how it worked and then asked, “How much and where’d you get it?” Once told he said, “I think I need one of those.” And off he went.
Many of us will remember John for so many different things.
His students at Culver Stockton loved him. I had the chance to meet with a number of them—and they all loved John. And, I’m sure we all have a John Tripp story or two that is sure to bring a smile and a laugh. He could do that to you. It is, however, at this moment—the passing of someone special—that John Tripp was at his best. As a member of the Quincy Exchange Club I witnessed John deliver a number of thought provoking, heartwarming eulogies for those in the club who had passed away. When asked to do so he graciously nodded and then proceeded to keep us spellbound as he delivered a few quiet, respectful, yet humorous thoughts about the person in question. Nobody does it better was one of John’s catch phrases…little did he know that collection of words would best describe our John Tripp.
So, with the Gus Macker tournament about to unfold those in the food area in Washington Park will have to find someone to operate a spatula like John did for as long as the tournament has been around. Those will be big shoes to fill. John was all over and all about WTAD in the mid-nineties. And, as a fellow New Yorker, the right hand man for Jeff “Big Dog” Dorsey before and after that time period.
To his wife, Barb, and daughters Sara and Meredith and the immediate family--- you are in our thoughts and prayers. We thank you for sharing John--- the guy with the coast- to- coast moustache—the great smile and fast wit…this guy who listened first and spoke second. If you knew John, consider yourself lucky. If you didn't, you missed someone really special.
You see, nobody did it better than our John Tripp.