Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hej Ainar, tousen tack.

My dearest, oldest friend John Lindholm, left us April 15, 2017.
I am heartbroken. We were all set to drive down to NC and see him the following week.
Born in Sweden, John spent his life just being ALIVE. He had raced motorcycles, kept old VWs running, could fix anything, for that matter (Once, while boating to Block Island, the Lucas alternator in my little boat fell apart, and John said, "no problem, when we get to Block, I'll go the the junk yard and find an old alternator and put it in. And he did just that.)  He flew small planes, rebuilt boats ("there is nothing made of fiberglass that can't be fixed!"), had been a professional photographer, scuba dived, and lived aboard his sailboat FENIX (yes, it had been severely damaged in a fire and he made it rise from the ashes). He then lived aboard the second Fenix, a 42' Gulfstar, in the Caribbean. Brenda, in the photo, was constantly at his side. John was a graduate electronics engineer and ham radio operator (KA2SAV). We all studied for, and received, our ham licenses at about the same time c. 1984. We spoke via ham radio most days, even if only for a minute or two. He was a volunteer firefighter. He was the first gravlax maker I knew. Skinny as a rail, too. He survived a death-defying incident in his boat where he was entrapped in the engine shaft and had to be rescued by the Coast Guard and West Palm Beach firefighters 40 miles offshore. He spoke half a dozen languages and could joke in all. A great teller of tales, a raconteur extraordinaire. I can't recall that I ever saw him lose his temper.  An amazing 89 year run. The most interesting person I've ever known. I will miss him sorely.

1 comment:

Eric Heiberg said...

Harris, Thank you for this piece. John was the best step father that I could have asked for, in part I think because he didn't try to be one, he just was one. He was always there when we needed him, whether he was fixing something for us, showing us how to fix something, talking to us, debating with us, encouraging us or whatever. He was always upbeat about whatever we were doing. He was always there. He exemplified himself in the Christmas gift that he gave me when i was 15. The gift was a screwdriver set and a wrench set that I use to this day. How was he like that screwdriver and wrench set you ask? Thoughtful, Helpful. He was never as happy as when he was helping someone. He was a rare gift indeed. He was patient, he spent time with us, he taught us (sometimes without even knowing that he was doing so), and he was an inspiration to both myself and my brother in becoming Engineers. He opened our world to boating and the sea. He taught us sailing such that it is like riding a bike to us; second nature. Besides boating skills, he taught me mechanical skills, and patiently helped me to build a Volkswagon engine whe i was in High school. This was much more than a great learning experience for me. Not to mention providing me mobility in the form of a car, to this day I believe that my essay on building this engine is what gained me admission to Cooper Union and helped form my engineering education and career. He was serious but did not take himself too seriously. he could be goofy and clown around. One of my fond images is from just a year or two ago of he and my mother dancing to an old 1970's record that I had found. They were moving and laughing like kids. He was always glad to see us and always gracious when he came to visit. I consider myself lucky to have been honored by his presence for so long. I loved him dearly, I love him dearly, and I too will miss him sorely.