Thursday, December 08, 2005

For John Root

A friend sent along a note. Yesterday morning John Root died of bladder cancer. He had been ill for a while and longed for peace. He died within the peace of his family in Boca Raton. He will be missed.

I first met John in 1992, when we were both part of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers in Ukraine. What caught your attention with John was that he was fun, wise, very unpretentious, and quiet. Many of us thought that John was the most likely candidate in our group to be a CIA plant. Apparently, we were wrong about this. John’s first assignment in the Peace Corps was in Chernihiv. Possibly his most important work in Chernihiv was his s analysis of the beer bottle supply problem of the city. Later he moved to Kyiv and worked for the National Import-Export Bank. His worked there was useful and remembered. John extended his Peace Corps service and went to work for Ukraine International Airlines. His service at the airline continued after leaving the Peace Corps. He enjoyed working at the airline and felt that his background in law and finance was useful to Ukraine International. For many years, photos of the staff of the airline featured John in his twill jacket, the same jacket in every photo, the same jacket he wore in the Peace Corps. John always enjoyed a routine; Sunday afternoons was for his Russian language classes, which were generally featured watching Soviet movies on TV with his language teacher. After spending a few years in Kyiv, John moved to Berlin but still working on a consulting basis for Ukraine International. Finally, he returned to Florida to his family.

John was our best man at our wedding. He did a fine job as best man, doing what was appropriate with a sense of style and humor. Again, we will miss him.

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