Rembering a good friend

     Today I was standing in my sun room, looking out the window and watching it snow.  My friend John Deppe built that room in 2004.  John died August 8 this year (1942-2012). 
     He was a wonderful man.  John was gentle, quiet and he could build or fix anything!  I mean anything.  John had built or fixed things for scores and scores and scores of people throughout Urbana, Illinois.
     Back in June he came over for a glass of iced tea.  We sat in the sun room, and I enjoyed watching him admire his handiwork.  He was a humble man who was still amazed every time one of his projects came together.  John loved to work with wood.  He was handy and he was artistic.  Kind of a handy artisan who was amazed by how things could be conceived of and then built out of wood. That’s why he was so fun to have him do your projects.  He was confident but still amazed when things worked like he hoped they would.
     Over the years John built a custom-made shelf for my micro-wave.  He once installed a dishwasher that tried to be stubborn, but John wrestled with it until it was perfect.  Another time he removed linoleum glued to my wood floor and then sanded and varnished it.  It was beautiful when he was finished.  He installed several new toilets over the years.  He took out a stove built into the top of the cabinet and replaced it with a new stove.  Those are a few of the many projects he did for Jennifer and me over the last 20 years.
     I can still see John standing back and looking at the project, especially before he started and then after he was finished.  He’d talk to himself or to you, if you were there.  Finally, he’d go to work, his tools often at his side inside a 5-gallon white plastic tub.  Sooner or later you would have your completed project.  I saw John do this over and over. 
     What a great guy … quiet, gentle, kind and a great craftsman.  I so admired him, and I was smiling today looking out the window of the beautiful sun room built by John.  Rest in peace, old friend.

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