I remember the day like it was yesterday.  It was a sunny and warm morning. I just left my Saturday morning breakfast group and was heading to see my ailing mother in Kansas City.  I was near Columbia, Missouri when my cell phone rang. I thought about letting it go to voice mail, but this time I answered it. I wish I never did. What came next was word of the passing of my best friend John Tripp at the young age of 58. I couldn’t believe it. I just had breakfast with him a couple of hours ago and he looked fine. The rest of my drive to Kansas City was a blur.

Nine years ago today this community was dealt a blow when John suffered a major heart attack. John was a graduate of his beloved Culver-Stockton College, an institution that he referred to as “Harvard on The Hill”.

Many still call it that. He was good at renaming things and people including me as he is responsible for my being known today as "The Big Dog”. He also established the Hospice Program at Blessing Hospital which has served thousands over the years.

Like me, John was a New York State transplant and loved the Yankees. We would talk about the Yankees all the time and eventually we broadcast Little League baseball games at the Quincy YMCA which probably was the most fun I have ever had in broadcasting.

There are so many stories that could be told and if you knew John you had plenty of your own stories you could tell.

May 16, 2009 was a tough day for all who knew John and nine years later doesn’t make it much easier.  My thoughts are with John’s wife, Barb, and children Sara Betz and Meredith L’Heureux and their families today.