Tomorrow will mark the 11th anniversary of the death of John Tripp. It was a beautiful morning that day. The sun was shining and the temperature was around 70 degrees. The birds were chirping and all was well with the world until I got the call.  John Tripp had suddenly passed away. I remember being totally overwhelmed with numbness and asking "My God, how could this be?"  He was only 58 years old.  I had just left him an hour earlier after having our usual Saturday morning group breakfast. He went home and took his usual neighborhood walk.  Who could have known it would be his last one. If you knew John you were blessed. If you didn’t, it was your loss. To say he had an impact on many would be an understatement.

He was a husband, father, grandfather, intelligent, humorous, predictable at times and unpredictable at other times, outspoken to say the least, a mentor to many, a wonderful Exchange Club member, a 1972 graduate and huge supporter of Culver-Stockton College, life-long New York Yankee fan and he was my best friend.  It was John who gave me the nickname of the “Big Dog”, a nickname that has stuck with me and that I still use today on Y101.

John was so many things to so many people especially for the terminally ill. It was John Tripp who established the Hospice Program at Blessing Hospital. It’s a program that thousands utilized to comfort the terminally ill and their families. It is a program still in use today to comfort people.

Eleven years has come and gone without my friend. Time continues on without him, but the memories he made for people still remain strong. Thank God we all still have those memories. My thoughts go to John’s family this weekend as they too share some wonderful memories.

The "Big Dog" still misses you big time and I know I am not the only one!