Mary Ann Johnson was born October 23, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas and died July 7, 2008 in Austin, Texas. The daughter of Solomon Wilson Johnson and Betty Marie (Hutton) Johnson, she lived in many locations around the world while her father was in the air force, including Japan, Bermuda, and Alaska.Ann overcame significant physical challenges and graduated from Southwest Texas University before completing a career as a Disability Examiner for the Social Security Administration in Austin.Ann was an avid “Trekkie” which led her to a vast circle of friends around the country. She helped in establishing at least two Austin Star Trek Fan Clubs: IDIC and The Star Trek Austin Regulars (STAR) in the 1980’s and 1990’s. She is a current member of the Eastern Star and any donations can be made in her name to the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Dallas, Texas.Ann is survived by cousins and many friends. Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 12, 2008 at Cook Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar, Austin (Viewing permitted one hour before services). Graveside service will follow at Live Oak Cemetery, Manchaca, Texas.I suggest this for a poem. It is the original theme for Star Trek as written by Gene Roddenberry. If this doesn’t work for you let me know. I have other options I can come up with that would be meaningful for her.Beyond the rim of the starlight,
my love is wandering in star flight.
I know he’ll find
In star clustered reaches
Love, strange love
A starwoman teaches.
I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while
He wanders his starry sea,
My favorite comic, George Carlin, kicked it last night (George, if you were in my address book, your six weeks would start today. I only wish I’d known you well enough to be able to erase you from the address book in six weeks) I’d like to make it to 71 myself, so I’m not going to shed too many tears for his passing. 71 ain’t half bad, I’d settle for that.
Still, I remember a bit that he did ages ago when the “no heroic efforts” directives to doctors and hospitals were making headlines, and his take on the subject was predictably non-conformist. Of the hundreds of clips on YouTube, none of them feature the segment that I remember, and I’m not going to attempt to paraphrase the master from memory.
Suffice it to say, If there was one more tube available to plug into some hole or other on the man, maybe he’d still be with us.
Upon his death HBO broadcast 11 of his 14 HBO specials from June 25 to 28, including a 12-hour marathon block on their HBO Comedy channel. NBC scheduled a rerun of the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live, which Carlin hosted. Both Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Raw Dog Comedy” and XM Satellite Radio’s “XM Comedy” channels ran a memorial marathon of George Carlin recordings the day following his death. Larry King devoted his entire show of June 23 to a tribute to Carlin, featuring interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Roseanne Barr and Lewis Black, as well as Carlin’s daughter Kelly and his brother, Patrick Jr. On June 24, The New York Times printed an op-ed piece on Carlin by Jerry Seinfeld. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau paid tribute in his Doonesbury comic strip on July 27.Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Well, calling him my ‘father-in-law’ is simplifying things quite a bit, but that is what he was. Grandfather to my children, husband to my wife’s mother. True, the man that my wife called ‘father’ died several years ago, an event that changed all our lives quite a bit. But does that fact make the passing of this man less than her father’s passing?
This was a good man; a man of the earth, and a man of deep faith. A widower who was just as alone as the woman he met at church one Sunday. After a few years of friendship they decided to spend the rest of the time they had together; and they were happy together. My children enjoyed spending time with G-ma and Grampa Henry; would it be wrong to observe “more than when Grandma lived by herself?” Henry reminded me of my own long departed grandfather in many ways. He had a sharp wit, and a gentle disposition; someone who was sure of who and what he was in life.
Looking back, I wish “the rest of their time” had been more than it was. Four short years after we witnessed their marriage, Henry was gone from us, taken by a disease that none of us had heard of before. My son, now about the same age as his sister was when she had to say goodbye to her first grandpa, looked at me with the same questioning eyes; what does it mean, where did he go?
Questions I don’t have any answers for. Other people comfort themselves with stories of a beautiful afterlife that is much like this one; fanciful visions of angels and visiting loved ones who are long gone. Though I never spoke to Henry about his beliefs, as a practicing Catholic, I’m sure his views of the afterlife were similar. I hope that his beliefs were comforting to him; in the end, that is the purpose of religion.
The answer I offered my son was similar to the one I offered my daughter, “he’s in a better place”. Since both men were in constant pain (when un-medicated) before their deaths, it’s a fairly safe bet that the observation would be true. But what does it mean? I don’t want to delude my children, nor do I want to crush them with the weight of harsh reality. For me, the meaning of “better place” is somewhere between non-experience (the ending of this consciousness that is ‘me’) and surfing the cosmic flux, and I don’t really know which end it will favor when the time comes. Nor, after reading some of the weightier reflections on the subject, do I find that I really care. Having decided that spending time in fear of being sentenced to hell by a vengeful god was a waste, I instead actually try living my life; so that when it’s “Times Up” I don’t experience the “I should have’s”.
Which is perhaps the reason why I’ve been absent for the last month. Just making sure I’m spending my time wisely.
As an afterthought, the other thing that these two wonderful men had in common is they both trusted MDs at the local hospital to diagnose their maladies. And in both cases, the doctors failed them miserably. The wife’s father was killed by overdoses of radiation used to treat a non-existent tumor. Grandpa Henry was killed by the failure of these same doctors to properly diagnose a disease; a disease that ‘the wife’ correctly identified just using the symptoms and looking it up on the internet, a process that took less than an hour. Not that knowing what it was did any good. Cancer is like that when it is in it’s advanced stages.
The MDs could possibly have averted it if they had done their homework when they were first presented with the problem. I only wish that we had realized that he was going to the same doctors earlier than we had. Perhaps we would still have grandpa Henry with us. Probably not. Cancer is like that.
He was the first presidential candidate that I actually believed in when I cast my vote for him (two times, even) I wish I could say he was “my friend” or that I “knew him well”, but we only met briefly, once during each campaign. He had what was needed in a presidential candidate, that air of confidence and and charisma that makes you want to trust him.
We’ll miss you, Harry.