He was a cheery man, always curious, often too totally absorbed in the pages of Mortgage Finance Gazette, which he edited for six years, to join in the daft editorial office mayhem. John was most often seen shuttling in and out, particularly around lunchtime, with commercial manager Mike Mortimore, sipping his Cappuccinos which left chocolate on his top lip, hunched over his desk or sharing the edition’s top news story with anyone in earshot.
He enjoyed a rage-fuelled rant after rudeness or an injustice and harboured magnificent grudges.
John was always generous in his praise of good journalism, found time for people and was consistently up for an inappropriate pint. He spoke often and lovingly about Pam his gorgeous wife who he always considered far ‘too good for him’ and his son Nick, daughter Natasha and grandson Thomas.
He had always fostered loftier ambitions, which he realised writing three novels, penning the one he appeared the most proud of, Elvis and the Virgin Mary in 2015.
More recently, John’s Facebook page was testament to the frequent walks he took in South London with his wife Pam and his love of wildlife photography. His passion for travel culminated in a Chimpanzee and Mountain gorilla tracking trip to Uganda just before his cancer diagnosis.
John was born in Kidderminster to an Austrian mother and an Irish father from County Mayo. He grew up in Shepherds Bush, was an ardent QPR fan and flitted between journalism and PR throughout his career which began in the 1960s with Sun Alliance and London Insurance Group. He moved into training at the Distributive Industry Training Board pioneering the use of video as a learning tool then on to the Building Societies Association (BSA) in 1982 to manage corporate communications and commercial activities.
He became editor of Mortgage Finance Gazette in 2000 at Charterhouse Communications, the place where so many of us started out and moved to Lending Strategy in 2006 where he reigned supreme until 2009 when the crash tumbled the standalone magazine but John stayed on as consulting editor.
John died at home in his own bed last week, after a brave battle with cancer.
In his own words, John said: “By accident rather than design I found myself as an expert in housing finance but at a strategic rather than an operational level.
“As a journalist I liked exploring new ideas and challenging old mantras, and this is exactly what I have continued to do in my books.”
The last time I saw John was two years ago, give or take, for another inappropriate pint in the Cittie of Yorke in Holborn. He lovingly re-told me the plot of Elvis and the Virgin Mary which I promised I’d read but never did. I looked the book up again on Amazon today which involves Elvis returning from the dead, a heroine committed by parents to a mental institution and a reality TV series which all climaxes in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Nice one John.
I’m going to have a pint, raise it to you and start reading tonight.
With thanks to Pamela Murray and family.
Buy the Kindle version of Elvis and the Virgin Mary here.