I edit three forestry-themed magazines, all of which my dad wrote for over the years. He was a good writer. Not flashy or exceptionally proficient, but he wrote interesting articles about people in the forestry business that my readers really liked to read. He connected with people; working people. That was one of his many talents. He was an avid reader (haunted the Goodwill book shelves), which is a big part of what made him such a good writer. I also edited his one book, entitled "The Good Woodcutter's Guide," which is available on Amazon.
Anyway, I had the distinct honor of writing his obits for these publications and while they differed depending on the magazine, the one I'm happiest with actually lists two things he was passionate about, but unsuccessful in. When I get to my other computer, I'll paste a copy. But I've been thinking recently that pointing out a guy's failures is an odd thing to do in an obituary. Typically, we celebrate successes, of which he had many.
But I decided to write what I did because it represents one final chance for him to possibly make a difference in two areas he cared about, albeit from the grave. I wanted to remind those who stood in his way that I haven't forgotten what he was trying to accomplish, and perhaps reading about it in his obit will help nudge them into action. My mother, who knew him best, of course, gave these short obits an enthusiastic thumbs up, so I'm comfortable with this rather unconventional approach. It will be interesting to see how my readers react.
Here it is:
Contributing writer, David C. Johnson, died October 20 following a brief illness. He was 79. Johnson, a tree farmer and logger from Coloma, Wisconsin, wrote for numerous publications serving landowners and the forest products industry. He was an early adopter of safer manual logging techniques promoted in North America by Swedish logger and trainer Soren Eriksson, which he used when working on his own land, and was always eager to share that knowledge with others. One of his many interests was researching logging accidents reported in local newspapers, in an attempt to find out more about the circumstances of these tragedies, so that others might learn to avoid similar accidents. Unfortunately, he often found that detailed information was either not available, or not willingly shared by those directly involved. Another one of his passions was to make landowners in Wisconsin aware of the difference between calculating stumpage payments by the cord vs. by weight. He pointed out that wood bought by the cord but sold by the ton carried potential--but invisible--losses to the landowner. He advocated the adoption of a universally standard conversion factor for converting cords to tons, so that all wood bought and sold in the state would be measured equally. Again, he had little success in this effort. "Those who stand to lose the most aren't usually aware of the problem," he often said, "And those in a position to make them aware that there is a potential problem, are unwilling to do so.
Dx: 3/09, Stage 4 RC
Recurrences: (ongoing, lung, bronchial cavity, ribs)
Major Ops: 6/ RFA: 3 /bronchoscopies: 8
Pelvic radiation: 5 wks. Bronchial radiation—brachytheray: 3 treatments
Chemo Rounds (career):136
Current Chemo Cocktail: Xeloda & Erbitux & Irinotecan biweekly
Current Cocktail; On the Wagon (mostly)
Bicycle miles post-dx 10,477
Motto: Live your life like it's going to be a long one, because it just might, and then you'll be glad you did.