Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mom's Eulogy for John and John's Eugoogly

This is a copy of what Mom read for John (her own words and an email a dear friend wrote about John) on Friday followed by words John wrote for us to share.

    I am truly honored and overwhelmed by the turnout.  So many of you have shared stories and pictures over the past few days  A dear friend shared these thoughts.
   " One thing that came to me as I pondered the "why" of this is that I hope no one will ever say that he lost his battle to brain cancer.   Out of the blue brain cancer struck and he never stopped fighting.  In the process he accomplished so much - he showed people how to stand up to this disease.  He had a sense of the big picture - that brain cancer has to be cured and he took up that fight.  He raised money for research.  He shared through his blog and friendships so much information that will help others appreciate life and know how to confront disease when it comes - and it comes to everyone.
    John Paul showed what family means - you all shine as examples of caring and love.
    So brain cancer lost a lot of rounds in this fight with John Paul.  If he gets to rest now, it is not because he lost the fight, it is because he has accomplished enough for one cool guy to do.
    Tears accompany this - John Paul is so young.  But then I fear that he accomplished more in his years than I have in mine."
    John was John.  He left a lasting impression on all of us.  Even though he never asked to be anyone’s inspiration or hero, he became just that.  He did it by living each day …and in the past few years, living them with honesty and no regrets.

John left a few thoughts to share with all of you, so I will read them uncensored….

I am so arrogant and so controlling that yes I wrote my own eugoogly.  I really wanted to say things.  I’m not sure what the turnout looks like but I want to tell all of you some of the guiding principles in my life.  There are about 20 things I can say I did every day that made me the way I am.
·             Laugh,
·            get under someone’s skin for sport,
·           make a provocative statement which may be true,
·            tell a very descriptive story,
·           make a joke at someone else’s expense,
·           laugh,
·          • cry,
·          • get angry,
      • over extend yourself,
      • give unsolicited advice,
      • get stressed for no reason,
      • find one current event to form a crazy opinion on and tell everyone you can think of,
      • laugh,
      • cry,
      • and love the people in your life

Today you came for some reason but I liked to think you’d be here to honor what I wanted.  I had every right to not write a word to anyone.  I had every right to not see anyone.  And I had every right to quit so long ago.  I don’t know who is here obviously, but I hope that whoever is here, and whoever wanted to be here is what I imagined I left behind.  And that is an army of people who knew that I loved them as much as I could.  Who will always remember me as I hoped they would and not whatever I became as my mind wilted away or as my strength disappeared.  And I’d also ask that when you shed tears, when you get angry or feel agony, when you want to look at the sky with anger and want to shout, that instead you use that energy to make a difference in a way that aligns with the goal I have had all along.  That goal was to have people I met think they were a little better for having known me.  Guess I was the first one to go to bed at this party but don’t worry I’ll see you all on the other side.  Count on it.

Good night sweet prince may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Caroline's Tribute

This is a copy of the tribute I gave for my brother at the funeral.  

John Paul - My Superman

It feels like an impossible task to try to sum up my brother in a few minutes.  He loved hiking, cooking, traveling, and running.  But those were just things John did.  What made John so amazing was how he lived his life.  He was strong.  He was courageous.  He was funny.  He was loving.  He embodied so many virtues we’d all love to claim.  John may have seemed average to those who didn’t know him, but for me, he was my Superman.

When John was about 4, my Uncle Steve asked if he could be his friend.  John replied, “Sorry, I already have two friends - Papa and Superman.”  It’s a funny story, but it really is the opposite of who John grew to be.  His capacity for love was unparalleled.  I’ve never known anyone who was able to make friends and hold on to them the way John did.

John’s heart was enormous.  He made everyone feel that they were his closest friend and confidant.  I don’t say this to diminish anyone’s relationship with John.  I say this because John’s ability to love was that phenomenal.  There was room for all of us in John’s heart.  It was his super power.  He had enough love for us all.

Like John’s buddy Superman, he was also courageous. He was the most courageous person I’ve ever known.  I mean truly courageous.  He knew he was dying.  He knew these tumors would take his life.  He kept going.  He kept fighting, right until the very end. But before cancer, John was already courageous.  His fight with cancer may be our last memory of John, but it shouldn’t be our only memory of him.  He lived a fearless life.  He was intensely protective of his friends and family.  He was unafraid to show emotion. 

John couldn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he could jump: off of bridges (in Maine and Annapolis and who knows where else), into bodies of water because of bets, and from gondolas (in Switzerland) and cliffs (in the Alps and Lake George).  It’s how he lived his life – jumping in with both feet.

When we were kids, our bedrooms were right next to each other and we shared a wall.  Each night before we went to sleep we would knock on the wall and say, “I love you.”  That’s another thing about John.  You never wondered where you stood with him.  He wore his heart and his emotions on his sleeve.  If he loved you, you knew it.  If he was angry with you, you knew it.  Even if you didn’t have the opportunity to see John one last time, I doubt there is anyone here who wonders if John cared for them.

People were drawn to John.  His personality was magnetic.  He drew you in with his attentiveness and sincerity and then won you over with his humor.  One conversation with John and you were hooked. 

His humor was witty and quick.  He used it to defuse arguments or awkward situations or just to make you laugh.  John’s humor is what I will remember most about him - his ability to turn mundane moments into side-splitting adventures. It’s impossible to try to come up with simply one example that demonstrates John’s humor because every conversation he participated in was littered with sarcastic references, movie quotes or smart observational humor. He had the ability to be funny without hurting others.  Jokes were most often at his expense.

John could win an argument even if he was wrong.  He told me that the thing he hated about the iPhone was that it was making it much harder for him to win arguments when he was wrong (people could check his declarations immediately) - not that he couldn’t still win them, it just made it harder.

John was a good cook.  One of the last nights that we went out with John, we got sucked into a marathon of a TV show called “Chopped” before heading out for the evening.  I’m not really sure that the show is even that good, but John’s running commentary kept us all entertained to the point that we second guessed our original plans. We did eventually make it out that evening, but when John was around, there really wasn’t a need for other formal entertainment.

He knew random trivia. 

He loved the Patriots.

He could quote TV shows and movies like no one else and at exactly the right moment.

He was competitive.  After his last surgery, he told me that he was determined to beat my daughter, Lucy (who was 9 months old at the time) to walking.  When he did walk, he was so happy.  He sent me a video of himself taking unassisted steps with a note that said, “I pulled ahead of Lucy!” 

John loved running.  It was how he cleared his head and kept his cool.

John was humble.  I’ve heard that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he treats a waitress. I think you can tell more about a person by the way he treats his nurses and doctors.  Even during John’s last trip to the hospital he was polite and humorous.  He thanked the nurses and doctors for everything and apologized for requesting anything. 

I could talk about John for hours. Summarizing anyone’s life is hard, but it’s even harder when it’s Superman – someone who has lived such a rich and deep, even if brief, life. John did a lot of living in his 28 years. He often said that he never wanted to be anyone’s hero – but he was.  Simply by being John, he inspired us all to live better, fuller lives, and to not take anything for granted.  

As Mae West once said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Dad's Tribute

For those of you who couldn't make it or weren't able to hear this is a copy of my dad's tribute to John.

It is hard for me to put into words the grief I am feeling today.  It is any parent’s worst nightmare to bury their child, and today, I am faced with that task.  It is very comforting that so many friends of John gathered here today. 

John Petrovick has many friends.  Even though I was his father, I am proud to call myself a friend of John.  People say “If you want a friend, be a friend”.  I believe the number of friends John has is a testament that John Petrovick knew how to be a friend.  

John had a great love of nature.  He found peace in mountains, streams, forests, and the desert.  We first shared that peace on the beach in Ocean City, MD, and then later found it in places such as Lake Maranacook, the Appalachian Trail and the Grand Canyon.  I will treasure John’s friendship and the peace we shared in nature for the rest of my life.  

All families have a dynamic.  Part of the Petrovick family dynamic is competition.  We can turn any activity in a competitive event.  This is not limited to only games.  Oh no!  You might think people fish for relaxation.  Not in our family.  John was exposed to competitive fishing long before the professional bass tournements were broadcast on ESPN.  First fish, biggest fish, most fish were all part of any Petrovick family fishing trip.  Parents purchase Legos for their children to help them develop imagination and understand spatial relationships.  We built Lego boats, planes, spaceships, whatever, and then held monumental battles to see which design was the best.

Sometimes this competitive dynamic went too far.  In hindsight most of the time, the competition between Caroline, John and I went too far.  John was frequently the youngest, or smallest and so he was at a distinctive competitive disadvantage.  Caroline and I gave no quarter, and John never asked for any.  We have a saying in the Petrovick family:  “We’re not having fun, until some one is crying”.  As I have looked around the rooms yesterday and today, I must say John, lots of us are having fun. 

 In closing, John taught me the importance of humor.  He frequently used humor to make a point, or defuse an awkward situation.  Through his humor, he had a way of making others feel good inside.  Even though he was going through many different treatments, and enduring lots of pain, John would find humor in his situation.  He and I often joked about the lack of hair on our heads.  Let me assure you, in these exchanges, John gave as good as his got.  No quarter given, none taken.  

I know John would want us all to remain humorous and positive here today, and forever.  John, your fellowship, humor, competitive spirit, and bravery made you great.  Now with your passing to a greater place, allow it to make us all great.  I love you, John.  

Celebration of John's Life - Program

Program from the funeral service.


Slide show of John's adventures - December 13, 1983 - April 28, 2012

We love you John.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

WBAL TV News Story about John

What a great piece about John and how he inspired so many.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


John Paul Petrovick, 28, of Arnold and Baltimore, MD, died at home surrounded by family, on April 28, 2012 after fighting a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was born in Salisbury and raised in Millersville. John graduated from Archbishop Spalding High School, Stetson University, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and the University of Baltimore Law School in 2011. John was chosen to serve an internship with the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore. He also worked for the Maryland State Legislature. 

John loved life. He enjoyed hiking, snowboarding, cooking, and loved dogs. He was an avid runner, running in many races and marathons where he was a champion for brain cancer research. John's motto, Inside All of Us Is Hope, was worn proudly in each race. Most of all, John loved relationships with his family and friends.

John is survived by his parents; Mary Milone “Buffy” Jordan (Sandy Jordan) of Arnold and Bruce P. Petrovick (Julie West Petrovick) of Wilmington, DE, his sister Caroline Jean Petrovick (Bethany Ellis) of Auburn, MA, his grandparents; Jean and Robert Milone of Severna Park, Alverta and Emil Petrovick of Mont Vernon, NH and Gracie and Rev. Joe West of Greensboro, NC, and his aunts and uncles Megan and Stephen Davis, John Milone, Laurie Ferguson, Deborah and Donald Horne, and Michael Petrovick. He is also survived by his cousins Greg and Samantha Horne, Stephen, Melinda, Gretchen, Courtney, Jack, Catherine, and Christopher Davis,and his niece Lucy Ellis Petrovick.

Friends are invited to a Memorial Visitation at Barranco & Sons, P.A. Severna Park Funeral Home on Thursday, May 3rd , from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of the Fields Church in Millersville on Friday at 11am. Interment will follow in the Church Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers Memorial Contributions may be made to:
Dr Quinones Research in memory of John Petrovick c/o Emily Ehehalt Associate Director of Development Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery 100 N. Charles Street Suite 431 Baltimore, MD 21201 or online at the QQuest website: http://www.active.com/donate/qquest Online condolences may be made at www.barrancofuneralhome.com