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.