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open in a large window.
If you can verify the passing of one of our classmates not
depicted here, please contact us.
and we were seniors. We had attended North Jr. High for our freshman and
sophomore years and transferred to Hillside for our senior year before entering Boise High with
our graduating class.
Dean Chatburn was our principal that first year and, as I remember, a very
Connie McMurren Alloway
Connie McMurren, married name is Connie Alloway has passed away.
You might recall that her husband Bud (Omar) Alloway passed away some
time back. They both had liver cancer.
They were unable to attend the last class reunion, so I took them some
souvenirs from it. Connie had asked that I not tell anyone about their
situation, at that time. She said they didn't want sympathy. It was, what
it was. They knew then, they were both dying. I honored her request. I
guess it is okay to tell you now.
They lived near my daughter in Boise, so I stopped and visited a few times.
The last time I saw Connie, was after Bud died.
I called the house this morning, after seeing the death notice in the
Idaho Statesman. I spoke with Connie's daughter. She said there will
not be a service, per Connie's request. Bud had not wanted a service either.
I did not ask her if there would be a full obituary in the newspaper, but
hopefully there will be.
My heart is so sad! Connie and I went to school together for 12 years.
We also were teacher’s aides together, in the same classroom, at Amity
School, years ago.
Please let others know of her passing. I only added a few here on this
Becky Brock Ridenour
heart is especially heavy. I will never forget Connie's fabulous blue eyes and
her love for Buddy. I sent her a card with love from "All of her friends in
the Boise High Class of 1965" and added a personal note from me. As you
know, I did this within the last month. I also continue to pray for her son
Aaron, as he deals with cancer himself. Connie was beautiful inside and out,
and she will be sorely missed. I hope the memories of your friendship will
continue to bring you some comfort, during this difficult time. Thank you
for letting us know of her passing.
Roxann will notify the rest of the class.
Hugs and sympathy to you--and to all of us, Sue Ann
A walk down memory lane
I wrote this to Chuck Wardle but thought you might enjoy reading it too. Hope
all is well with you...
I am not one to dwell on the past but I rarely talk with anyone who cares,
so for your amusement I'll share a bit of ancient history with you.
I was one of those rare kids who came from a loving family who encouraged
us kids to grow up strong and ambitious. I didn't appreciate it at the time
but some of my friends like Wayne and Janie Call Keith and Stephanie
Breshears Packard have since made me aware of how lucky I was. My
folks weren't wealthy but we got along. Mom's philosophy was "We always
have money for the necessities, like music lessons. It is the frivolities
like the power bill that are sometimes a nuisance."
When I was at NJHS, Dr. Bronson, a psychologist at BJC, did some testing
on our family and other kids. He declared my siblings to be a bunch of
geniuses. I guess I didn't make the grade as Dad started training me to
just make a living. First he made me take typing in summer school. This was
great since almost the whole class was girls, my favorite subject. Then
when I was a sophomore, he apprenticed me to a builder for the summer.
That was a great gift - I learned how to build stuff and loved doing it. I've
been a builder ever since, on houses, buildings, organizations, and mostly
I was a big disappointment to Mom. My older brother Tom was a fine
violinist, as is my younger brother John, who still teaches music in the
Boise area. Bonnie played viola. So logically I should have taken up the
cello to make up a string quartet. But I was the rebel. After Mom vetoed
the drums, we compromised on the trumpet. Later, when Mom turned 50
(a really old age at the time), Dad bought her a fine cello and years of
lessons with Catherine Beeler. Mom played beautifully and soon was a
member of the Boise Philharmonic and the College of Idaho orchestra.
Her favorite granddaughter, John's daughter Tova, still plays that cello
But no, I didn't make the trip to the Seattle Worlds Fair. My first exposure
to the BHS band was when Mel invited me to join the band for a parade later
I consider the BHS marching band to be the finest, most loyal group of
people I was ever involved in. I think we would have marched over a cliff if
Mel had asked us to. Do you remember the time we were getting ready for
the big Christmas parade, just a couple of weeks after we won the State
Champion Marching Competition? Mel lined us all up in the parking lot by
the buses in marching order. Then he gave a little speech. "Drummers," he
said, shaking his jowls and getting a bit teary eyed, “I don't want you to
play too fast. And I don't want you to play too slow. I just want you to
play half assed!" We all cried, "Mel, you can't say stuff like that!"
Then he loaded the buses row by row, with the drummers at the front of
the first bus. When we arrived at the Capitol grounds, the Borah and Weiser
bands were already there, wandering around like a bunch of high school kids.
Our drummers started a rim shot rhythm before we left the bus and we
marched off and lined up in formation, rank by rank.
The other bands heard our drums fire up and saw us forming up like the
champions Mel had made us. Oh shit, they cried, as they started trying to
get their bands organized like us. Just as they were in full panic, Mel said,
"Fall out!" And we kicked back for a bit, knowing we had won again.
What a guy!
At one of the class reunions, I think the 30th, I invited Mel to join us.
Judy Wallich still had the films of the State Championships when we took
first. Do you remember the time when Bill Kennedy led off the first wedge
(to Malaguenia with its stunning trumpet solo beginning) but went 5 yards
too far before starting the pattern? I think it was John King who led
the second wedge and turned at the right yard line. So, the whole pattern
had a 5 yard gap through the whole show. We were all too proud to admit
the error, which showed up worst at the end, when we spelled out BOI
space SE. Later Mel told me that he was sitting with the judges and was
just about dying. When they asked him about the gap, he cooly said,
"Yes, we thought that would look nice..." And we still took first place!
A year before he died, I took Mel to lunch. He still had a picture of the
1965 band lined up on the front steps of BHS hanging above his desk. He
told me that was the finest band he had ever had. What a great guy and
a wonderful mentor.
Enough of memory lane - life today is so much more interesting. But at
least you aren't the only one who can rattle on.
All the best!
funeral but we're home again now.
Would you give me permission to post this on our website? It is indeed a
walk down memory lane and so many of our class will identify with it. Thank
you for sending it to me. Roxann
Of course, you can share my ramblings. Mel was a special teacher and mentor.
Hope you are well.
Thank you, Doug! Being the child your mom would have put up for adoption
due to a tin ear, I never really had many good friends in the band, but what
I knew then and have further realized now, is that Mel Shelton and all of
you musicians had a bond like no other. It would be interesting to know if
any of the "band kids" went astray or if his strong moral guidance and
the cohesive bond you all shared stayed with them through the tough times.
I bet, if there were any, they were few and far between. Thank you so
much for taking the time to write this. I definitely hope that you will
allow Roxann to post it on our website. Many people would enjoy the walk.
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2017 12:08 PM
To: Douglas Cochrane
Cc: Gilster Baxter, Sue Ann
Subject: Re: A walk down memory lane
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2017 12:47 PM
To: Douglas Cochrane
Cc: Gilster Baxter, Sue Ann
Subject: Re: A walk down memory lane
Mel certainly had a strong influence on the band kids. I've been trying to
think of whether any of us "went astray". I certainly did when I dropped
out of Boise College and lived in the Haight Ashbury for a couple of years.
What poor timing - I was living as a celibate monk with no home and
minimal possessions during the Summer of Love! But my spiritual quest
paid off - I came out of it with a strong sense of my place in the Creation.
And I soon found no more need for celibacy!
Several others followed a similar path - Dan O'Leary, Chuck Wardle, and
John McKay, to name a few. But they are all strong and successful in their
own ways today. I don't know of any scoundrels or crooks in our band group.
Perhaps Roxann has a better feel for that.
The worst members of our class, from my experience, were the Clark triplets.
Frank used to harass me and try to get me in trouble. The biggest bully was
Guy Turner, who used to beat me up on a yearly basis. I finally got the best
of him in our last fight. I heard that he went on to be a Boise cop - the
perfect job for him!
Surprisingly, Mel later told me that orchestra was his favorite group. I
found it hard to believe. I also played in the orchestra but it was a pretty
dull group in comparison. I think Mel liked composing orchestra music as it
tends to be more complex.
Enough for now. Hope to see you sometime soon.
Good Morning Sue Ann and Roxann,
I was very young when I met Johnny (John) King. We became instant
friends along with John Spoljaric. We grew up in the northwest part
of Boise. The three of us were in Band together for a number of
years in Junior High and High school, and we loved Mel Shelton.
Forgive me if my dates are a little off but it was however, 50 plus
I grew up in a musically inclined family and learned at a very young
age musical talent. A talent that most certainly escaped me but I
could recognize it through other family members. My sister Kay
went to Wichita State as did Johnny on music scholarships thanks
to Mel Shelton’s influence who was also a Wichita State graduate.
Other than my senior year at Boise High when I dropped out of Band
I sat second chair in the baritone section. In my sophomore class I
sat next to my older brother Steve who was Band president. Bob my
younger brother one year behind me also played the baritone. What
impressed me more than anything was looking to my left to the
trombone section and seeing a boy that played his trombone “like
it was a part of him”. Confidence, beautiful tones, and at times
playing louder than anyone else in the brass wind section.
Johnny approached me one day and asked if I would participate in a
duet with him at a judging event in, I believe Nyssa, Oregon. I said,
“Johnny are you crazy, I can’t play anywhere near your ability and
talent”. He then said he always wanted to play a melody and harmonize
the melody with a trombone and baritone. I said okay but I hope you
know that I am going to let you down and embarrass you. He made me
practice our duet over and over for weeks until I finally got it and it
started to sound really good. We both got blue ribbons, something I
would have never achieved on my own. “Johnny King made me better
than a I really was”.
As I read all the comments about his life and how he made so many
of us better than ourselves I was not surprised. As a young man
Johnny impressed me so much that I begged and almost threatened
him to come to my grandmother Thomas’s home to perform a concert
for us. I made my mother and father attend and other family members.
I will never forget Johnny standing before us with that confidence and
beautiful sound from his trombone playing by memory one song after
another. He mesmerized each of us with that “one boy” concert he
I was so proud to be his friend and the impression he made on me,
my family, and so many others in his lifetime.
Boise High graduate 1965
John King, former Boise Schools band director and music educator, died Monday, April 17.
Memorial services are pending. Provided by Lea Bateman King
April 19, 2017 6:35 PM
Memorial service set for longtime Boise band director and music educator John King
BY DANA OLAND
Update: Memorial services for John King will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday,
April 29, at Capital High School Auditorium, 8055 W. Goddard Road, Boise.
As a band and orchestra director at Capital High and other Boise schools,
John King taught his students about music, how to march on the field and
how to play classical masterworks. But his true lessons were about much
more, his students say.
They were about dedication, diligence, attention to detail and the importance
of teamwork. Those lessons left an impression on his students that lasted
long beyond their school days.
“He was my favorite teacher I ever, ever had,” says Virginia Treat, who
played saxophone and French horn in his Capital High bands from 1989 to 1992.
“He was very inspirational and dedicated. He always pushed us hard to do the
best we could. He made an impact on my whole life.”
King, 70, died Monday from complications after heart surgery at Saint
Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
“He was an incredible human being and husband,” says his wife, Heather King.
A former student, the two reconnected at a band reunion a few years ago.
They married in March.
As news of King’s death spread, a huge outpouring of sympathy and sharing
of treasured memories happened on the “I marched Capital High Golden
Eagle Marching Unit” Facebook page.
“There are a handful of teachers who made a huge difference in my life,
and gave me the skills and the drive to go far beyond what might otherwise
be expected of me,” posted Robert Haynes-Peterson.
“I feel so blessed to have been a student of John King’s,” wrote
Katherine Dougherty. “Grateful that he cared so much and set such
standards, challenged us to work as a team and dream!”
Some of his students went on to become professional musicians, including
Curtis Stigers, an internationally known jazz artist. The 1983 Capital
graduate played saxophone and was the marching band drum major his
“He was a really amazing band director,” Stigers says. “He had us play stuff
that was so far superior and more difficult technically than any band we
competed against. They were marching to pop songs; we were doing
King had a reputation as a strict task master who could explode during a
rehearsal when things weren’t going well. “He would get really angry,” Stigers
says. “Then one time he blew up and then I saw him turn around, and he had
a little smile on his face. I guess that’s how he got things done. He was really
a good actor.”
King’s dedication to his job and his students were unparalleled, says Lea
Bateman-King, his first wife and close friend. During their 34-year marriage,
she taught music at Hillside Junior High and several Boise elementary schools.
“He held himself to such high standards that he was able to ask that of the
kids,” Bateman-King says. “From the day school was out in June, he spent
hours preparing over the summer for the next season.”
During the Capital years, King taught both marching, symphonic band and
orchestra, often writing the orchestrations and marching drills himself. If
he ever bought a pre-done piece, he would end up revising it, she says.
King was tireless, says Phil Hartman, who student taught under King in
spring 1981 and fall 1982 before Hartman became the band director at
Centennial High School.
“And all the work was always for the betterment of the musical
opportunities for his students. I consider myself fortunate to have
worked with him,” Hartman says. “I was with him for just nine weeks, but
I learned a tremendous amount. He became my friend and mentor, and any
success I enjoyed as a teacher I credit to John King.”
King grew up in Boise and graduated from Boise High School in 1965. He
played trombone, and by ninth grade he was performing with the newly minted
Boise Philharmonic under Jacques Brourman. He got his degree in music
and education at Wichita State University in Kansas, and then returned to
Boise in 1971 to teach. He started at North Junior High, then taught a year
at West before landing at Capital in 1976. There, his band won championship
after championship, year after year, until he left in 1992. He then taught at
South Junior High, then Les Bois, and several elementary schools before
he officially retired from Boise School District in 2002.
After retiring, he started a business collecting court judgments for people,
but kept a connection to music. He taught at Bishop Kelly High School, then
at Anser Charter School. He also directed the all-campus band at Boise
State University and worked with the community Treasure Valley Concert
He continued to conduct the orchestra for Boise Music Week most years.
In 2013, King was at the podium for the Music Week presentation of “South
Pacific.” Bateman-King, a violinist, their daughter Brenna King-Shirer,
a violist, and son Aaron King, a cellist, all were in the pit.
The outpouring of affection on Facebook has stunned King’s family.
“It’s mind boggling the messages we’ve all been seeing,” Lea Bateman-King says.
“It’s overwhelming, but that’s why teachers are teachers. It keeps you going to
know you’ve made a difference.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Mel Shelton
Scholarship for Concert Band at Boise State University. Shelton taught King
at Boise High and was King’s mentor.
To make a donation, contact the Boise State University Foundation at
208-426-3276, mail a check to 2225 University Drive, Boise, ID 83706
(make sure to put the code AS051 on your check), or go to Giving.BoiseState.edu.
SOME STUDENT MEMORIES OF JOHN KING
Today, the band teacher was late to school so I covered for him. I directed
the band as they played Battle song and I started to cry.
John King, you were such an influence in my life. I was first and foremost a
theatre kid and then a drill team kid whose friends were all in the band ...
I ate lunch in the band room and hung out in your office. I had a tough
childhood and you always encouraged me to be the best I could be. I would
play the piano in your band room and you would tell me I was great and that I
always played with such feeling. When I babysat your kids, as you and your
wife were leaving the house, you told your kids that I had to play the piano
for them because I played with such feeling. You finally convinced me my
Senior year of High School to join band again and I played for you my last
semester. You were the voice of reason in my dysfunctional world.
You have left this life to direct the Angels. I can hear you from above “Off
the Line!” Rest well my friend and know you have changed forever my life and
the lives of countless others.
He was the most important teacher I had in high school. I was not a great
musician but after making the marching band my sophomore year (you had to
try out) I was a dedicated band geek. Marching band, pep band, concert band…
each with something different to learn..Mr. King..as we all called him…was at
the center. Extra sectionals (individual groups of instruments to practice
alone…before or after school), marching band practice (after school and
weeks before school started) and pep band practice (before school), were all
led by Mr. King. He was always there. He wrote all our marching routines, he
was at every game we played at and he brought in experts when we were
having trouble…we watched game tapes, like the football team.
He expected dedication, hard work, and responsibility. Quite simply, he
expected the best of high school students. He was tough, demanding,
exacting, formidable and most of all caring. I came away from high school
with all those values taught to me by the best. There has rarely been a time
when I started a new job or a addressed a problem that I didn’t think of him
and what I had learned.
A few years ago, I was working on an issue campaign. We were speaking to any
civic organization that would have us and we ended up at a small organization
that Mr. King belonged to. At the end of the meeting the group sat around a
table and everyone was to say what they were thankful for…I was able to tell
my most significant high school teacher how much he meant to me and how
thankful I was to have been his student. I am so glad I was given that chance.
· His bottom lip sticking out when he was seriously concentrating.
· The screaming argument we had about a quarter grade I felt was wrong…he
didn’t change it.
· The plea we not leave 4 toilets in his yard the night before Band
Competition hoping to mark the 4th year we would win.
· His smile when we completed a near perfect performance.
· The look on his face when we presented him with a tuxedo as our senior
· How angry he was when I was late for practice before a performance.
· How proud I was when he told me I would be drum major and direct the
concert band at graduation.
· And much, much more.
As he always said before a performance “give me goose bumps!” Every time I
hear a piece of music that does just that…I think of him.
Some Comments from Friends of John King to Sue Ann Gilster Baxter
fantastic trombone player passed away yesterday of a heart attack. Roxann
was a kid, even in the 7th grade he was already a man, sporting a 3 PM shadow
at age 12! And, he always was just more mature than me; more focused than
most of us. I really saw him as a brusquely warm and funny grown up,
dedicated to every task with the integrity of a wise and older man.
John was a driving force within our incredible BHS Band and Orchestra.
He and Mr. Shelton formed a growing immutable force, into unstoppable.
Once, Mr. Shelton confided in me that he had watched John all during his
junior high years; waiting excitedly to get John in his band. Mel was a
builder of people; and, he built a lot of very fine people. John was his
apprentice and understudy. Of course, his own career built upon all that
Mr. Shelton had given him; all that he gathered from his own resources;
and, doubtlessly from all the other mentors he attracted. I suspect John
was also a dedicated builder of people during his career.
Another very significant person in John's life was John Spoljaric.
In the 7th grade band at NJHS, the two Johns formed a friendship that
grew and lasted for more than 6 decades. At first John King was pretty
seclusive and shy. John Spoljaric was the band's social sparkplug. He made
friends of all of us, especially John King. Spoljaric brought out King's
hidden personality and his incredible wit. It is my opinion that this influence
enabled John King to become a very able social being. Success in life can
be measured in many parameters, but the greatest of these measurements
is the quality of John King's soul in the eyes of God.
Most sincerely, Chuck Wardle
Chuck, your comments warm my heart. John King was a role model and
inspiration to me in the BHS orchestra. In my eyes and ears he was a
perfect musician, always prepared and serious. When he played the
trombone, all of us were in awe, and when Mel Shelton gave him a solo
opportunity the room would grow quiet. The way John could play complicated
runs was unbelievable. He was truly gifted.
In sympathy, Shirley Ewing
Our Mr. Jameson has passed.
In Memorial – Rod Gibson Rod was an odd, quirky guy. He was an acquired taste. He didn’t wear the right clothes or think about commonplace things. I don’t even know who his other friends were at BHS. All I know is that we grew close as we grew up until his untimely death from kidney failure in 1975 or so. After we graduated BHS, Rod and I (and many of you) moved on to Boise College. Rod and I were part of an eclectic group of free thinkers. We were too young to be beatniks and the hippies hadn’t emerged yet, at least in Boise. We watched foreign films and read Lawrence Ferlinghetti. We drank too much coffee in the Student Union and talked about “serious things”. Except for Rod, who kept bringing up these serious topics that nobody gave a hoot about… When the school year ended in the Spring of 1966, Rod, Sheila Blakely, and I piled into Phil Engelhardt’s bright orange dune buggy, made from a stripped down Cadillac, and off we went to the big City of Portland. We moved into a communal house with some off-beat students from Lewis and Clark College. At its peak of insanity, there were 8 or 10 of us crashing in a little two bedroom house just below the college. Imagine the hygiene! Imagine our surprise when we discovered that Rod was keeping a detailed diary of all the activities – including the ingestion of various illegal substances. But not to worry, Rod explained. He was writing it in Spanish (as if no one in the Portland Police Dept. could read Spanish.) Later in the Summer, Dan O’Leary (BHS class of ’63) and I hitched our way down the Coast to San Francisco and ended up in the Haight Ashbury. Rod moved back to Boise and went back to school. Before long he began experiencing the first of a long series of health issues. The next time I saw him he was in a wheelchair and the prognosis was that he would never walk again. This didn’t slow him down much. He went to work for the City of Boise and was instrumental in saving the Hull’s Gulch area from development. Next time you walk the trail up Hull’s Gulch, thank Rod! When Rod came to visit me, there wasn’t wheelchair access to the house. Not to worry, said Rod. He slipped out the car and slid across the lawn on his bottom to the house. Rod was living with his folks again in the Highlands. He convinced his Dad to build him a set of parallel bars in the backyard. I was so proud when I visited Boise once. I rang the doorbell and could see Rod sitting in the living room. He stood up and slowly made it to the door to let me in. He didn’t stop with learning to walk again. His Dad gave him a tiny patch of lawn around his parallel bars and he made a garden. It was so small and so packed that he had stepping stones which were the only places he could step without crushing one of his precious plants. Eventually he even got good enough at hobbling around to join me in a volleyball game at a company picnic. What a sight he made swinging his cane at any kids that got in his way while he was trying to bat the ball over the net. He always made up his own rules in life. His brother donated a kidney, hoping to save his brother. It worked for a while then it failed. I got a letter from Rod saying “I’m dying. Please pray for me.” It was the only time he ever admitted he was even sick. A couple of days later I got another letter, more typical of Rod, full of news about all the things he was interested. Within a couple of weeks, he was dead. I don’t know if he had many other friends at BHS. But he had one. I miss him still. Douglas Cochrane
In Memorial – Rod Gibson
Rod was an odd, quirky guy. He was an acquired taste. He didn’t wear the right clothes or think about commonplace things. I don’t even know who his other friends were at BHS. All I know is that we grew close as we grew up until his untimely death from kidney failure in 1975 or so.
After we graduated BHS, Rod and I (and many of you) moved on to Boise College. Rod and I were part of an eclectic group of free thinkers. We were too young to be beatniks and the hippies hadn’t emerged yet, at least in Boise. We watched foreign films and read Lawrence Ferlinghetti. We drank too much coffee in the Student Union and talked about “serious things”. Except for Rod, who kept bringing up these serious topics that nobody gave a hoot about…
When the school year ended in the Spring of 1966, Rod, Sheila Blakely, and I piled into Phil Engelhardt’s bright orange dune buggy, made from a stripped down Cadillac, and off we went to the big City of Portland. We moved into a communal house with some off-beat students from Lewis and Clark College. At its peak of insanity, there were 8 or 10 of us crashing in a little two bedroom house just below the college. Imagine the hygiene! Imagine our surprise when we discovered that Rod was keeping a detailed diary of all the activities – including the ingestion of various illegal substances. But not to worry, Rod explained. He was writing it in Spanish (as if no one in the Portland Police Dept. could read Spanish.)
Later in the Summer, Dan O’Leary (BHS class of ’63) and I hitched our way down the Coast to San Francisco and ended up in the Haight Ashbury. Rod moved back to Boise and went back to school. Before long he began experiencing the first of a long series of health issues. The next time I saw him he was in a wheelchair and the prognosis was that he would never walk again.
This didn’t slow him down much. He went to work for the City of Boise and was instrumental in saving the Hull’s Gulch area from development. Next time you walk the trail up Hull’s Gulch, thank Rod! When Rod came to visit me, there wasn’t wheelchair access to the house. Not to worry, said Rod. He slipped out the car and slid across the lawn on his bottom to the house.
Rod was living with his folks again in the Highlands. He convinced his Dad to build him a set of parallel bars in the backyard. I was so proud when I visited Boise once. I rang the doorbell and could see Rod sitting in the living room. He stood up and slowly made it to the door to let me in.
He didn’t stop with learning to walk again. His Dad gave him a tiny patch of lawn around his parallel bars and he made a garden. It was so small and so packed that he had stepping stones which were the only places he could step without crushing one of his precious plants. Eventually he even got good enough at hobbling around to join me in a volleyball game at a company picnic. What a sight he made swinging his cane at any kids that got in his way while he was trying to bat the ball over the net. He always made up his own rules in life.
His brother donated a kidney, hoping to save his brother. It worked for a while then it failed. I got a letter from Rod saying “I’m dying. Please pray for me.” It was the only time he ever admitted he was even sick. A couple of days later I got another letter, more typical of Rod, full of news about all the things he was interested. Within a couple of weeks, he was dead.
I don’t know if he had many other friends at BHS. But he had one. I miss him still.