He was a gentleman, a wildman, a journalist and a scholar, now he’s gone…
Former Kansas City Star books editor John Mark Eberhart has lost his battle to cancer and passed away.
I worked with John for 16 years at the newspaper – first as a copy editor in the FYI or features section and later as the books editor. And I can attest to the respect and likeability accorded him by those of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.
John loved books, he loved music, he loved verse, he loved to talk and to share, and he worked hard.
When he fell afoul of some bad inner office politics with the powers that be at the Star and was prematurely laid off, John never stopped to feel sorry for himself.
While many of us exiting the building at 18th and Grand in those early days of mass layoffs licked our wounds and waited for the clouds to part before turning the page and moving on with our lives, John never missed a beat.
Rather than wallow in the dependency of unemployment benefits, John sucked it up and went about the business of driving a limo until a more suitable career path presented itself.
At one point in time several years back, John was in the midst of getting a divorce from his wife who was a pal of mine that worked for Bob Zuroweste at Entercom.
However when she was diagnosed with cancer, instead of going on his merry way, John took the incredible high road of moving back in with her and taking care of her until her death.
Making it all the more unfortunate when John was later diagnosed.
John signed on to write for KC Confidential but his writing trailed off rapidly after writing a column about his illness, posting it and then taking it down a few hours later.
At one point in time he rose to my defense on when I was having a particularly nasty time in the comments section.
John was just a cool dude, as evidenced by the flood of wonderful comments rapidly filling his Facebook page from friends and admirers.
What sort of gent was John? I’ll leave you with this verse that he wrote shared by one of his cousins on John’s Facebook page:
This is the time.
The wind in this wheat
will never be the wind again.
The scent of last night’s shower
in the summer soil, the shadow
of a single thunderhead barreling
eastward over the high plains between
Limon and Goodland — tomorrow’s deluge
for Kansas City. But I am moving west along
this superhighway, not to return. I am following
my fathers. I am “rolling with it,” as they say.
I have left nothing behind — no people,
no possessions, no regrets. And now
that evening sun sinks lower, as if
beckoning. In the old stories,
the souls of the dying, it
was thought, vanished
into the west. I’ve