Hearne: Former Star Books Editor John Mark Eberhart Checks Out

4619_105532307027_2867371_nHe 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.

2696_77118592027_8117465_nI 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.

208034_10200647447456063_154958152_nJohn 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.

316575_10150516185267028_1614657256_nAt 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 dud293240_10151374113359199_2047915358_ne, 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
always liked
the sound
of that.

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10 Responses to Hearne: Former Star Books Editor John Mark Eberhart Checks Out

  1. charles says:

    What a tragic loss.

    “This is the hour of lead
    Remembered if outlived,
    As freezing persons recollect the snow–
    First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.” — Emily Dickinson

  2. Mark says:

    He will be missed.

  3. RIP book dude says:

    Sounds like a pretty nice guy all around. People like that end up with a lot of people who remember them long after they are gone.

    To think, the KC star used to do things like review books in-house! like a real newspaper…

  4. randyraley says:

    Sorry for your loss Hearne. Cancer sucks.

  5. smartman says:

    Well, after reading that it kinda makes me feel like there is some room for improvement in my life.

    Truly a gentleman’s gentleman.

    Rest in Peace and God Bless You John Mark Eberhart. You definitely chose the path less traveled. Well done!

  6. Super Dave says:

    I never got to meet John, but heard many people say many wonderful things about him.

  7. chuck says:

    It sounds like you lost a good friend Mr. Christopher.

    My condolences.

  8. Bob Z says:

    How sad that John..just like Sherri was taken by cancer.
    John did stand by Sherri and they found a renewed love for each other.
    I remember too well those first years of Sherri’s
    Illness and how john was always there for her.
    I do believe they are .now together and happy for eternity.

  9. Will A says:

    I worked with John after he was laid off from the Star. We were both new to limo driving, and his love of reading an music made it really difficult to NOT like the guy. John was always there for people, even people he hardly knew.

    It’s sad that John lost this battle, he will be missed.

  10. Ken Eberhart says:

    My brother was mentor and confidant to many. I will be indebted to his legacy of love and generosity. He was born with a double crown on his head and a single dimple on his cheek. His nephew and I, we had a father-son outing to see the Royals lose one to the Bluejays tonight. My son Sam has the same single dimple and double crown. I held his hand as we walked up the rounded ramps of the K tonight, just a few minutes away from Floral Hills. We stopped by to see the gravesite before the game. A chilly April evening, light sunshine above, JME is at rest. After we left for home, I carried his little miniature clone through my front door where we arrived well after 11pm. I hold this future man close to my heart. We loved JM so. We miss him so. This was a fine article, HCJ. I thank you, Sam thanks you, our family thanks you. My brother was the center of our family, he stood on our highest shelf, and I loved him so – Ken Eberhart

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