John Warren was a great guy. I met him only about five years ago, but on our first meeting he treated me like he knew me my whole life. John, who lived on Vine Street in Alliance, grew up in Waynesburg with my dad and uncles. John had been trying to get a hold of me since my wedding appeared in the Alliance Review. I was working at the Review, and John stopped by and called several times, trying to reach me. We finally connected by phone. He talked to me like I was an old friend. I was impressed by his booming, happy voice.
I went to his house to see him. What a reception. When I stepped out of my vehicle he, John hollered, “I knew you were a Wiandt by that big head!” John laughed and gave me a bear hug like he hadn’t seen me in a while. We talked in his living room. I think he gave me a piece of cake and a pop. He loved to play host to guests. The next time I stopped, we sat on his patio in back and I interviewed him for a feature in the Review’s Senior Living tab.
Not long after I changed jobs last year, John called me at home. I’ll never forget that big, laughing, friendly voice. John’s voice was like his bear hug, it just surrounded you and made you feel appreciated and special and loved. I told John about how I had begun working in Stow, but I’d stop over to see him and his wife some day.
Some day would never come. John died of cancer Jan. 11 at the age of 73. I felt bad that I would never get to see him again, or hear his booming voice say, “Steve! How you doin’?” I called his wife about a month later and talked to her. She said it happened fast. He was diagnosed on Nov. 1 and gone a little more than two months later. She said he was ready to go, and he died peacefully. I knew he was ready to go. John was a strong Christian who knew what it meant to be “saved.”
But, as I’m sure a lot of people felt, I wasn’t ready for him go.