Mar 6, 2015

Fiddes, by Vic

I’m certain every Tamakwa friend of John Fiddes wishes they could have attended his memorial service. Many of his closest and dearest Tamakwa friends, despite formidable logistics, were present. Of course John’s family was there.

It was no great surprise that John also endeared himself to many in his intimate community, just like he did at Tamakwa, and they were there as well. I know John will always be in the hearts of all of us.

When the call came in with the news of John’s passing, I wrote an email to our Tamakwa inner-sanctum group of mostly recent Head Staff members and others close to John over the years. Since the first week of February, I’ve often reflected on John’s unique camp career and I felt the desire to share with everyone what I was feeling the day he passed away and what I wrote that evening.

Written on Tuesday, February 3, 2015:

I don’t know how else to say this other than John died today. There are thousands of Tamakwans I should send this email too.

I don’t think I need to educate and express to all of you the impact John made on generations of Tamakwans. He was one of the all time great camp personalities and great friends second to none to so many of us at Tamakwa. We have all missed him being at camp these last few years and he will be missed eternally. There will never ever be another like him. He was the quintessential camp personality for some 35 years. And, to those who knew him, I know you will understand what I mean by saying, having John as a friend, made each and every one of us a better person.

I spoke with Libby tonight who along with Ric were ever so close with John over the years as well as Marilyn and Sue and maintained a close relationship with John even after he was no longer able to be at camp due to him being inflicted with cancer. We never heard John complain during his years of treatment. I also spoke at length with John’s 95 year old mother Norma who said “John kept me alive for all these years” and expressed her deepest appreciation for what Tamakwa meant to John. She expressed how tough a life John had. It was a heartfelt but gut wrenching conversation. I also left a message for John’s loving sister Beth.

I am speechless and sad. I’m sure each of you share these very same sentiments and emotions and have countless stories about John and have retained a multitude of Fiddes-isms and quotes that we will embrace and remember forever. Few have loved Tamakwa more than John. Tamakwa was his lifeline for years. I hope you each take solace in that we together remember John as an everlasting Tamakwan and friend for the ages.


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