It was May 16, 2009, ten years ago today, when I lost my best friend and hundreds of others did likewise with the passing of John Tripp. My God, where has the time gone?

He was a husband, father, grandfather, intelligent, humorous, predictable at times and unpredictable at other times, outspoken to say the least, a mentor to many, a wonderful Exchange Club member, a 1972 graduate and huge supporter of Culver-Stockton College, life-long New York Yankee fan and he was my best friend. A heart attack silenced John Tripp that day at the early age of 58.

John and I both came to the Midwest from New York State and were both die-hard Yankee fans. We both had a love for radio and I guess when it came right down to it, it was our love for people that drew us together.

John came “out west” to go to Culver Stockton, a learning institution that he loved so much he renamed it “Harvard on the Hill.” It was a name that many still refer to Culver Stockton as. He was good at renaming people, including me. When we worked together at WTAD, I was the Station Operations Manager and he was the Sales Manager. One day John was not particularly happy with the station’s General Manager so he found a way to get his “shot” in by renaming me “The Big Dog” which infuriated the G.M. to say the least. It is a nickname that has stuck and many contact me by that name today which, of course, I still use on Y101.

John was so many things to so many people especially the terminally ill. It was John Tripp who established the Hospice Program at Blessing Hospital. It’s a program that thousands utilized to comfort the terminally ill and their families. It is a program still in use to comfort people.

In the Exchange Club, it was always John who was asked to perform the eulogies for club members as well as others and he did it so eloquently. When he died the Exchange Club asked me to do the eulogy for John. I didn’t know if I could get through it, but I managed knowing full well if I broke down John would be up there looking down saying, “Get your act together, big boy.”

I could write a thousand stories about John and so could thousands of others who knew him. To me, he was my best friend. I still have his phone number as a contacts in my cell phone. I cannot delete it and I won't. So time continues on without him, but the memories he made for people remain strong. Thank God we all still have them.

The "Big Dog" misses ya’ buddy and I know I am not the only one who does!

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