Hello Prince. Just an update. Following your death I made some personal resolutions to better myself and dedicated them in memory to you and in your honor. I've been successful in most of them, but up until now I have failed to make progress on one big one...lose enough weight to better my health in a signifcant way. This past July, with your memory as inspiration, I committed myself to doing just that. I began exercising at the Oakland Park Par Course daily and I also joined Weight Watchers in an attempt to be committed and accountable. In addition, I take aerobics at Holy Cross three days a week and set up a program in their weight room. I wear a John M. McLane Jr. Memorial Golf Shirt (I have a dozen) on every walk, every aerobic workout and every weight session to remind me why I'm doing all this. YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION TO SUCCEED. Thankfully, since mid July I have lost 23 pounds (17 weeks) and my goal is to lose 30 by mid January, and a total of 60 by next July. I don't think I could find the strength without knowing you are proudly assisting me from up above. Thank you for helping me honor you and get healthy at the same time. As a side note, the other day there was a sun shower while I was walking my three miles. A rainbow appeared to the Northwest of the track. Within its arc was Collins Field where you played Little League Baseball, Stevens Field where you and Jason played Tee-Ball and between them was the old Shadetree Creations building. Amazing history and memories packed in that rainbow arc. I think of you everyday. You inspire me beyond belief. Thanks for keeping me dedicated and motivated. In loving memory. DAD
In preparing for the upcoming 7th Annual Memorial Golf Tournament, I thought about adding some special award in your memory this year.
I thought for awhile and a memory came to mind that was a great source of pride for me at the time, and still is to this day, one of many I must admit.
When we were in the process of moving from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville with the company I worked for, Shadetree Creations,I came ahead to Gainesville for six months while you and Jason finished the school year. This was the time that I first met Larry Ridley and he took me on as an assistant coach with Florida Food at the Boys Club in the Bronco baseball league. In Fort Lauderdale, you played Little League and Jason was in tee ball and Farm League.
At that age you were probably 6 to 12 inches taller than most kids you competed with, and very dominant in all phases of baseball, star shortstop and pitcher, homerun slugger, base-stealer etc. definitely one of the top all-round performers in the league. A source of pride for a father for sure.
However, I remember in a phone conversation with mom, you and Jason that you had been awarded for the second year in a row the "Sportsmanship Award" for the league. This is an honor voted on by the head coaches in the league and awarded to the player who best exemplifies the team concept of baseball and keeps the winning and losing in proper perspective in the spirit of sportsmanlike competition.
I remember telling Larry Ridley while up in Gainesville, having missed witnessing your last season in South Florida, how very very proud I was of you winning that award..... not because you hit the most homeruns (you did) or struck out the most batters (you did) or were the best shortstop (you were) but because the opposing coaches so respected the way you accorded yourself as a good sport.
Other teammates and opponents recognized that in you, looked up to you for that quality. You made others want to be better because you were better in an unassuming way.
So there you have the history of my decision for the new award this year.
On September 2, 2012 in memory of John M. McLane, Jr. I will present a "Sportsmanship Award" at the 7th Annual Memorial Golf Tournament in Gainesville to the participant who exemplifies a healthy respect for the team concept ("we, not me") and accepts success and victory with humility and faces failure and defeat with dignity and a sense of perspective.
Johnny, thanks for being the inspiration behind this award. I love and miss you dearly.
Your loving and proud Father,
John McLane Sr.
October 13, 2011
It has been over a year and a half since my last entry and there is a reason why. My original purpose for making entries was two-fold. First, to communicate with you in a way that maybe was naive and presumptuous, but that gave me comfort and was quite therapeutic for me, and hopefully to others. The second reason, and maybe an even more important one, was to provide for Hayden and Jack snapshots of their daddy's life and promote and honor your legacy in their memories and future lives. I wanted your life to serve as positive life lessons for them. And I think that goal has been achieved.
Now though, Hayden and Jack are growing up soooo quickly and are so aware, involved, active and smart that I can communicate with them on a much higher level in person. Hayden, now 7 1/2 and Jack 6 years old are reading like crazy and you can hold a "grown-up" conversation with them on almost any subject. No longer is it necessary to document the past, you can discuss it with them. Soon they will be old enough to read through this guest book memorial and be fully aware of how much their daddy meant to everyone his life touched, how much he is still a part of them, and how much his life can be a positive influence in THEIR future.
Long story short, what I would normally document on this memorial site can now be discussed face to face with my fantastic grandchildren, in person, face to face. And I fully intend to do just that.
So my entries as "life lessons" for Hayden and Jack will end here today. I reserve the right, however, to speak to you in the future at anytime.
I am purposely making this entry on a perfectly nondescipt day, Thursday, October 13th....no special day or anniversary date that I know of, because it doesn't take some special date or occasion for me to think of you and want to talk with you. That happens now on a regular basis at any time of day. I will admit, however, that extra special times are rainy days, sunsets, sunrises, beautiful vistas or cloud formations, familiar places, sights, sounds, events that constantly remind me of you.
I am one happy father, husband, grandad, brother, son, uncle etc. You never failed to make me so so proud of you. I still am, and will be forever.
I love you "prince".
Your loving father
I miss you ~
I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss your hands, your calves and your feet. I miss the happiness in your eyes. I miss your ability to coach and work with children, especially when our kids could use a tip or two. I miss the feeling of safety that you gave me. I miss your touch, your warmth. I miss your jokes and our ability to make one another laugh. I miss your analytical talk about sports, politics and music. I miss your cynical sense of humor. I miss your kisses. I miss you rubbing my thumb when you would hold my hand. I miss the certainty of us watching Hayden and Jack become young adults. I miss the kid's eyes lighting up when they would look you in your eyes. I miss the comfort of knowing we would grow old together. I miss the way you made me feel like I was the most beautiful person in the world. I miss the love you gave me.....unconditional! I miss the reassurance that you gave me that I could do anything. I miss our love. I miss your strength and your ability to make everything ok. I miss you watching with me the growth and the laughter of our children. I MISS YOU SO MUCH! I can't believe it has been 4 1/2 years. Where has the time gone? I love you!
As February 3rd 2010 approached this year I had increasing thoughts of Johnny’s passing four years ago. For the first time since his death, however, memories of that time seemed four years old and not like last week, or yesterday.
As an optimist, and maybe with a touch of rationalization, I’m inclined to take that as a good thing in the grieving process. Another corner turned maybe? One thing for sure, I know Johnny would want what is best for me and my peace of mind. Therefore, I will not feel guilty about it but rather be glad that I’m more at ease and that memories of my pride and joy are in proper perspective.
I think one possible reason, other than the obvious passage of time, is the Legacy John left behind. Hayden and Jack are growing up so fast and are at an age where their individual personalities are apparent. Hayden, soon to be 6 years old in June, is such a mature and smart little girl. She is a clone of Holly, for certain, but she has a serious side about her (precocious and mature) that her daddy had at a young age. She desperately wants to learn everything about everything. Like most children her age she is a sponge in her everyday activities. She loves sports and being active as well as reading, coloring and artwork, board games (she is a vicious competitor who just loved beating her grandpa in candyland, dominos, sequence etc) playing school, store, kitchen…..you name it. She gave her first class presentation the other day on the African Hippopotamus. What ever happened to ant farms? What a delight she is to us all. Johnny must be very very proud.
Then there is Jack. He has Holly’s great smile and her outgoing fun-loving personality, but his other features are all Johnny in my opinion. He is skinny as a rail. You can count his ribs, and he has John’s eyes, forehead…..and yes his ears, which he also plays with. Unlike John, Jack is wound tight, very active and can hardly sit still. He is very animated in everything he does, and he does everything full speed ahead. He shares all the interests of Hayden above, though at his present age of four, doesn’t yet seem as enthused about sports. He loves coloring and drawing, cooks a mean breakfast, and is always ready to act out something and “be a clown”. Being so close in age with Hayden he is exposed to and learns so much from the activities she shares with him…..and she loves and protects him with a deep passion. He returns her love willingly.
So, as anyone can see, John’s legacy is in very good hands with Hayden and Jack. Holly has done such a great job with them both, as evidenced by how super happy, involved and well-adjusted they are. They are well aware of their daddy’s presence and place in their lives. They are Holly’s entire life and it shows. Thank you Holly.
Needless to say they are the pride and joy of Jan and me, Jason, Aunt Chris and Cremar.
And their daddy, John Michael McLane, Jr. always was and always will be our pride and joy. Thank you Johnny.
All My love, DAD
On February 3, 1959 the three musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. Popular ballad singer Don McLean immortalized the tragic crash in his epic song “American Pie”, referring to this fatal date as “the day the music died”. Millions of people around the world, especially music lovers, were struck the same way as was Don McLean.
Yesterday, February 3, 2010 marked the fourth anniversary of my son John Michael McLane Jr.s death, following a two year fight with cancer. Luckily, it was not a day where the music died for me…. It only took a major, major hit.
Ironically, as a music lover myself, I find that some of my happiest memories of Johnny come when I’m listening to the radio. Some song comes on that transports me to a certain place and time so vivid that it seems like yesterday. It might be a song that was popular at a time when he had a birthday, school event, graduation etc. or a song that we both liked, or even one that he liked that maybe I wasn’t too familiar with…in which case he would fill me in on the details. I thought I had a pretty wide range of music taste, but it was nothing compared to the range that Johnny developed.
Now all it takes for me to have great memories of my pride and joy, is for a song to come on by Tom Petty, Journey, Genesis, Bruce Springsteen, The Allman Brothers, or Kiss to name just a few of his favorites. But classics by Carly Simon, Melanie, Cat Stevens, Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel, The Royal Guardsmen, Elton John, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac can bring out the same emotions, just at a different time in our relationship. Such great memories.
Thanks for those great memories, Prince. Rest in Peace.
All my love. Dad
Wow, we are approaching 3 years. Some days it feels like yesterday, others it feels like so long ago. I can't express enough how much I miss you John, everything reminds me of you, everything happy!!!
I went to Todd Snider with Jason on Friday. You should have been there with us! I actually could feel you there, which brought many tears to my eyes because of what should have been. You were amazing John....I miss your great taste in music, sharing in the Gators highs and lows and hearing your play by plays, I miss playing with the kids and laughing with them with you, I miss your laugh, your touch, your smile, your humor, I miss our connection, the ease of you and I! I hope that one day I can be as happy as I was when you were here with me. Thank you for your signs. Thank you for being our angel. Hayden, Jack and I miss you dearly and we talk about you daily. Jack asked me the other day "does daddy just need a ladder so he can come down from Heaven?" Hayden talks about you like you will be back tomorrow. These things break my heart in one sense, but in the other sense, I'm happy that both of them continue to ask questions about you and that they are thinking about you, their daddy. You would be very proud of both of them. They are great kids and they both have quite a few of your antics.....which brings me great joy!
I love you, I miss you and I look forward to the day that we are together again!
Now that 2008 has come to a close I thought I'd chat with you awhile and "update" you on the latest. Now I realize I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but I've always enjoyed our discussions ranging from politics to sports.
Mom and I visited Holly, Hayden and Jack in Denver back in April. We try to see them at least four times a year...whether in Colorado or Florida. Anything less would have the kids growing up too fast without us seeing them, and my are they growing up fast.
Hayden is as precocious a four year old as you will find, soaking up everything around her like a human sponge. With Jack so close behind her in age, he is not only learning everything Hayden exposes him to, but he is so active that she has to adapt and contend with his antics. And what a clown he is. We just love interacting with them, though I get worn out quickly with their endless energy taking its toll.
The third annual Memorial Golf Tourney was a smashing success. Robert McCarthy took charge of the notification, registration etc. with his computer on-line expertise and was a great help in getting the word out to new participants. He also secured "sponsors" for each of the 18 holes. John and Holly Darr had another mouth-watering barbecue and everyone had a good time with chit-chat, great food, awards and fun in the pool and hot tub. Jason is, of course, very active and helpful in all events related to your memory. A golf tourney was held in Denver for the first time also. I could not attend, but I understand it was a success, and it gave the "Denver group" who could not attend the Gainesville tourney a chance to get together. I'm hoping they can do it again this year.
Holly and the kids visited Ft. Lauderdale in October. Mom and I again had a great time with Hayden and Jack. They loved going to the park, the Pompano pier, the ocean and had the most fun playing in a ten foot plastic pool that Mom got for our back yard. Life's simple pleasures. We loved bringing them to Burger King for some fattening burgers and fries.
We visited Denver again, flying out the day after Christmas (Holly's mom and grandmother were there for Xmas) and returning home New Years Day. It took me four hours to assemble a garage they got for Christmas, a 3-story deal that reminded me of the 1 piece, no assembly required Fischer-Price garage that you got for Christmas as a toddler. They did play with it alot, so the time spent was worth it. Boy, did the memories return when they both lined up every car or truck they could find in long rows....just like someone else I know some 35 years ago. WHEW! Aunt Chris was there and Jason and KK joined us as well. The kids loved the Aquarium, although the "flood zone" did scare Jack a bit. I took advantage of that by holding him for awhile...a rare opportunity since he is soooo independent. We also visited KK's family again in Longmont and enjoyed a great steak dinner compliments of Jason and KK. We also took in a movie with the kids.
Well, How Bout Them Gators?? When I mentioned in my April 16th 2006 first Legacy entry (page 4) "all I can say is keep an eye out for Gator Football in the years to come" little did I know that you would put the Gator Football Program on steroids. 2006 National Champs followed by a 2008 National Championship. You and Uncle Scott are working overtime, but I'm not complaining, keep it coming. All your Denver and Gainesville buddies are giving you full credit for the amazing Gator run in both football and basketball....as they should. I suggest to them that you are up there like a puppeteer, pulling all the necessary strings. You gave us a nice blow-out win in Phoenix, so I guess you wanted to test our nerves in Atlanta (SEC champs vs Alabama) and in Miami vs Oklahoma. Jason called me at the end of the third quarter, Florida down 20-17 as Bama dominated the 3rd quarter. He told me he went outside the Gator Booster Club and saw the most beautiful Orange and Blue sunset over the Rocky Mountains and he and Tony Slaybaugh shared a cry together knowing that the Gators were in good hands.....and the fourth quarter belonged to UF. Thanks for the sign.
I was quite cocerned about our chances with the Oklahoma Sooners (much more than I was against Ohio State where I really thought our speed would overwhelm any big-ten team) with their much-talked-about high octane offense. I was looking for some kind of "sign" again and as it got dark while tailgating in the Dolphin Stadium parking lot I looked up and saw a beautiful full-moon in the sky. I nudged Jason and said, "There he is". I strangely felt so much more confident and pointed out the full moon to all your buddies: BC, Tony, Lorne, Tim etc. What a game. What an experience. Thanks again.
I ordered my new 2008 Gator Champ License Plate (looks great) and some T-shirts. I'm cutting back though and only ordered six. If you are going to put the Gators in the National Championship picture this often, I won't have enough time to get wings or barbecue sauce down the front in time for another title. But that's Ok, I'll adjust.
Seriously, I am just soooo thankful that this great Gator run has given me the opportunity to bond and celebrate with the many friends you acquired over the years. What a privilege that is for me. They treat me like "one of the guys". I couldn't be happier.
It will soon be three years since I last saw your face, held your hand and told you how much I loved you. Jason, Mom and I are doing well, as are Aunt Chris and Cremar. We all miss you very much, but our many pleasant memories of you keep us well. Holly, Hayden and Jack are also doing as well as can be expected. Holly has exposed your children to a very healthy and active life....they are so noticeably happy and content. They are quite aware of their daddy and where he fits in the family picture. They are soooo aware and smart, just like you were at that young age. You did well my boy. I'm as proud a Grandad as I am a Dad.
I love and miss you very much.
Your Loving Dad
Steve Miller is playing Growl tonight. Why don't you meet me there and we will see if Stevie can still "Keep on a rockin us Baby"
Happy Homecoming 2008! "Let the Gator Growl!!"
Dear Hayden and Jack:
My last legacy entry highlighted the love and passion your daddy had for sports. An entry made since that time (see August 14th) by Winn Cowman stated that John's real passion was music. I found that to be very observant and only someone who really knew your daddy very well could even suggest that he loved something as much as sports...but she had a very good point.
Your daddy did have a deep love and passion for music. I have pictures and better yet vivid memories of John at age 2-3 with my stereo headphones on, playing a guitar while listening to and singing along with my albums of the 50's, 60's and early 70's. He loved a wide array of music dating back to Elvis in the mid fifties, fifteen years before he was even born. He loved music I played ranging from The Hollies, Carly Simon,Melanie,Gallery, Cat Stevens, Lighthouse, The Rascals, Johnny Rivers (Rockin' Pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu). One of his all-time favorites was the Royal Guardsmen's Snoopy and the Red Baron.
Ironically, when I read Winn's entry, I called her and told her that I had been working on an entry relating to John's love for music, but with a slight twist. It follows.
A Different Ear
There was once a time, three short years ago,
I could listen to your favorite songs on the radio;
Now since your gone its a tougher thing,
Those songs now have a much different ring.
When I listen to lyrics I've heard a hundred times before,
They don't have the same meaning anymore;
Those memories have changed since you're no longer here,
Because I'm hearing them now through a different ear.
Springsteen leaves me on Lonely E Street,
The Eagles sound a little flat;
Tom Petty is nothing but a Heartbreaker,
And the Allman Brothers just ain't "all that".
The Beatles just seem to bug me,
Heavy metal only drives me mad;
The "Stones" don't get me rollin',
And anything Country is too sad.
The "oldies" make me feel too old,
Son Volt has lost its spark;
Cheryl Crowe even leaves me cold,
Krauss and McLachlan just tear me apart.
The Counting Crows no longer fly,
Van Halen is no longer hip;
Love songs only make me cry,
Journey is too long a trip.
The word bittersweet doesn't begin to express,
The feeling of total emptiness;
The heartache and the pain so tough,
On a memory road so bumpy and rough.
I know that it is often said,
That we cannot change the past;
I guess its both a blessing and a curse,
That time goes by so fast.
When I look back now since you've been gone,
And I try to bear the sorrow;
I find that the only things that have changed,
Are yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Things that were right now seem so wrong,
Can your memory really be that strong;
It seems that since you're no longer here,
I'm hearing life itself with a different ear.
Yes, John's love and passion for music was deep and wide. That is what makes listening to the radio one of the most enjoyable (and sad) things I do each day.
With Love, Macaw
AC/DC is going on tour once again. Angus and the boys may be drawing social security but they're still rockin!
Miss You Greatly
Hi Hayden and Jack,
I was a good friend of John's and his girlfriend during his years in graduate school in Mississippi, and many years beyond. It's taken me a while to get the courage to leave a message on this site. I finally found the guest book because I was trying to figure out what day John passed - as I had several things happen that I know was John trying to let me know. Thankfully, Holly went through the trouble of locating me and told me the sad story. I can't thank you enough Holly.
I miss John terribly and still can't believe that he's gone from this world. While our lives had gone in different directions, and we didn't talk often, it was as if we'd seen each other just yesterday when we did.
I'm so sad for you that you didn't get to know your Dad - he is one of my favorite people of all time - and I don't say that lightly. We spent so much time talking and I don't think I'll ever know anyone as well as I did John. Young adulthood - it is such a hard time, and he was the best friend you could ever have.
One of the many things that made John so special was his capacity for caring. He cared deeply about his friends and family. I have a sneaky suspicion that you too will have this trait and I'm so sorry that your Dad won't be here to see it, and to help you along. I know John would be an amazing Dad - because he cherished all the pains and joys of growing up - he could tell stories about them like it was yesterday.
Finally, we all know that John loved sports. But, no matter what anyone tells you, I will forever say that he loved music just as much.
Whether it's a song, a conversation, or a happening - not a day goes by that something doesn't make me think of John. He did love to debate and talk - and all those thoughts are with me always. If ever I can help any of you - I'd be more than happy. I have so many memories, letters, and pictures too. He was a tremendous friend - I will never, ever forget.
With Kind Regards,
Winn Walcott Cowman
Dear Jack and Hayden,
Anyone who knew John McLane Jr. knew that he had a love and passion for anything sports. Gator football topped the list followed by all college football, other Gator sports, then the NFL, especially the Dallas Cowboys. Sports. Sports. Sports. He could not get enough of sports.
In the fall of 1986 we were living in Gainesville. Johnny was 16 and his brother Jason was 13 years old. Most of you know that John and Jason got along really well, the typical teasing back and forth between brothers, but nothing malicious in any way. John always included Jason when he was with his high school friends, and they in turn accepted Jason without question.
One day, John and his mother were leaving to go somewhere. Jan was driving and John was riding shotgun. As they were backing out of our concrete drive, John noticed Jason at the entrance to the garage. Jason was jumping up and down and frantically waving his arms while looking at Johnny and his mom backing the car down the driveway. John said to his mother, “look at Jason acting the fool”. They proceeded to back down the drive.
Much to Jason’s dismay they backed right over our cat that had been sunning herself on the pavement. I’m not certain what brought them to a halt, possibly Jason’s frantic screams and tears falling down the poor kids face.
Anyway, the cat did not survive the ordeal. Somehow the chore of burying the dead cat was assigned to Jason and his mom. Although the cat was an outside cat, it was Jason who primarily took care of her. They dug a hole on the side of our two-story Cape Cod style house, wrapped the body of the cat in some newspaper, lowered her in, and gently covered her with sand. I’m not certain, but it sounds probable that they may have said a few words of goodbye before leaving the grave.
With tears gushing from both Jason’s and his mother’s eyes, they put the shovel away and sadly walked back into the house. At that time they met Johnny coming down the stairs from his bedroom. Upon seeing them sobbing almost beyond control, he said “what’s the matter?” They informed him that they had just finished wrapping the remains of the cat in todays newspaper and burying the poor thing on the side of the house. To which Johnny responded, “You didn’t use the sports page did you? I haven’t read it yet!”
Now I’ll be the very first to admit that this doesn’t say much for John’s compassion level, especially for cats. And I’m truly sorry about that. BUT, it speaks volumes for the love and passion he has for anything sports…and after all, that is the theme of this Johnny anecdote. Nothing gets between him and his sports. And, for better or worse, that was Johnny.
To his credit, it could be argued that just about everything that was Johnny, originated from some involvement in sports. All of his friendships, from age 5 playing T-ball in Ft. Lauderdale, to his Boys Club days in Gainesville, senior league and high school baseball and football, continuing into American Legion baseball and intra-murals in college etc. were founded and cemented by his never-ending involvement in sports. And a better group of friends you could not find anywhere. His vast array of his devoted and loving friends (acquired through his love and passion for sports) is the greatest legacy of John Michael McLane Jr.
In Loving Memory
Johnny Mac - just thinking about you my man. Gator Football in 59 days. I know you're counting too.
Sadly cousin Jonah joined you on February 27th. He needed to go home a little sooner than we expected here on earth. Things will not be the same up there for you kiddo! I am sure he probably has a climbing wall built for you by now on cloud 9, and now you can learn how to use a screwdriver.
Please take care of him, he was hurting.
Hi Johnny. I love you. I miss you.
We are approaching the 2nd anniversary of John’s death. This day, I now refer to Hayden and Jack as “Daddy Love Day.” A day that we can share in the memories and laugh together from the stories told. A day that as of two years ago, will forever be the hardest day of my life. It doesn’t feel as if John has been away from us for 730 days. I feel him with me daily and I see him every day through Hayden and Jack, sometimes as though he is right there staring back at me. There are so many mixed feelings as I approach this milestone. I feel happiness and relief for John because he was freed from his disease on this day. He is no longer in pain and he is liberated from having the daunting thoughts of the outcome, which he faced on a daily basis for more than two years. As this day approaches, I also feel much sadness. The anger as I think about our fight and our struggle to beat the awful disease. The courage and strength that John put forth to conquer his cancer. It pains me to know what all he went through to have his life taken away from his family. For selfish reasons, I would hands down take him back in any condition. Just to have him by my side. To see his smile, to hear his laugh and to touch his warm body. I miss him. I miss the happiness we shared while watching and raising our two beautiful children. I miss the gleam in his eye when I walked in to a room. I miss his belly laughs, his antics and his ability to make every argument in his favor. Our plans were shattered and our futures have been forever changed. He wanted to be with his family. He wanted to watch Hayden sing at her first Christmas Program, he wanted to throw Jack his first ball. My heart aches for John because he is missing out on so much of the kids and sharing together their everyday laughter. I want to talk to him, laugh with him and be frustrated together over the children. He wanted that. I wanted that. We wanted that.
Hayden, Jack and I have a “new normal,” which, I continue trying to adjust to. A life that is always changing in ways that one can't express, changes that only one who has experienced such a tremendous loss can understand….A person with two small children that lost a husband so young. I constantly try to understand, and soon I’ll be trying to explain to Hayden and Jack on understanding “WHY?” Perhaps I will never know, but as I continue to wrap my brain around all of this I pray that one day I will come to an acceptance and have the inner peace to guide Hayden and Jack through their lives without their daddy. The daddy that would have given anything; I mean anything, to be with them. As we continue to explain to new friends we meet or sometimes strangers we run across about the death of our “daddy,” it is slowly becoming a harsher reality that this is permanent. John is gone. With this, my heart breaks and my soul aches. And therefore, I will FOREVER grieve!
Holly, Hayden and Jack:
As I sit here thinking today about Johnny on his 37th birthday I again find myself mentally running through those fabulous 35 years of life he blessed us with. I thought in memory I would submit my thoughts that I was too emotional to express at his passing. To this day I am still too emotional to speak them, but they offer I think a life-lessen that I have come to believe. Show your love everyday to those you love, friends and family obviously but also to others you encounter in your everyday life. You never know how you might affect their lives, and in turn how they affect yours.
I wrote the following when Johnny passed away. It was read at the Denver "Celebration of Life" by Bryan Ridley and at the Gainesville "Celebration of Life" by my friend Larry Ridley.
In Loving Memory of Johnny
I want to thank you all for being here today in support of my son Johnny. As my way of showing my respects to Johnny, I want to share a story with you.
In the hours before Johnny's final passing, I found myself alone at his bedside. I knew he wasn't able to speak to me, and I wasn't sure if he could even hear me.
I proceeded to thank him for all the good times we shared over the last 35 years. The easiest way to begin was to go chronologically, so I sang to him some special lullabies I sang to him as an infant.
Then I recounted playing football in our backyard in Oklahoma at age 2 and 3. Then T-ball, Little League, Gainesville Boy's Club Years, High School baseball, football, then graduation followed.
Then I touched on special trips and vacations, Gator football and finally ended with him meeting and marrying Holly, his wonderful wife and companion, and the two grandchildren that he brought into this world, Hayden and Jack.
I told John how very much I loved him, and how tremendously proud I had always been of him, and how I treasured our special father-son relationship.
I suddenly realized that there would be no acknowledgement or reply, and for a moment I was anxious and concerned. Then, just as suddenly, I got an eerie sense of ease, contentment and gratification.
It came to me that John has heard these words all during his 35 years of life as we were sharing it together. And just as importantly, I then realized that he need not reply, because he too had constantly expressed his love, joy, passion, pride, smiles, hugs and kisses to me.
Neither I nor John have any regrets of not having communicated our love for one another over his lifetime. We left nothing undone or unsaid. He gave me enough love to last through my lifetime. HE GAVE ME ENOUGH LOVE TO LAST THROUGH MY LIFETIME, and my pride of him and love for him is eternal.
I have thought many times since John's passing about our special relationship. I can't overstate the comfort I have gotten during my mourning process due to the fact that we openly shared our lives together and fully showed our love for one another on a daily basis. Having no regrets has made the healing easier than I ever felt possible.
Happy 37th birthday Johnny. I love you.
John McLane Sr.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Holly, Hayden and Jack:
The following is an event that took place in July 1983. It was told to me by Marcus Braswell at Joan Ridley’s house where everyone gathered after the Gainesville celebration of John McLane Jr.’s life (Feb. 11th 2006). It is a true story, I vividly remember the circumstances because I was there… there being Bradenton, Florida, where the All Star Baseball team from Gainesville was to play teams from the Bradenton area to determine a championship team. I coached the team and John Jr. (your daddy) played for the team.
Marcus took the time to E-mail the story to your Uncle Jason, who sent it to me, not knowing at the time that I had been told of it a month and half earlier. What makes this story so special to me is first, I was involved in it, second, that it tells a vivid story of a portion of your daddy’s life, third, that Marcus Braswell was admittedly not a close friend of John’s yet is was so meaningful as to be used as a life lesson to him and his brother Charles by their mother. If you learn anything from this, which is ultimately the reason why I’m relaying it to you, it would be that: Even some of the smallest and seemingly insignificant things that we do in our life often can affect other peoples lives (for good or bad) in ways never imagined.
For my part in this story I was waiting for John to arrive for the game he was supposed to pitch in. Keep in mind when you read this. JOHN LOVED AND LIVED SPORTS. As you’ll see in the pictures I’ll submit with this, he was 12 years old, not bragging but a “star” on an All-Star Team. He normally pitched or played shortstop (few people know this but he was also a terrific catcher, but we couldn’t afford to put him behind the plate). In the group picture you can see John in the back row with his hat off. The only ones near as tall as him are the coaches, Tom McKnew, Rick Buckner and me with the beard and the hat turned sideways (I started the fad not Deionn).
For the record, John did finally arrive and played in all the other games. The Gainesville Boys Club All-Stars did win the tournament. Up until today I think the fact that we won would be my proudest memory of this trip. However, knowing what I know now: That a mother used my son as an example to her sons as to how to keep life in proper perspective; and further that one of those boys Marcus, now a man himself who casually knew John, would remember this story with such vivid and fond memories and relate it to me (Johnny’s Dad) 22 years later with such pride, along with his sympathy for Johnny having passed away……. The memory of that Bradenton trip now leaves me with an even prouder memory of my son John touching others once again in a positive way. Enjoy Marcus Braswell’s story and the photos. Its all true.
John McLane Sr.
Dear Hayden & Jack:
I am certain that you have read many, many messages from your father's closest, dearest friends, who were more like brothers and sisters to him. My letter is a little different since I was not lucky enough to consider myself one of those close, close friends. I took the time to write this because even though John McLane never spent the night at my house growing up, or played on my team, or joined my fraternity, or lived across the street from me, I know for a fact that he was one the most honest, polite, friendly, and well-mannered people who ever lived.
So, this is a letter from one of John's "satellite" friends. He always made me feel welcome even if I wasn't in his circle of closest friends.
My brother and I first met your dad when he arrived in Gainesville and started playing baseball in our little league. One hot summer, he and my brother, Chuck, were on the same baseball team; an all-star team of course. It probably was when your dad was 13. They had a game in Bradenton that John was supposed to pitch in. John ended up riding in the car with my mother to the game, instead of on the bus with the rest of the kids on the team.
Unfortunately, the car broke down. Completely. He was stuck there with a kid's mom in the hot sun. He barely knew her and he missed pitching in the game. But, he did not complain. He did not blame our broken down car or my mother. How do I know this?
Because my mother told that story many times when my brother and I were growing up. She remembered it, more than 20 years later too, when I told her about your dad's tragic passing. She told us that story to show us that even teenagers can be polite, patient, and have good manners. At the service, I told your Grandfather the story too. He also remembered that day in Bradenton.
I was deeply saddened by John's illness and passing. I can only hope that this story brings some comfort and good cheer. Take care.
Thanks for helping me pedal through the 100 mile "World's Most Beautiful Bike Ride". I wouldn't have been able to do it without you. I'm sure you think I'm crazy for participating in such an event (it's not the first time), but it was an amazing experience both mentally and physically. Raising money and meeting people wanting to beat this awful disease was rewarding and something that I know that you would do if you were here. No one should have to endure what you did. It is difficult for me to meet people that are in their battle. It's hard to be positive....we had so much hope and you fought so hard. I only hope that their is a cure soon! I love you and wish so much that there was more that could have been done during your battle. I will continue to help fight this disease in your honor. I miss you!
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you my mom, Barbara Slaybaugh, is in heaven with you now. You probably already know this but I wanted to let your family know as well. She left us for a better place on Thursday, March 15th. She is now cancer free and out of pain. We will miss her tremendously. She was an incredible mother and grandmother and it is hard to imagine not being able to pick up the phone and talk to her.
Even though my mom didn't know you she had a special bond with your situation. She always asked about you. She also got to see my baby boy Jake one week before she passed. I also got a chance to tell her we will be ok and she said I know. It was a special moment for my family.
I miss you buddy.
Go Gators! this may sound greedy but see if you can pull a few more strings and get us another national championship in hoops.
Dear Holly and kids,
I was a friend of John from the high school & college years in G'ville, and was the third roommate the first year he & Wende lived in Windmeadows Apartments. I have watched the website & spoken to a few people close to John throughout his illness. Even though we have never met, Holly, I want to send you a little memory I have of John that makes me smile. It crosses my mind whenever someone at my house leaves a dirty dish out on the counter...
When we first moved into the apartment-Wende & I sharing a bedroom, John of course got his own-we were talking about kitchen protocol. John told us as he unpacked his small supply of dishes, "This one bowl, and this one spoon are all I will use all week. I eat my cereal in it in the morning, eat a sandwich over it for lunch, then put my spaghetti or whatever in it for dinner. I rinse it out in between. But I won't be getting any other dishes dirty & please don't wash my bowl & put it away- it's all I need for the week."
I know it is such a little tiny memory, but it is one that sticks with me...and I wanted to share it with you. Love & a big hug to you...Sylvia (Siegel) Correnti
It has been one year and two days since you've been gone. Often I feel like it was yesterday that we were fighting like hell and had so much hope. Other days it seems like so long ago. I feel your presence so often and that is very comforting to me....I know you are ok and that you are always with us. Though I am thankful that you do not have to suffer any longer, I miss you terribly. I wish so much that you could be here to share in the joy of Hayden and Jack. That's how it was supposed to be....you, me and our family. I'm doing my best to move forward, but it is so difficult not having you here day to day to touch me, make me laugh or just to talk to. I know you would want me to be strong and I'm doing my very best, but as time passes I miss you more and the pain gets deeper. It is difficult for me to look at the pictures of our life together. Our happiness, our closeness, our connection, our love. Our time was too short. You were and always will be my everything! The kids and I love and miss you. We talk about you daily....Jack knows who daddy is when he's shown a picture of you, as does Hayden. Hayden knows that you are in Heaven and asks if she can go see you. I wish so much that it was possible. I'd give anything to see and hold you again.
I love you!!!
Hey Buddy, Hard to believe it's been a whole year since you left us. Everyone (myself and my family included) has really made a great effort to see to it that your family knows they are loved and cared for. We have seen Holly, Jack and Hayden several times in the past year and have really enjoyed them - what a great legacy you left behind in those 3! They are all fantastic and very much loved. You are in our hearts and memories, not just today but everyday, Johnny. Miss you pal.
Johnny, it's been a year today since you left us for that great sports arena in the sky. It's been a tough year, but you are in my heart every single day. I gained so much strength from you just watching how you handled your struggles through your last two years. We don't have any promises in life, but you made every day count, and while your time here was unfairly short, you lived it to the fullest. And through it all, you managed to leave us two great kids to keep us company and pass on all your attributes through them. We love and miss you terribly, Mom
P.S. Dad and Jason thank you for making the Gators win. Dad said the game was like there were strings attached to the gators and you were up there like a marionette working your magic. And keep sending me pennies.
Dear Holly, Hayden and Jack: It has been almost one year since Johnny passed away. Over the past year there have been numerous milestones,events,celebrations and get-togethers to include Hayden and Jack's birthdays,McLane family fun day,memorial golf tourney,birthday parade in Denver,Fourth of July,Thanksgiving in Tallahassee,anniversary in September,Christmas and New Years. We even witnessed two sporting events,Florida Gator basketball and football National Championships. I'm certain that all of Johnny's extended family and friends across the country had him and his memory in their thoughts throughout the past year...and especially so during the above celebrations. I,m convinced as a father that Johnny left us for a special place we call heaven,that he is happy and productive there,that he watches over us everyday and that he participated in each and every milestone,celebration,party,parade and championship. It is this assurance that keeps me hopeful,happy and positive even during some of the harder days. I only have to think about our family and friends and the constant love and support shown over the past year to convince me that Johnny lived a special life. We not only will never forget him,we will draw comfort and strength knowing he is with us daily. I love you Johnny, my "Prince". May God bless and keep you safe. IN LOVING MEMORY. John McLane,Sr. (Macaw)
Hayden and Jack, Today I finished reading the book "The Games Do Count" by Brian Kilmeade. The photo that follows shows Johnny (your daddy)holding the book I bought him for Christmas 2004. He was still reading his copy (up to page 62) at the time he passed away. In deference to Johnny I "paused" on page 62 for a couple months. In the years to come you will learn about the tribute to your daddy,possibly at that time you will receive your personal copies of the book, autographed by the author.He was honored that his book would be used as a tribute for such a fine young man. I want to thank all the friends and family who joined me in this tribute, by reading the book themselves. Anyone who knew Johnny and truly understood his love for sports would understand the sentiment of using this book to honor him. He knew, as much as anyone, the values you can acquire from love of and participation in sports. He epitomized those values in the life he lead: dedication and hard work, goal-oriented, fairplay and sportsmanship, teamwork and camaraderie, sacrifice, and keeping victory or defeat in proper perspective so they both become positive forces in your life. Sports helped make Johnny the special person he was. You might keep that in mind as one of many life lessons I would offer to you. After the photo of Johnny, I am submitting ten photos from the birthday parade held for Johnny in Denver on Sept. 24,2006. As described in an earlier Legacy entry, friends and family had a great afternoon parade and party, climaxed by singing a birthday song and releasing balloons into the bright blue sky. Hayden, the one photo of you looking up at the balloons going to your daddy is priceless. God bless you both. Love Macaw.
Dear Hayden and Jack, It was so nice to see you both recently in Tallahassee for the 2006 UF-FSU football weekend, where the Gators prevailed in a game that was too close for comfort. You were staying at your Uncle Brandon's home and there were lots of family and friends there as well. I can't wait to get to know you both better with each passing year and trust that each of you will want nothing more than to be a FLORIDA GATOR!!! I miss your Dad very much but I am able (strange as this may sound) to talk with him from time-to-time. It's difficult to explain (and even grasp or completely understand at times) but he visits me, among other places, when I'm driving in my car or relaxing outside in the yard. Our conversations are short and reassuring -- Your Dad is so proud of both of you. Close your eyes and you can feel his smile :) I look forward to seeing you guys soon.
Tomcat - a nickname given to me by your Dad
Dear McLane family,
I am an old friend of Jason's from Oakland Park Elementary, and Northeast. I was trying to hunt Jason down online and I came across the sad news. I know this is late in coming, but I'm deeply saddened by the news of John's passing. Please give my love and warmest regards to Jason, too.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Holly & McLane Family,
I just came back to this site for the first time since John's funeral and I love that people are adding updates. THANKS.
I was thinking of all of you last Saturday after the blocked FG in the South Carolina game. I couldn't bare to watch so I ran to the side of the bar at Jacksons in Denver waiting for the crowds reaction. I was praying to Johnny to somehow block the kick and sure enough, the rest is history. I fell on the ground and was very emotional. I missed Johnny so much because he would have been the first person I would have high fived and hugged. The rest of the night, I reflected on how much Johnny enjoyed Gator football, being around (PDA) Holly and talking about Gator games of the past with his brother, mom and dad. Almost forgot he also talked alot about how good of a WR he was in HS.
On a down note, my mom's cancer has spread to her brain. She is tough lady but is just tired of being sick. We are realistic and know she doesn't have much time left. We don't know the life expectancy prognosis but I will be making many trips to Florida in the coming months to see her before she starts to slide. I will tell her to give Johnny a hug in heaven for us.
Love you all,
Dear Hayden and Jack:
On Monday Sept. 4, 2006 (Labor Day) we visited the University of Florida Gatorwalk and found the brick designed by Uncle Jason that honors your daddy. The brick reads:
Gator On Earth
John M. McLane Jr.
Gator In Heaven
Hayden, you were a little "antsy" that day and would not sit still by yourself next to the brick. So your Mom held you upside down (which you truly enjoyed) and got your picture.
Your daddy's brick is in section S-13 the section closest to University Avenue. When ESPN set up its Gameday Booth for the UF vs LSU game, the booth was set up right on top of your daddy's brick...nothing could please him more than that.
Many friends and family can now honor Johnny (our son, your daddy) by visiting his memorial brick. Also, when the Gator Football team gets off the team bus and walks to the stadium before each home game, they walk right over this Gator Lover's brick. What a great tribute to a true Gator Fan.
We love you.
Grandma and Grandpa McLane
(Granny Janny and Macaw)
I KNOW you enjoyed the exciting game we had in the swamp yesterday against LSU. Just thinking of you this homecoming weekend. Miss you friend- "CC"
Dear Hayden and Jack: Time has been going so fast that, 2 weeks ago we had the neighborhood parade in honor of your daddy and I just realized that another special event had come and gone that we need to document for you. Back on September 3rd the 1st Annual John Michael McLane Golf Tournament was held in honor and memory of your daddy (my son) in Gainesville, Florida.The oroginal idea of the Tournament was a collaboration of several people to include Bryan Ridley, Troy Woeste, Amy McClain (maiden name) and others. They contacted one of Johnny's high school baseball teammate John Darr who coordinated with Haille Plantation to hold the tournament. 44 people participated in what is called a shotgun scramble format,roughly 11 teams of 4 per team. It was a great day, very hot but thankfully no rain. Aunt Chris and I (Macaw) handled the registration and at noon that Sunday the teams made their way out to their starting holes. While all the golfers played golf for the next 5 hours, others involved had their own fun. Your mother (Holly) drove around the course with Karii Levy and Betsy Woeste delivering "beverages" to keep everyone cool. We learned not to turn Holly loose in a golf cart...she goes crazy. All the girls had a blast. Uncle Jason also went around taking pictures of the guys out on the golf course. Aunt Chris and I did the same and learned it is not easy to go backwards (start at 18 and go to 1) on a golfcourse...none of the signs are readable to you and you can easily go the wrong way, which we did several times. The last team finished around 5pm and everyone headed over to John and Holly Darr's home for a second-to-none barbeque. There was food galore,swimming pool, hottub, and conversation into the night. We had gotten a trophy which read John Michael McLane Jr. Golf Tournament, Gainesville, Florida with 12 nameplates to list winning teams over this 1st annual and future years. It was decided that John Darr and Bryan Ridley would share the trophy over the next year. The winning golf team included: Todd Noegle,Jeff Ridley,Noel Simmons and Scot MacDonald. They received gift certificates and pictures were taken of their team holding the trophy. Gary Willis and his Dad won the "father/son" award. They flew in all the way from Kansas. Lorne Levy won for being the, shall we say, "most frustrated" but it was worth some gifts as well. Lorne came all the way from Denver with Karii. Also from Denver were Nick Decker and Tony Slaybaugh and wife. Up from Ft. Lauderdale were your daddy's long-time buddies Eric Waters and Greg Ferguson along with Tommy. Bryan, Jeff and Matt Ridley, Jeff Coleman, Chris Smithers, "right said" Mike Williams,Gary Wood,Dan Schaeffer, and others were there, many with wives and children. Your Uncle Brandon brought a bunch of his buddies from Tallahassee (all avid FSU fans) and they all golfed and had a great time. Its great that they would support so strongly a die-hard Gator like your daddy. We thank them for that support. Great guys. Oh, by the way, the only girl in the golf tournament was Jen, your nanny. She teamed with Brandon and his dad, Don Miller. Troy and Betsy Woeste sponsored the purchase of T-shirts with logos both front and back. They were a big hit and a great idea. Also present were your grandma Jenny,cousin Brodie and great grandma Izzy. Hayden, you and Jack and Brodie had great fun in the pool and playing other kids. What a great night. If granny janny teaches me how to put picture on this site, I will do so for both the golf tourney and the parade. That way you can remember thru pictures as can everyone else. Uncle Jason emceed the awards and was an all-around great help all day long. We thank everyone for a fun and successful event. Looking forward to next year. It was a fantastic event in honor and memory of a fantastic young man, your daddy...John Michael McLane Jr.
WE LOVE YOU.
John McLane Sr.(Macaw)
Dear Johnny, I just returned home from Denver this weekend where,as you know, the Gators went to 4-0 by beating Kentucky and we had a wonderful neighborhood parade to celebrate your birthday. Participants included: Holly,Hayden,Jack,Mom and Dad,Aunt Chris,Cremar,Jason and Amanda,Lorne and Kari and children,Jen,Kyle Bachus and wife and daughter,Eric and Sara Hagevik and children,Kathy Schakow and daughter. I hope I didn't leave anyone out. Jason and Amanda led with a banner (made by artists Aunt Chris and Mom) saying "Happy Birthday Daddy". We traveled down Atchison blowing Kazoos,beating drums (the Hagevik daughter was a great drummer) shaking tamborenes, ringing bells etc. all while dressed in funny hats,beads, carrying colored balloons and taking photos. In about 15 minutes we were back in front of the house where we all sang Happy Birthday and released all our colored balloons, including the last to be released...the purple balloon. We watched the balloons for as long as they were in sight, the last two that were visible were, you guessed it, one orange and one blue. Go figure!! A jet with its trailing vapor stream (?) could be seen high above as the balloons drifted towards it. It was very moving. I hope you enjoy the balloons, Johnny, they represent alot of love from your family, friends and loved ones. We then all enjoyed a feast of food and socialized while the kids played in the tunnel, tent, wagons etc.The kids especially really enjoyed the experience. It might as well been the Rose Bowl Parade to them. We all had a wonderful time in wishing you a great birthday. My personal thanks to all who participated, those who because of distance wish they could, and all those who on or about Sept. 26th had Johnny in their thoughts and prayers. I could feel your presence. Johnny, we had a great celebration in your honor... there certainly is no shortage of love and support for you,Holly, Hayden and Jack. I know you are smiling with pride. We love and miss you dearly. You are eternally my "Prince". Happy Birthday dearest Johnny.
Your loving Dad
Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday....I remember always joking with eachother- this time of year- about being the two youngest people in the Class of 88! We all miss you John. Happy Birthday!! -"Chipmunk Cheeks"
Our birthdays are only one day apart, so I always think of you around mine. This week I thought of you alot more though, because this year was so different for all of us. You and your family are always in our thoughts, especially in late September. Miss you buddy.
Happy Birthday Johnny the Boy. I miss you and know that everyone else misses you, too.
Happy Birthday John!
I miss you!!!!
We're just weeks away from the start of Gator football. The second year of Urban Meyer and the spread offense. I think Chris Leak is going to have a breakout year. If not, we have a hotshot freshman QB named Tim Tebow waiting in the wings. My friends in G-Ville tell me that Tebow gets mobbed for autographs on campus and he hasn't even thrown a single pass! The running game is still suspect. They're suppose to use Moore, Wynn, Thornton and just about anyone else until Meyer finds a back he likes. We've even reloaded at the WR position after Chad Jackson bailed on us for the NFL. We're ranked in the top ten of all the polls I've seen so far so big things are ahead. The schedule though is a killer. We're @ Tenn. and Auburn and home for LSU, Alabama, South Carolina, and FSU all of whom are ranked. I guess if you want to be the best you got to beat the best. Regardless its going to make for some exciting Saturdays. I know that you'll be looking down on Ben Hill Griffin rooting us on. I miss you.
We miss you...but I think we saw you a lot this past month with the amazing rainbows we have seen at Siesta Key this july. Our family is here for the month of july every year having many visitors and fun times and feeling so blessed always. This year the rainbows after the afternoon storms were different...they were you looking at us...hoping and wishing for our futures and happy times. I cannot but think that you have had something to do with us being able to do this every year. Thank you Johnny we miss you.
Love The Cato's..Kyle, Kim, Christopher & Carter.
I've had numerous conversations with Johnny over the past few months. Recently during a particularly bad day he cheered me up with this:
ODE TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS
I know you think I left too soon,
That my life had only just started,
There was still so much for me to do,
I left family and friends down-hearted.
What could possibly be the reason,
For taking a son, husband and father away,
At so early in the season,
It would be better if I stay.
In truth at first I felt the same,
As I looked down from above,
I asked my new friends when I came,
Why? I need more time to share my love.
Their reply was really quite clever,
I must honestly admit,
Though it still might take forever,
To convince myself of it.
They claimed that I was needed there,
Since they were "putting a team together",
My skills and mind were wanted where,
They could be utilized much better.
It took some time to see the light,
Not a concept I could easily grasp,
But while watching my loved ones the other night,
It dawned on me at last.
I've much more time to keep you safe,
To prepare and clear your way,
I can love you full-time from this vantage place,
Now that "Life" doesn't take up my day.
I can watch you smile,
I can dry your tears,
While all the while,
I can ease your fears.
I can watch you grow,
And fall in love,
Its a beautiful sight,
From up above.
I can bring you rain,
Or a sunny day,
They are tears of joy,
A beacon to light your way.
So when you're low,
And its a stormy day,
Gaze on the rainbow,
I'll send your way.
As you now might see,
It all makes sense,
They needed me,
On the team's defense.
So rest well tonight,
The whole night through,
I'll fight the fight,
For all of you.
I can protect you now,
Its the job I know,
Up here in heaven.
Happy Father's Day John!
This past week, friends of ours (Brian and Trisha Campbell) offered for me and the children to stay at their Silverthorne home. It worked out that we would head up to the mountains on Father's Day. A perfect place to celebrate John. Most of you do not know, but the day that John passed I told him that me and the kids would send him a balloon on important days throughout our lives. After John's passing my sister and I took a walk around the hospital. On our way back to John's room, we entered the hospital and I was telling Kerry what I had said to John in his final breathing moments with me. As we turned the corner, there in the corridor was a floating purple balloon. Not a soul in sight, just me, Kerry and the balloon. Some of you may not believe in signs, but this was a turning point in my belief.
This Father's Day I decided to take the kids on a hike with Jen and release a Father's Day balloon. It was a beautiful hike....Tenderfoot Trail. We approached an opening that was open and surreal. The sun glared down on us perfectly. As we released the balloon a strong gust of wind came and blew the balloon in a tree. Determined, Jen and I spent a half hour throwing rocks and taking large tree limbs to move away the branches to release the balloon, all while the kids were screaming in the background. In the end, I ended up popping the darn thing. We had videotaped some of this and as this happended Jen said to me "we can always go back and erase this from the video." I laughed and said "no way, John would greatly appreciate this and would want his children to get a laugh out of their mom." I'm sure John was up there saying to someone....."this is why I need to be there." (hee hee) We decided to leave and do it another day.
On Tuesday I went up to Sapphire Point to relish in the beauty and to remember the happiest day of our life. It was a gorgeous morning. I walked the path to our "suppose to be marriage sight" and smiled on the memories of that day and the days leading up to that day. I cried remembering those moments but it was a peaceful pain. I promised John I would never leave his side. I know John is with me and the children and I am reassured that he will never leave our side.
The following day I took the kids to the Quandary Grille for lunch. After lunch, Hayden, Jack and I stuck our feet in Maggie Pond, something that I never imagined I would be doing without John. Afterward, at the exact location of our marriage vows, we released a Father's Day Balloon to him. It was a clear day and we watched the balloon until we could no longer see it.
John.....you are and always will be an amazing father. We will celebrate you forever! Our children will grow to be wonderful human beings because of you. Our love was strong and my memories will never fade. These memories will be shared with Hayden and Jack forever. We love you and hope that you received our balloon with our note.
Booger, Baby Bubba and Happy Jack
"There he is," said one of my Pony League All-Star baseball teammates (Age 13-14), during the Summer of 1983. "So that's him," I mused internally. John stood out like a giant among ants in Bradenton, Florida under the scorching summer sun. He was 6' "1" (at 12 yrs old) while everyone else on his Bronco League team (age 11-12) was nearly a foot shorter. The vision of John sticks in my head as clearly today as it did then: His teammates huddled around him, he their stalwart hero. Even then, from a distance, I could tell he was humble and reserved with the usual flare of a teenage spirit.
John was a literal man among boys, his physical talents unmatched; if only there could have been one more John -- the Gainesville Boys Club Bronco Team would have won it all!
As I sit here tonight at my computer (well over 4 months since John's passing) tears slowly dribble from my eyes as I relive that vision of my eternal friend.
"There he is, that's John McLane."
It was just two short years ago (June 2004) when Jan and I were in Denver following the birth of our gorgeous granddaughter (Hayden Elizabeth) that John and Holly gave each of the four grandparents what I'll call a "memories" book. Now the "memories" book was small in dimension but quite large(and intimidating)in content... by that I mean there was a separate page for each day of the year (thats 365 pages according to my calendar) and each page had at least one question, and in some cases several questions. The purpose of the book was foreach grandparent to answer all the questions, which would give a great background of their life to be passed on to Hayden so she would learn some very valuable information about each grandparent. Now many of the questions were quite simple: Do you remember your first bike? Who was your favorite teacher? Who was your favorite aunt and uncle? Why? Where were you born? Etc.Etc. Others were a little more in-depth. Who were some of your childhood friends in grade school? Junior High? High School? The last three questions all on the same page I might add! What were your early Christmas' like; Thanksgivings? Fourth of July,etc.? So the book wanted to draw out some details which of course is a noble cause, and I wanted to take it as seriously as possible. As a matter of fact there were numerous pages with questions that either were not applicable or nearly impossible to recall. I was determined to not let those pages remain unanswered and therefore... Blank. Afterall, this is my written legacy to my first grandchild, and who knows how long I'll be around for her to know her granddad "in person". It crossed my mind that this book might become the "best source of information" on the life of Hayden's Grandpa McLane. I remember at the time it kind of scared me a little, especially since John had been diagnosed with cancer just 2 months earlier. Suffice to say I wanted to take this "memories book" seriously, enough so that on pages that really "didn't apply" or asked rather inane questions, I pasted in photos of my life and described them. I did the same on pages that lets say asked Where were you born? I answered tha question and pasted in a copy of my birth certificate. In doing this project in this way, you can imagine it took on a life of its own. I had pictures of our first dog with me age 5, my dad and brothers on the page which asked "what was the name of your first dog? Sooooo, the book that was 365 pages with a spiral edge started getting pretty thick...lets be honest... real thick, to the point where I needed to bind it with a colorful ribbon to come close to keeping it from exploding!!! I guess I wasn't taking any chances that John and Holly would someday let Hayden know what her grandpa McLane was all about. I was assuring that in one "fell swoop" (what in the world does that mean?) Don't let me kid you, I was taking great pride in my efforts to make this "memories book" something special,even though there were many times I asked myself why? Why do you do these things to yourself? Why couldn't you just answer the questions you can, skip the ones you can't, be done with the book and "turn it in" to John and Holly years before Hayden could read it? Mission Complete!! But once I started, I couldn't pull up short... it would have been lopsided for one thing, and that might have scarred Hayden forever. So I slogged on, picture after picture, answer after answer. Now where is my baby book with the pictures of my 1st grade classmates?
I know I remember a picture of me taking a bath;that shouldn't be so hard to find. Did we have green beans for Thanksgiving, or corn? or both? Hayden needs this important information and Im the messenger who must track it down. So I did. I submitted my completed "memories book" on Hayden's 1st birthday; it looked like an addendum to some last-minute Senate investigation, fanned out to three or four times its original size and tied shut with a purple "heavy duty" ribbon. I could only hope that they would take great care opening it in front of Hayden lest it "explode" and scare her to death if not actually hurt her. I'll admit I was very proud of the finished product, glad to have lived through the effort, and hopeful that they didn't plan on another child real soon. Would photocopying the original for future grandchildren be tacky??? We all got a few laughs after briefly going through the book. John and Holly seemed genuinely pleased, so I guess thats what really counts.
SO WHATS THE POINT OF ALL THIS??
The thought occured to me recently about how concerned I was two years ago (and then again 1 year ago when we gave my book to Hayden) that Hayden know "something" about me, her granddad on her father's side. No one knew at the time what would transpire only 8 short months later, that Hayden may well personnally get to know her grandpa McLane more than she would get to know her daddy. And in less than 2 years I would go from worrying that she might not remember me, to sharing the burden and daunting task of making sure that her daddy's 35 years are equally documented in a "memories book" that now she will have to share with her little brother, the miracle baby, "happy" Jack. Having gone through what I did for the "grandpa" book, I'm confident that I can "bring to life" the life of my son, Holly's husband, Hayden and Jack's dad, everyone's friend. I'll proudly give it my best effort.
What a difference 2 years make. In loving memory to Johnny, as good a son as any dad could ever hope for.
John McLane Sr.
The trip was planned. John, cousin Jenny, and I were traveling to Jenny's parents' vacation home in the North Georgia mountains (near Helen, Georgia) for a few days of R&R before we ramped the intensity-meter up a few (maybe more than a few) notches for the 1995 UF-UGA game. For those of you that may not recall, that game was played in Athens due to Gator Bowl construction activities. There was no chance that John was going to miss that game, period! This was also a time when Gator football ruled the SEC with an iron fist and all indications pointed to UF beating UGA by a comfortable margin. The forecast was correct -- we not only won the game, we utterly embarrassed UGA and its fans. A beautiful day indeed as John would later recount. The real story behind this trip, however, was not the lopsided UF victory. Instead, it was the realization that whenever (if Bryan Ridley reads this, "whichever") I took a road trip with John -- and there are simply too many to count -- I knew that everything was going to be Ok. John was a pizza delivery guy for many, many years so the thought of getting lost was not a variable that one (especially John) ever contemplated. But, in this rare instance, we did find ourselves a bit turned-around on the very dark and narrow North Georgia mountain roads. Ultimately, however, we found our way. And importantly, there was never an ounce of concern because John was driving us and I knew that he would hone in on the correct location. Along these lines, Jenny, John, and I laughed about the incident, both during the event and afterwards. John was always in control, fastidious in his attention to detail, never wavering in his decision-making. Not a day goes by that I do not think fond, wonderful, beatufiul (John would kick me for using this descriptive word :), sorry John) thoughts about my friend, John McLane. [*I will amend this entry at a later date with a few choice pictures taken during the trip].
So, off we drove from Gainesvile
John and I shared many memories on and off the field. he was my right hand man. A very consistent wide receiver and person. he will be missed . Good old # 87. he ran the best curl routes. HE TAUGHT ME! Thanks John.
Thank you so much for the awesome friendship we shared throughout high school. I will forever remember our talks and your constant optimism. But above all- I will always smile when I think of how you always greeted me each day.....by pinching my face and calling me chipmunk cheeks....with that big bright grin. We are all truly blessed for having had you in our lives and sharing a friendship with such a wonderful person. May your family find comfort in the beautiful memories they were able to make with you and in knowing that you are smiling down on us all......until we meet again my friend,
Two and one-half months have passed since my son John Jr. left his family and many friends after a tough fight with Hodgkins. I purposely let some time pass before attempting an entry into this guest Tbook. However, I must admit the main reason was the suddeness of his passing and the hurt and shock that it brought to me. Now some days it seems fairly long ago and some days it seems like yesterday. I seem to be witnessing all the symptoms "they" tell you about, going through all the "usual stages" and so far it is true...each day is usually easier than the previous, with some exceptions when the stark reality hits you as if it happened today with no warning. As I expressed to many of you at the time at both the Denver and Gainesville "celebrations of Johnny's life" I found real comfort in the expressed love and memories shared by his many friends. That comfort came at a time when I thought the wounds were too new and raw to feel any comfort at all...thats how overpowering the love and caring atmosphere was to me. It is a feeling I can carry with me forever, no one can ever deny me of it or remove it from my heart. As I relayed to Holly recently, I'm glad she decided to continue with her (which of course means OUR) family website and has linked up with the guest book site, because it provides what I think will be the perfect venue to continue the celebration of Johnny's legacy. What better place to add real life and character to the photographs that Holly, Hayden and Jack will surely pour over in the years to come. This space can be used to fill in the pieces of the person that Johnny was. It donned on me the other day that John was 35 and that Holly had known him for about five years. Now granted alot happened in that time, friendship,courtship, Holly moving to Denver, engagement, wedding, pregnancy, learning of cancer, birth of Hayden,chemo,radiation,diaphragm problems,more chemo,more radiation,more diaphragm problems,miracle pregnancy with Jack,stem call transplant #1,more chemo, radiation,birth of "smiley Jack,trouble with insurance, stem cell transplant #2 from an ever-supporting and loving brother, Jason, feeling the best ever around New Years 2005, complications and hospitalization in early January 2006, and finally too many problems to mention or overcome at the last. Now I don't know about you but that seems like a lifetime of events to me...not just five years. Holly knows infinately more about Denver's hospital system than she does about its tourist attractions. I'm determined to make sure that Hayden and Jack know infinately more about their loving Daddy than any children their age ever learned about their dear father. That is my task and I accept the challenge. In the coming days, months, years I plan on contributing differnet quips,memories,tales,stories,jokes,
anecdotes that I can recall about John's life. They won't be in any order, just as they come to me. I have albums upon albums of photographs of John's 35 years (as most of you probably already guessed)all dated and documented...so jogging the memory will be no problem. My main purpose is to make a record for Hayden and Jack to truly learn and understand about their Daddy who died before they truly got the chance to know him. That fact is probably good in the sense that their young lives were not tragically upset because they are "too young to remember". But it is my job (with help from anyone who can contribute) to make sure that they indeed were not too young to learn "all there is to know" about their wonderful father.No story is too complicated or too simple, no memory too meaningless. Remember, this is filling in 35 years of life for two beautiful children who deserve to know the history and details of their father's life...a life that recent events have shown very clearly touched many many people in so many ways- some for a fleeting moment, some for many years. I have no intention of making John out to be perfect, I'll gladly point out some "warts" or bumps in the road as we reach them. I would like to thank my brother Woody for finding this website and getting it started.Thanks again to my brother Robert and sister-in-law Carol for having the foresight to "secure" it for eternity before it drifted off into "technology hell,or heaven"). Thanks to Holly for being the strongest, most-supportive wife a father-in-law could ever hope for. I dedicate the remainder of this guest book to Her and Hayden and Jack. With the help of all of you who can send me or better yet contribute on line to this site, memories,tales,fun times,sports events,trips,girl stories,parties,work relations,special events sporting and otherwise...even rumors if they have a hint of truth to them. We'll include them all. Why not. As I look forward I must admit that I am finding solace in the many acts of random kindness that I now witness daily...funny how you can see them if you look for them. I have been struck by some of the subtle things that have changed and affected some of you that I've talked to in the past couple months. All encouraging,some profound in their own way, but definately encouraging that good things can result directly from a young man dieing too early in his life. I personally am contributing every instance to Johnny and the effect he had on those he left behind. Is there any one of you that thinks it just a coincidence that the Gators won the NCAA basketball championship for the first time ever exactly 2 months after John took 1 hour to ask me what the Gators were ranked, just hours before passing away. No coincidence. He and Uncle Scott were pulling strings while enjoying hot wings and coronas with a wedge of lime in the bottle neck, just as sure as Johnny was a die-hard Gator fan. They knew the outcome all along they just wanted to see the expressions on our faces when reality hit. All I can say is keep an eye out for Gator football in the years to come. I'll close for now. Thanks to everyone for their support not only recently, but for the many years our lives have crossed. Thanks to Kim and Kyle Cato for a wonderful 1st Annual McLane Fun Day which was a success both financially and "good times wise". Thanks to all of you who came and/or contributed from afar. Holly promises to attend the next one. Kids had a great time on the Jump house, water slide and obstacle course. And the Gators sent cinderalla (George Mason) home inside a pumpkin that night too. Thanks Johnny. We love and miss you. LOVE DAD
First of all, I want to express my deepest condolesences to Holly, Hayden, Jack and John's family. A wonderful man has left us, but he is in a beautiful place and looking down on his family and many friends, smiling. Holly and I worked together when she lived in Sarasota and shared many laughs. I remember when she first met John and expressed her excitement getting to know him, carrying on a great, long-distance on-line correspondence and finally introducing him to me when he came to visit early in their relationship. I knew within minutes of meeting him that they were perfect for each other and would begin a beautiful life together. While I was sadden to see Holly move far away to Colorado, I was thrilled to know that she was beginning a wonderful life with such an amazing man. I would read with fondness his many e-mails to us, chronicling his illness and treatment, amazed by his gift of writing and sense of humor through it all. I looked forward to receiving his updates over time and admired his outlook on life. While I'm saddened by the loss, not only for those lucky to have loved and known him, I take pleasure reading and hearing the impact he made on so many - he will live on in Holly, Hayden and Jack. God Bless.
My deepest sympathy goes to John's family and friends. I had the privilage of growing up with John and going to school with him. I went to a college in Orlando and was able to visit him in Gainesville every now and then. I am deeply saddened and shocked to find out that he is no longer with us on earth. I find comfort in knowing that he is in a better place and, knowing that God doesn't make a much better person than John, I know he is receiving the royal treatment in heaven. He touched many lives in his short time, and I know that he will continue to be with his family through his children. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, and please know what a wonderful person I knew John to be.
Pam Heileman (Prowell)
Mike and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the entire McLane family. John was a wonderful man and will be missed. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Kate and Mike Perreault
I attended your service,and celebration party this weekend and returned home even prouder of you and your extended family than ever before. Holly was a pillor of strengh and still able to smile and make others feel at ease. Your legacy will surely live on through your loving wife Holly, and your beautiful children. Your Mom and Dad, both strong as ever, although dieing inside, were troopers. Your brother Jason was absolutly the best. His strength and calmness helped hold us all together. I'm sure you were very proud and pleased and perhaps embarrased at all that was said of you by those that loved you so.I only wish I could have been strong enough to get up there myself and speak of you, but you know me, us Mclane's are too damn emotional for our own good. I want to thank personally, all those that were able to stand and give testament to Johnny and his family.As a family member it made me feel much better, at that terrible time. Johnny, your friends may not realize just how much like you, they are. I can see through them that you chose your circle of friends more by the size of their hearts than anything else.
Im sure you know by now that your Aunt Carol & I, sent you a gift yesterday. We had to put our loving pet, Katie to sleep yesterday, but before doing so we asked her to look you up when she got there because you'd both be a perfect match. You both have, [NOT HAD], the ability to both give and receive, enormous amounts of love. We felt you'd be the perfect match [sure hope you love dogs.]
I'll close for now because I can hardly make out the key's.
My love to you BIG MAN.
It has been several years since I had last spent any time with John. The last time I remember seeing him was at a ball game that I attended with John and Lorne. As I listen to the testimony of his friends and family at the service, I was reminded of his humor, wit, and how comfortable I was around him. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that I would be honored to assist you in even the smallest way.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Our sympathy and prayers goes out to your family during this difficult time. John Michael McLane Jr. may you now rest in peace. And may your family find the strength to carry on. Sincerely, The Garcia's, Paula, Tony, and Jennie Marie
A wonderful family has lost a great guy. From the day I met John, Jan, John and Jason at the "Pie Party" I felt welcomed and part of the family. They share a closeness and comraderie that both Jon (No "H") and I hope to sustain with our sons as they grow. It's too hard to accept that he's gone. We can only look forward and see him not only in Hayden and Jack, but also in his loving and sincere Mom, Dad and little brother. Holly, we'll always be here for you and as a member of the McLane family, you have a wonderful support group and a handful of cousins to keep Hayden and Jack company!
To the McLane family, Tracey and I want to express our sincere condolences on your terrible loss. We were only able to meet John once, at the Gator picnic last summer, but he made such an impact on us! Strength and grace are the two words that come to mind. I'm so thankful that I was able to attend the celebration of John's life. The outpouring of love was heartwarming. It is clear that with so many dear friends, Jack and Hayden will get to know the kind of man their father was.
Again, our hearts go out to all of you.
My deepest sympathies are extended to Holly, her children and all of those who are saddened by the passing of an incredible man. I grew up with Holly and was so happy for her when she met her soulmate John. I did not know him as well as I would have liked, but feel blessed that I did have the opportunity to meet him. I love you Holly and am here for you, Your friend, Nicky
John and Jan,
My deepest sympathy to all of John's loved ones. I was so saddened to read of his passing. Although we all drifted apart over the years certain people always stay in your mind and heart. I will never forget John and my son Ken always playing baseball and the love they had for it. The pain of your loss is felt by all of us who new and loved your family.
May the good lord always look after John and all of those that cared so deeply for such a fine young man.
Holly & McLane Family,
The cermeony for celebrating John's life today was very difficult on me but also very comforting because of the strength and grace of Holly, Jason and the entire McLane family. Johnny would have been very proud.
Johnny touched so many lives but he especially touched my mom's life. She has cancer and was always asking me about his condition. Johnny did the same regarding my mom. After hearing the news of Johnny's passing, she had a very difficult few days but has promised me she is going to dedicate herself to beating the cancer in memory of my friend.
I'm really going to miss Johnny's unassuming wit and passion for everything Gator. We were truely lucky to call him our friend.
Gator Games, Vegas and New Orleans will never be the same without you Johhny. Thanks for the incredible memories that I will never forget.
Tony, Stevie, Casey & Natalie
My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Our sincerest condolences to all who knew and loved John. Our prayers are with you.
LEslie and Enrique Krajmalnik
Holly & family-
Words are usually easy for me to come up with....but not this time. I just want you to know that you are dearly loved and our prayers go out to you & the McLane family.
Dear Holly,Hayden & Jack,
John was a bright light in so many lives, he was a great person to know and be with. Always know you will have our love and support.
Love, Carolyn and Mike
Holly and McLane Family,
I am thinking of you in this time of sorrow.My deepest sympathies are with you and your family.
My thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. We are all thinking of you here at ESJH.
Dear Jason and Family I'm truly sorry for your loss and know the hurt it brings may god bless.
To Jason, Holly, Lorne and the entire McLane family, we share our heavy hearts with you. And we will forever stand by you through such a difficult time.
Johnny Mac, you are everything I could ever hope to be for the Orange and Blue. And I know you now have VIP seats for every game. Enjoy, my Gator brother. I have always felt honored and blessed to call you my friend.
We will all be together again someday. Until then, every smile we take and every touchdown we score…we share with you.
Love and peace,
BC and Tricia
John was the first person that I met at UF as well as one of the few that I have kept in touch with. I was just a lowly freshman in Anatomy class and he was a big man on campus with greek letters and lots of friends. He epitomized a faithful friend when we lost touch after graduation and he remembered where I went to high school to log on to a reunion website and buy my email address to tell me where he was and that he was getting married. I can see through the emails over the past few months as well as this website that he lived his life surrounded by faithful friends and never let them slip away. What a great testimony to his character. That is something that I will always remember about him and try to incorporate into my own life.
I have never met Holly, but I can say with firm conviction that I know that I would not only respect her, but I know I would love her as well. John would only marry the best and she has proven herself to be just that. She, Hayden and Jack will continue to be in my prayers.
As we all know John is the best person that anyone could ever of had the privelege to know. I have known John since 9th grade and have shared more good times and laughter than anyone should be allowed. John is the only person I know that nobody could ever have a bad thought or unkind word about. He was everyones best friend. I cherish the times listening/talking about music, hanging out, living next door in the student ghetto, mimicking the Beatles Abbey Road photo in New Orleans, and watching him tug at his ear. Thanks for laughing at all of my stupid jokes, thanks for making my life more full, and thanks for being such an inspiration. I look forward to seeing what incredible people your children will grow up to be.
Your friend always
Jason and Family-
I know all to well the pain you are experiencing. My heart aches for you. John is a part of you and as long as you go on he will too. With deepest sympathy during this difficult time. Blessings to you.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours Jason. So sorry for your loss. Jona
Unlike many of you, I only met John, in person, a few times. I learned of his great character and humor through the eyes of his soulmate, Holly. The thought that my mind continues to return to is that their love is truly one of those "great loves". I am honored to know them and inpired by their lives. Holly - you are amazing - my heart aches for you, Hayden and Jack - your beautiful children who are part of John's amazing legacy. My deepest sympathies to family and friends for your loss...
Johnny Gator - My fondest memory (I recall few from Rocky Mountain Gator Club parties) was our trip to Baton Rouge two short years ago, and the BIG V over the Tigers. The van ride up, the parking lot (and LSU bar) and of course the ride home that night were of epic proportions. Your sense of humor, everlasting smile, positive nature and commitment to your family and friends, even toward the end, will live on with me and those who knew you within our Gator club and beyond.
Holly and family, stay strong and know that life will change yet go on. We hope you wil remain in CO and look forward to seeing you and the kids at many Gator functions down the road.
Johnny - it was GREAT to be a Florida Gator with you, forever Orange and Blue.
To Holly, Hayden, Jack, the McLane Family and the Millers -
Though I only met Holly and John once, I have known Holly's brother for several years now and have kept up with you through him. Because I love Brandon, Barbi and Brody so much can I say I loved you too. My thoughts and prayers are with you all, especially little Hayden and Jack. Holly, you have an very extended family here in Tallahassee who will be here for you whenever you need us!
Dear Holly,Hayden,and Jack,
I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Dear Jason and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Although a true Gator in every sense of the word, John touched many lives; yes, even some in Tallahassee. John will be missed ever so much. Our sympathy to the entire McLane and Miller family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Our hearts and prayers are with the Mclane family. We are deeply saddened by your loss and our love and prayers will be with you. It has been our priviledge to know and love John. Brad, Beth, and Braden
Johnny, who would of thought that when I moved to Jacksonville in 1995 and went with you to the UF-South Carolina football game that I had not only met my best friend but also would be welcomed into such a large, strong and caring group of friends. We spent the past 10 years, 7 of them as roommates, developing too many memories to mention. As our wives often told us, when it came to useless sports trivia or music or life, we shared a brain. I know that you are in a better place, where you don't have to fight for your life every day. I vow to make sure that Holly, Hayden and Jack are always taken care of the way you would have liked and to always cheer twice as hard for the Gators as I used to. There will always be a void in the part of my life you occupied. Until we meet again at the great Sugar Bowl in the sky. Best friends always!
Johnny, I thank you for the friendship we had these past, all too few, years. You always had a captivating and cheerful spirit that was engaging to all. You made me laugh and you made me think. You allowed me to imagine. Truly gifts given by a friend. I could not ask anything more of anyone.
Holly, Hayden and Jack, please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. John was a man of character and commitment, towards both his family and friends. Always quick with his wit and a supportive quip, he managed to keep his sense of humor throughout these last, difficult months.
John, Jan and Jason, my condolence goes out to your family. Johnny’s smile and unflappable good nature will be surpassed only by his boundless support for his beloved Gators. I’ll miss our “discussions” of Florida sports. He sincerely knew and enjoyed talking about his Gators.
I will never understand why he’s been taken at such an early age but I must comfort myself with the thought that it was his time. His work here was done. He was ready to move on and begin a new journey. My grandmother would recite a Gaelic Blessing for family and friends when their time had come. John, to your new journey.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand
Jan: My heart goes out to you and your family. Although I didn't know John, I've just read through the pages of friends and family and have felt his perfection.
I know you and know you're a wonderful, kind, fun loving, warm human being and that reflects in your son. May God reach down and touch you & your husband with peace; Peace to accept the unacceptable; Peace to touch & become even closer to those he loved and left behind. With love, Mimi
Our deepest sympathy to the McLane Family
I have so many fond memories of John that I really don’t even know where to begin. He was always like a big brother to me, and always seemed to be there when I needed him. When I left Denver to move to Jacksonville, John put together this folder for me with everything I needed to do when I moved there. He printed out web pages, maps and pamphlets, and wrote funny little notes on all of them for me. It was one of the roughest periods of my life, and that was the kindest thing that anyone had ever done for me. I still have that red folder, and I cherish it. Being like a big brother, Johnny new how to pick on me like one too! I remember when John, Holly, Jason & I were in Dallas for Karii & Lorne’s wedding, and he kept making up stories of me being raised by a bunch of “Carnies” on the Jersey boardwalk. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard while being made fun of before. On that same trip, we got 2 flat tires driving home. Looking back now it was hysterical, but at the time, I was amazed that he was able to keep a sense of humor about it. Especially since we were driving for 12 hours and the “tire depot” we found sold everything but tires! :)
To Holly, my dear friend, I love you so much, and my heart is with you. From all of us that knew John prior to you two meeting, it was obvious from the start that you were meant for him. I’m glad that he knew such great love, and had you with him through this struggle. I know that Hayden & Jack will grow up to be strong, loving, and wonderful people, just like their parents.
To Jason, Mr. & Mrs. McLane, Aunt Chris, and the rest of the McLane family, by deepest sympathy and love. John was one of the finest people I’ve ever had the privelege of knowing, and I’m proud and honored to say that he was my friend.
To John, I hope you’re watching the Gators and listening to good music right now. I love you & miss ya buddy. Thanks for making the lives of all who knew you better.
All my love,
Dear Jan and Family:
I am truly sorry for your loss. I know that this is all a lot to bear. I hope you will find some solace with the knowledge that your son put up a very courageous fight and he will always be remembered as a GOOD (through-and-through!) person. Your family will continue to be in my prayers. God bless you all with strength for the very difficult days ahead.
On behalf of all of us at Colliers Abood Wood-Fay, our thoughts and prayers are with you Jan.
Our hearts go out to your entire family.
Having grown up with John since High School, it is hard to imagine him not being in this world. To have had the opportunity to share so many great times with him has truly been a blessing. I will always remember john for his wit, character, and his good friendship. He would bend over backwards to help you at the drop of a dime. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my life and those around us so truly blessed to have you a part of it!
I had the opportunity to know John as just a toddler in Oklahoma and as a young man in Florida. Johnny was a unique and wonderful blend of two uniquely wonderful parents. His warmth, wit, and courage were abundant and a temendous inspiration. My heart breaks for you, Holly, that you lost such a good friend and partner and for you, Jason, in the loss of your brother. Johnny lives on in his two beautiful children and in the hearts of all who love him still.
I wished to pay my respects to the entire McLane family, and am so grateful to have found some small way to do that here. (Thank you.) It is virtually inconceivable that Johnny is gone to me. As I remember him in Gainesville and Lauderdale, he was so vibrant and full of life! His favorite saying: GO GATORS! He was all around amazing, and there wasn't' much he couldnt or wouldnt do, he was a true friend to everyone. (even his little brother's girlfriend back in those days!) His eyes were always kind and his heart pure. My heart and deepest sympathy goes out right now to not only his sweet parents, John and Jan, and the rest of the family, along with his wife and children, but also Jason, his brother. Jason and John were like two peas in a pod, Jason loved his big brother with such deeply rooted admiration and respect, they were the best of friends and I know this is a tough time for him along with everyone else, so with that said, my continued prayers go out to all of you for the up and coming days ahead, and Johnny will be remembered by me as he lived: "Forever Young".
"May the good lord be with you down every road you roam,
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home.
May you grow to be proud, dignified, and true,
And do unto others as you'd have done to you.
Be courageous and be brave,
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young, Forever young
Forever young, Forever young"
To my life-long friend, Johnny the Boy -- you are omnipresent. Your character and overall disposition unflappable and unmatched. I am blessed to have experienced so much of life with you, my friend. Over the coming years I will learn even more about you dear friend through Holly, Hayden and Jack. I miss you,
Your friend forever,
Tom (aka Tomcat/Lada)
Cousin Johnny...you will truly be missed. There are so many wonderful memories that flood my mind. My deepest sympathy to Aunt Jan, Uncle John, cousin Jason, Holly and Johnny's little babies. You are all in my heart and my prayers.
John, I really don't know where to start or if words are even enough. It seems like only yesterday that we were swapping baseball cards, throwing world series pitches in the street and tying sheets (or should I say making tents) around your house for sleepovers. We've been blessed to have been a part of your life and are very proud of the man you became. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends especially your wife and children, your mom and dad and your brother. Their loss is unimaginable. With all our love Karen, Sal, Priscilla and Gisella
We'll never forget John asking Holly to come to our wedding 4 1/2 years ago. They had just started dating, she did not know too many of the Denver crew, and they ended up camping after the wedding! She did not seem to mind that it turned out to be one of those freezing, 20 degree summer nights up in Breckenridge. 2 years later they went up to Breck to tie the knot themselves!
John~ you have given Holly and the rest of your family the best gifts you ever could have- Hayden & Jack. Your energy and love for life will continue to shine through them. We love you and will continue to support Holly, Hayden, and Jack throughout the times ahead.
Holly........are hearts are aching for you and your family.and friends..and we are wrapping our arms even with the distance around you.....words are difficult to express how very sad and disappointed we all are with John's life ending so young. We know this was not his or your wish and certain it was difficult for him as well as you to accept what he or you or the Dr.'s could not change even though he fought a good and brave fight. You have been such a brave, strong cheerleader for him as well as for the rest of us who have been praying for the miracle of a healing life for your soul mate. We continue to love, pray, support best we can in the days ahead. Please know you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers...much love, hugs, & kisses Aunt Judi & Uncle Bob p.s. if you are prompted to call/email us for any help...we are here and want to be that supportive link to help thru any bumps in your road ahead...loving you
I am a lucky man to have been able to call John my friend. He is the nicest man I know. He always brought a smile to eveyones face and everybody loved him. I will always remember all the great times we have had together. John is one of Gods true gifts to us!!!
John McLane,Jr was such a wonderful part of our family. We will truly miss him. We respected his intelligence, his witt and how he loved his family. We felt that he and Holly were the perfect match. They were both so full of life. We respect the way they both handled this long horrible battle.
John, you will always have a place in our hearts. Thank you for the two beautiful grandchildren. We will see you through them.
Our hearts go out to the entire McLane family.
Don & Becky Miller,
Johnny, Thank You for being in our lives. Your cheerfulness, beaming smile, sence of humor, and over-all deep way of showing your LOVE toward all you knew. We will miss you deeply, but allways remember you with the deepest love and affection. LOVE YOU GUY,
Uncle Robert @ Aunt Carol
It pains me to write about my friend, my classmate in High School and college, my teammate, the one who beside me we grew into men, essentially mr brother. For 24 years I could always count on his wit to brighten my days. He was truly unique and held a special place in so many people's heart. I will greatly miss my friend each day and I will forever be thankful for him as a large part of who I am today is because of John McLane and his wonderful family who have alwys been there for me and included me as one of their own. Coooooooooooo!!!
Our hearts go out to my brother John and his wife Jan and Johnny's brother Jason. We are so proud of Johnny's wife Holly for being such a rock during these many trying months. My six-year old grandson Connor McLane called me and my wife Norma on the phone after his mom told him that Johnny had passed away. He told us how sad he was to hear the news and lamented, “I was just getting to know him”. Connor mentioned that Johnny was in Heaven now and was able to see other people and pets up there and was in a good position to look down and see people here on Earth. Connor, who has always been fascinated by John and Holly's two beautiful children Hayden and Jack Woodrow, volunteered to help look after both of them should the need arise. I hope that all of Johnny's wide circle of friends and relatives will make the same pledge. Finally, I am reminded of how shocked and empty I felt when I first learned of the unexpected tragic death of President Kennedy in Dallas. One of the many books I read on JFK after that was one called "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye". I am struck in much the same way now as I reflect on the life of John Michael McLane, Jr., practically a newlywed and a new father with such a young family, so full of promise for the future and all of a sudden he is taken from us. Johnny, we hardly knew ye. Love, Uncle Woody
Our condolences go out to the family. We love you and will cherish the time we had with you forever. Your "Fighting Spirit" and "never quit attitude" is an inspiration to us all.