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SOLOMON--John David. Beloved father of Sara and Rebecca, husband of Abby, son of Ann and Richard, brother of Jimmy, cherished friend to so many, passed away on November 1, 2010 at the age of 47. He died of complications from a stem cell transplant for treatment of leukemia. An accomplished journalist, John was a regular contributor to publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today, as well as to National Public Radio, on homeland security and other public policy topics. He was working on a book about emergency preparedness, to be published in 2011, called, "In Case Of Emergency, Read Book: Simple Steps To Prepare You and Your Family For Terrorism, Natural Disasters and Other 21st Century Crises." John wanted it "to serve as a guide and encouragement for citizens to begin the preparedness process." He created the blog, "In Case of Emergency, Read Blog - A Citizen's Eye View of Public Preparedness", whose readers included the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency according to The Washington Post. Many days (and nights) John would be in his home office or hospital room preparing his next "Feed Blitz". Born June 7, 1963 in Boston, MA, John was raised in New York City where he attended Collegiate School. Selected "Head Boy" by his classmates and faculty, he maintained a lifelong association with the school, from being a member of its Board of Trustees to leading the East Side against the West in 30 annual Thanksgiving Friday football games. John graduated from Harvard College, with a "major" in The Harvard Crimson, and relished being at his 25th Reunion this past spring with his adored girls. His avid interest in politics and, in particular, the role of government developed early, including working the floor of the 1980 Democratic National Convention. John began his career as the Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Philip Sharp before joining New York City's homeless housing development unit. After working in India, John attended Harvard Business School, graduating in 1991. He returned to New York City to manage Lifetime Television's news and public service campaigns, where he met and fell in love with Abby. They were married on May 9, 1998 and were blessed in 2000 with Sara and in 2002 with Rebecca. John covered so much ground while calling so little attention to himself, it is impossible to know all of his civic contributions - big and small. He was a founding board member of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, an Adjunct Instructor in Emergency Medicine at the State University of New York College of Medicine, an active member of New York City's Citizen Emergency Response Team Program, and a Vice Chair of the Trauma and Family Violence Division of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. An All-City basketball player and gifted leader, John was always up for a pickup game - even while on his honeymoon. Through his incomparable kindness, humility, wit, intelligence, integrity, grace, enthusiasm, determination, empathy and love he elevated all of us, individually and collectively. Friends may call Tuesday evening 7-9pm at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st Street. Services will be Wednesday, November 3, 10am at Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue at 65th Street. In lieu of flowers, donations in John's memory may be sent to The New York Community Trust for the John D. Solomon Memorial Fund (at 909 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022) to be disbursed for the charitable purposes that John held dear.

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Published in New York Times on Nov. 2, 2010.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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62 entries
February 21, 2014
John was so amazing and indelible... his memory doesn't fade. I feel so lucky to have known him and be able to say he was a friend. I know we're all still missing you John, with regards, and love to your family.
d c
October 26, 2011
John's presence inspired us to to be anything close to the human being he was and the spirit that he is. Though it's been thirty years since the days on that Collegiate basketball court, I've still thought of John's endless, natural ability to give. If he has come to mind over the past thirty years, what's to stop me from remembering him over the next thirty, and beyond? He is one of the very, very few that leaves a lifetime impact.

My thoughts to Abby, Sara, Rebecca, Ann, Richard, and Jim.

John was living proof of the great human possibilities that we all can be.
Dylan Bernstein
February 14, 2011
I knew John for a few years in the late 1980's when he was a ringer on our architect's softball team in Central Park. He was our Derek Jeter - an agile and gifted athlete on the field and a personable gentleman off the field. His introduction came through his dad Richard, my landlord at 72 Spring Street; Dick subsequently, and rightfully, took credit for some of our close victories. In this and all other aspects of his life, John clearly made Dick and Ann very proud. My dad, too, was a journalist, and I know it takes a special blend of skill, motivation and inspiration to achieve journalism excellence - which by all the accounts and accolades I've read, John Solomon certainly did.
Tom Thornton
February 10, 2011
i was shocked to recently find out of John's passing. I met john through his brother Jim and we played in a basketball league in NYC about 20 years ago. He was such a happy person, someone unassuming but extremely smart and kind. John was passionate about basketball and seemed to have that same fervor for life. My prayers go out to his family.
Lester Ayala
January 11, 2011
I knew John only through cyberspace as we traded emails back and forth for several years on the topic of emergency preparedness. I met John through a telephone interview regarding my work in the field and we kept a good and educational exchange going for 2 years. I will miss his insights and I send my prayers and thoughts to his family. He was a good man. A smart man, and a compassionate man.
Jennings Carney
January 7, 2011
I was truly shocked and saddened to learn of John's passing. I developed a political and personal friendship with John after his story on my mother, Congresswoman Coya Knutson for "George" magazine.
We have lost a wonderful human being.
Terry Knutson
Bloomington, MN
Terry Knutson
November 22, 2010
I was shocked to learn today of John's passing at the LA Sports Club on the Upper East Side. I had the privelege of knowing John on the basketball court over the last several years. John was a fierce defender strong rebounder but more importantly a solid team player. i got to talking to him often before we started to play and he would always talk about the love of his family. Even though he had his illness he did not let it affect his play...he did't want anyones sympathy. The last time we played a few months ago I knew that he was getting weak as he could only play one game before getting tired. I feel now that he wanted to say goodbye to us and the game that meant a lot to him. I really will miss him. He was a good team mate but above all he was a mensch! May his family know further sorrow and be comforted knowing he is at peace.
Barney Greengrass
November 9, 2010
Dear Family of John,
Thank you for sharing this gifted man. I followed his blog and we met in DC to discuss public preparedness and ways to measure it. He added so much to the field and will be missed. My sincere sympathies to the family.
Debra Decker
November 9, 2010
I met John in the fall of 1982, when I showed up broke and a total stranger as a nighttime typesetter for THE HARVARD CRIMSON. He was proofreading my first night on the job, loaned me money for dinner. We spent many evenings working and talking many nights during the next 18 months.

He was a wonderful friend, and I will treasure those open-ended conversations as long as I live. RIP. The memory of the righteous shall be a blessing.
Paul Evans
November 9, 2010
John was a sort of angel of kindness who would call out of the blue for the first time in years -- just to say something nice. For all of his prodigious talents, intelligence and accomplishments, rarer still was the grace and modesty with which John carried them. He was a gentleman and a gentle man and already the world seems a less congenial place for his absence.
Charlie Slack
November 9, 2010
I met John only twice -- the first time when he interviewed me for his blog. We also talked after he was diagnosed with Luekemia because I had had cancer. When I did a bike ride to raise money for pancreatic cancer research at Johns Hopkins, he was incredibly gracious--posting my note and advertising my ride on his blog and donating in support of my ride. I didn't know him well, but I knew him well enough to know that he was a great, smart, kind, thoughtful, vital and just an incredibly nice person. So I wanted to express my deepest condolences to his family. I'm terribly sorry to hear this news.
Matt Dallek
November 7, 2010
By Barney (Chip) Straus

Inside the red doors,
Solly was a Blue.
I, too, was a Blue.
I was on Solly’s team.

His ever-present smile
And his encouraging words
Made me feel the opposite of blue
(though certainly not Orange).
I was a Blue and Solly was true blue.

Three decades later
We had evolved from dodgeball on the roof
To football in the park.

God, it had been thirty years
Since I’d seen my fellow Dutchmen
Would we even remember each other?
Solly greeted me with open arms
As if the decades had been mere moments

I was on Solly’s team again,
This time due to my east sidedness.
He led me from zero to being a hero that year.
Always the optimist
And still our QB
Solly tossed me the winning pass.*

I caught something much more meaningful than a ball from John.
His winning ways were contagious.
He seemed always to value me
And so helped me to do the same.

I stand as a proud veteran of Solly’s teams.
And for that I remain grateful
And an enhanced human being.
Thank you, John Soloman, for being…..

* For those keeping score, I think that Mike Boardman actually threw me the me the pass, but I took some poetic license here.
November 7, 2010
Our sincerest condolences to the entire Solomon family from the Goldman family.
David Goldman
November 6, 2010
John ennobled us with his presence. His keen intelligence, pursuit of the truth, and delight and choice to focus on the finest in humanity.
Lisa Miller
November 5, 2010
John's memory will live on at the company I work for. He was an inspiration to me in the field of emergency preparedness. My condolences to his family, friends and to all who he touched.
Jonathan Haber
November 5, 2010
My sincerest condolences to all the Solomons. I so enjoyed getting to know John through Vanita & Jim. May fond memories help you during this difficult time.
Anne Leader
November 4, 2010
Leader is the perfect description for sports it was always so important that we boys be ranked by skill level and John was always #1, we all agreed. He never let it go to his head, he never made anyone feel less important. That's a leader...our John..
Drew Camard
November 4, 2010
I'm so deeply sorry for your loss. Over the years, I've heard you speak so lovingly of your sons (and, as a fellow Collegiate parent, I know what he meant to his classmates and to the school). My thoughts are with you and your family in heartfelt sympathy at this difficult time.
Susan Wasserstein
November 4, 2010
We are truly saddened by the loss of John Solomon, a great friend and supporter of the Ready Virginia program. We pledge to remember and continue his work in citizen preparedness. Our heartfelt sympathy is with his family.
Laura Southard
November 4, 2010
It may seem trivial, but one of the best things about the surprise Jets season was how happy I thought John would be that the Jets finally made a real playoff run last year.

I can remember John in the last Thanksgiving football game huddles making all the children feel special, as they would listen to his earnest play calling for each one. He was adored by them all.

I remember coach Byrnes and Solly on so many occasions share a sideways look at each other before anyone else knew what they were thinking, or about to say, but it was always going to be real funny.

He made me a better older brother with his interaction and relationship with Jimmy.
Gordon Ogden
November 4, 2010
When Life stands still, the light will forever burn for the life that is no more....
Jalica Miller
November 3, 2010
My heart truly aches for the Solomon Family. John was indeed a blessing to his family and friends. I'm touched by the beautiful memories expressed today and only wish I had the pleasure of knowing such an extraordinary man.
Monica Rivera-Bustillo
November 3, 2010
Many years and thousands of miles of distance have never diminished the memory of John's constant kindness at Collegiate (and during our studies at Temple Emanuel). He was an exceptional athlete, a scholar, a school leader; and, yet his wonderful humanity never left him for a moment. I admired him and looked up to him. My school years were genuinely enriched by his friendship.
David Dorian
November 3, 2010
He was an incredibly . . . funny . . . guy.
The Knapper
November 3, 2010
We send the Solomon Family our deepest condolences and love in a dark hour.
Victoria Chan-palay
Victoria Chan-palay
November 3, 2010
Abby, my thoughts and prayers are with you, Sara, Rebecca and all who John left behind. I knew John was a great guy and after reading about all he's done, I know that the legacy he leaves behind will live forever.
Kia Taylor
November 3, 2010
Truly one of the great beings I've known. My heart is with the entire Solomon family. I know his memory will be a blessing to all of us.
Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
November 3, 2010
I hesitate to write down all the thoughts and memories rushing through me right now – don’t want to suggest that my place in John’s life even approached what he had with Abby and his two daughters. But I did want to share, like everyone else here, my affection for the man and his impact on my life. Of course, he was hardly a “man” when we first met. We were all on that threshold between childhood and adulthood, college freshmen together at Harvard. I had the great good fortune to be in the same dorm as John that year – Weld Hall South – and the even better luck of being the name John drew out of a hat that first winter of Secret Santa. Not content to shower his Santee with anonymous gifts of cocoa or flowers, my Santa somehow wrangled a dorm’s worth of men/boys to stand in the snow under my window in the Yard and sing (with instrumental accompaniment) “Mame,” deftly rewritten to feature his Santee whose name also happened to start with M. In a single evening, John Solomon catapulted himself in my mind from “sweet, sweaty guy with a basketball” into John Solomon Creative Genius, for whom nothing was too big an effort.
After college, when we both landed in DC, John somehow worked my apartment in Cleveland Park into his regular jogging route. Soon that sweet, sweaty man -- someone I had generally watched and admired from a distance at Harvard -- became a near-constant companion. We spent much of our 20’s together -- or, as Alice T. says, we grew up together -- cooking pasta with his roommates in Woodley Park, sharing Chinese take-out with Andy B. on 86th Street, hunting for the dish with the “most food” on any restaurant menu, and (to burn off all those food memories) running around the reservoir in Central Park, and, of course, joining the aerobics craze that swept the nation in the 80’s. John, tongue out and legs kicking to Donna Summer, was almost always the only male in the room (a distinction he no doubt relished). And he may have been the only six-foot-four Collegiate graduate to play a game of pick-up basketball on a blacktop in Guilin, China in May, 1989. Tongue out (still), sweat dripping, face glowing with the adventure of it all, he didn’t need to say a word to draw a crowd of admirers even there.
He often joked that he wanted to be the first Jewish President. In quieter moments he would tell you that what he really wanted to be was a Congressman (not the more glamorous Senator) because those were the ones who were really on the ground working with their constituents and making a difference in daily lives. It seems that in recent years he shifted his ambitions higher still, taking on the role of “community organizer” in his work with emergency preparedness. I can only guess that he reveled in the power of the Internet to reach even more people, to touch even more lives with his gentle, persuasive leadership.
While John was finding his own way in the world, he helped me navigate those early years of adulthood with unflagging optimism, always seeing and encouraging the best in me, just as he always found the best in the people and the world around him. It was a true and deep love of life, with all its light and shadows, that drew people to him for 47 years. His ready laugh, self-deprecating humor, quiet confidence, steadfast integrity, unwavering sense of fair play on and off the court, willingness to jump in, help out, and persevere, whatever the situation, won him friend after friend -- and I don’t think he ever lost a one. His parents, Ann and Dick, and his brother, Jimmy, clearly gave John the firm and loving foundation that allowed him to give so generously to others (something that Abby and his girls no doubt fortified in recent years). Almost daily, it seemed, he sought their company and counsel, as they sought his. And they laughed together more than I imagined possible (or normal) in a modern American family. But there it was. Joy.
Like all of you, I grieve that he was not able to give the world -- his daughters in particular -- more decades of that joy. But we had him for 47 precious years, and I, for one, will carry him with me forever.
Moye Thompson
November 3, 2010
My thoughts and love go out to Sara, Abby and Rebecca who I had the great pleasure of meeting earlier this year.
Kara Vallow
November 3, 2010
Our thoughts are with Abby, the girls and John's family at this very sad time. He was a wonderful guy and will be missed by many.
Alexandra Hahn
November 3, 2010
I just came back from John's memorial. I cried like I haven't in years (over re-elected Sen. Schumer who happened to be right next to me). Solly clearly touched so many lives and made everyone feel special. His service, like John himself, was an incredibly life-affirming experience: full of warmth, love and so much wonderful humor. My heart goes out to John's lovely wife, daughters, brother and parents. Class of '81 will always cherish our fearless leader.
Timothy Hager
November 3, 2010
John was instrumental in getting our READYColorado preparedness messages delivered to the public. We are really going to miss him. He was a wonderful man who made a big difference. I send my sincere condolences. Captain Jennifer Steck, Denver Police Department
Jennifer Steck
November 3, 2010
As someone who has also lost a brother my thoughts are with you and your family. I truly believe he will still be there guiding and looking out for you and the rest of your family.
Condolences and love to you all.
Odette Cabrera Duggan
November 3, 2010
I just heard this awful news. John was a great, great guy. Even when he was beating you on the basketball court, you couldn't dislike him. It's just a very sad thing. My heart goes out to Jimmy, and to the rest of his family.
Adam Gorgoni
November 3, 2010
John was a rare and precious friend. I cannot recall a single instance in the thirty-five years I knew John when he was ever anything other than fully kind, generous and encouraging. He made those around him better. To those who were blessed with his friendship, his memory will continue to remind us of the things that truly matter in life, things such as love, loyalty, compassion, family and friendship. Our hearts go out to Abby, Sara and Rebecca; to Ann and Dick; to Jimmy and Vanita; and to the entire Solomon family.
Ed Burns
November 3, 2010
What an enormously smart, talented, gentle and kind soul! I hadn't seen him in years and wish I'd kept in better touch. He was always the first to send a note when he'd read something I'd written or heard something I might find funny. Hearing of his passing makes me realize, too late, how much richer my life was when he was in it.
Bruce Schoenfeld
November 3, 2010
What a punishing loss for you, Jim, and your whole family and the world. My heart goes out to all of you. Holding you in the light, as Quakers say.
elizabeth gilmore
November 3, 2010
Reading, over the past few days, the reminiscences of John's many friends, it's clear that no matter when we knew him – at school three (or for some, four) decades ago, at university or grad school, or later in 'adult' life – John was the same kind, decent, inspiring person.

Something strikes me, though, about John's life, and too-early death, and it's something I said to John a handful of times over the past half dozen years or so ... over the past decade, John focused his career on raising awareness of the importance of preparedness for 'emergencies'. In New York City since 9/11 the focus has been on terrorism. For many throughout the world – including where I live in Japan, it's a natural disaster (in Haiti, on the coasts of the Indian Ocean, etc.).

What I returned to in my conversations with John about emergency preparedness, especially in the few short years since he was diagnosed with leukemia, is the importance of not being too prepared, of not preparing too much, at the expense of living in the moment.

What I was thinking of was not so much physical preparedness as mental. Figure out what needs to be done (and it was, of couse John's hope that people would spend even a moment trying to do that), but then move on.

Live life. Have a long lunch with friends. With wine. Go to your daughter's ballet class. For no reason at all. Write a poem for someone you love. I'm sure John had many wonderful moments with his family and friends over the past few years; he would have wanted (and should have had) many, many more.

John's memory lives on with all of us, for all the reasons people have cited, and many more. He was one of the very good people, and his life teaches us that we should not so much be prepared for emergencies, but for every new day.
Roberto D.
November 3, 2010
My thoughts are with Abby and her daughters. I am sorry for this loss.
Toby Galinkin
November 3, 2010
John influenced and inspired many, and deeply shaped how I approach an uncertain world. I only knew him through his blog yet have been profoundly shaped by his many, many words. His legacy will be seen in the efforts of many.
Alex Rose
November 3, 2010
I remember John as the brilliant, funny but very nice guy who lived next door to me in college. Although I had not seen him in years, I followed his writing and was a fan from afar. I am sad and my thoughts are with his family.
Rebecca Gaghen
November 2, 2010
I am so sorry. Cancer is taking so many at too young an age. My thoughts are with John's family and friends.
Amy Lumet
November 2, 2010
I feel the loss of a cousin I have never met. It is always sad when a good person leaves us. I send my love and blessings to my dear cousin Abby and her children. May you find comfort and peace in this difficult time.
Lou Korell
November 2, 2010
Although I only had brief conversations with John when he would visit his parents building I could tell he was an amazing person. He made sure to greet all the staff members with warmth, kindness, sincerity and humor. I will miss our nets discussions. My deepest condolences to the Solomon family.
kevin mcdonough
November 2, 2010
I am so so sorry to hear about John. My heart is with Ann, Dick and all of the Solomon family.
Denis Timm
November 2, 2010
John made any room he entered a better place and he certainly made the world a better by his life, example and leadership. I will miss him.
Rich Cooper
November 2, 2010
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate issued a press release today about John. It can be found at
Rich Cooper
November 2, 2010
I made a brief contribution to John's fantastic blog, and I returned to it again and again for its common sense and kindness, which was clearly an essential part of the man.
Martha Garvey
November 2, 2010
John was a true mensch -- a person of honor and integrity -- and one of the most decent I have ever known. I will never forget his unfailing kindness and generous friendship over the years. My heart aches for his family.
Peter Bass
November 2, 2010
My condolences to the Solomon family.
Peter Allan
November 2, 2010
John's selfless efforts to help his fellow citizens - and push government agencies to adjust their priorities - all in the area of crisis preparedness and emergency management will indeed be missed.

I hope someone in his family will find a way to get John's book finished and published.

I wish much strength to his family in the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Bruce Hennes
November 2, 2010
John was a close friend of my brothers. I knew his brother Jimmy and ran into him on a set out in Los Angeles I believe in Manhattan Beach.
I remember seeing both John and Jimmy at a screening of Andy Wagners film, in New York City. We were standing on the stairs chatting and as always the brothers were so kind to me. This kindness I will never forget. And the "sense of humor." When I would run into John here or there he would say in such a kind way "Hi Nicolle." I myself am going through a period of grief having lost 2 close relatives and my dog Talulah. I will walk the path with those who grieve for John. As well I know Abigail Solomon from The Brearley School and our lunches together out in Los Angeles. My tears are with your tears today, tomorrow....and one day at a time.
Nicolle Alexandra Ward
November 2, 2010
John was truly a gentleman and a scholar. He will be missed by so many for his natural leadership, kindness and wonderful sense of humor.
Timothy Hager
November 2, 2010
John's integrity, intelligence, his self-deprecating wit, enriched the lives of all of us who brought his voice to the radio and all of those lucky enough to hear that voice. We all should have had more time!
November 2, 2010
John was a wonderful, courageous man. I met him through his blog and will commemorate his life in my blog.

We will miss his sincere and dedicated efforts re emergency management.

Claire B. Rubin
November 2, 2010
John was a great influence on helping the public get prepared for a disaster. He will be greatly missed. News of his passing is met with deep saddness.
Keith Robertory
November 2, 2010
There are very few people in this world who have been as beloved and respected for their essential decency as John Solomon. He was and will always be an inspiration. My thoughts are with his entire loving family at this saddest of times.
David Dishy
November 2, 2010
John was such a kind, generous and warm-hearted person, full of talents, interests and life. All mylove and heartfelt condolences to his family.
Pablo Keller Sarmiento
November 2, 2010
As a mother of Collegiate alums who were contemporaries of John, I recall my admiration for the outstanding Solomon brothers and their parents. May they find consolation in loving memories of all John's remarkable attributes and achievements. Ruth King
November 2, 2010
We were not prepared to lose him and will miss everything about him, especially his smile and love for his "girls."
Melinda F
November 2, 2010
So very sad. He was one of life's great people, and our hearts break with this news. Much love to the entire family.
Nick D.
November 2, 2010
John was a shining light in the worlds of journalism, social media and emergency preparedness. He was a wonderful friend to all of us here at the Red Cross and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Laura Howe
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