Remembering John Gray

Pre-Script, April 16, 2011, by Jeff Gaster:

One year ago today, the gentlle, kind soul of John Gray passed from the Earth bound for Heaven. We still miss him dearly.

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John Gray was CitiFloral’s bookkeeper for 17 years. He was a fundamental part of the business, which grew from infancy to an established florist during his time. As much as he was a loyal employee, he was a great friend to me and our staff.

I was in the hospital from July 2009 till November 2009, and then for various malicious reasons I did not return to the store until February 2010. John was still there for me and was overjoyed with my return. He then told me that he was 75 and was thinking of retiring, to which I said no.

We did not know of the seriousness of his health problem. One afternoon he called to say he was going to the hospital. The next afternoon, I and another employee arrived at his hospital room, clutching the New York Times, which he had asked for. But, John was so sedated that he may have never had a conscious thought after that time.

Meg Harriman, John’s friend, called to break the sad news of John’s passing. I was glad it had not been me who passed, but now I had to act with courage, in a difficult time for me, to help Meg arrange John’s memorial service. Many people who knew John well were there, and they recited their wonderful stories. He deserved the best, and we did the best we could under the circumstances.

I miss John. After all, he was part of my life through many years. It started when we needed a bookkeeper, and a mutual acquaintance recommended John. He lived with us through our ups and downs, and we lived with him through his. He had an important role in the store, and he was great company outside the store too.

For a more vivid look at John and his life, see a wonderful video presented by his friend, Justus Shwafati.

In memory of my friend John Gray,
Jeff Gaster

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