John Wirta passed away November 4, 1996 of congestive heart failure caused by diabetes.
John St. Andrew was a member of the Order of the Leaf of Merit, held an Award of Arms, was rewarded with the Silver Ulu (Oerthan Cooking award), and was on the Princess' Escort for Kareina.
John was an interesting man. He was not a handsome man, but he never let that stop him. He was helpful to a fault sometimes. If you needed something done in the Barony of Winter's Gate, John would do it without being asked.
John was a good friend if you needed a friend. One example that sticks in my mind clearly: I was in College, and getting divorced. This was a bit of a shock to me. John, who had been through a pretty nasty divorce at some point before those of us in the SCA knew him, was very sympathetic. The day or the day after my wife and I decided that a divorce was the only option, and for the next week, John would come get me after he got off work and take me to a local coffee shop. We would sit there for hours drinking coffee and talking. And talking. We didn't necessarily talk about the divorce or my soon-to-be ex-wife, just talking. John understood that at that point what I needed more than anything was just someone to talk to, to have that human touch. While this is not directly an SCA-related issue, John and I knew each other from the SCA, and it was through the SCA that he found out I needed help (even though at that point I didn't realize I needed it).
John loved coffee. Some folk do, but this man drank almost only coffee. This pertains to a trip he and I made to an event in Earngyld (Juneau, Alaska), which at that time was a part of Oertha. To get there from Winter's Gate (Fairbanks, Alaska), you could fly, or you could drive to Haines, and take a ferry. The ferry only goes once a day (or did at the time). The drive was long. We had planned on doing it in one run. However, John needed coffee, and he needed it often. Of course, coffee also goes through you pretty quickly. So we had to stop. Then we would get more coffee before taking off again. We got to Haines just in time to see the ferry leave. This meant that the day we planned on site-seeing in Earngyld (because neither of us had been there before) was off. So instead we spent the night (trying to sleep in his car, he slept, I didn't) in Haines. This place is small enough that in about half an hour of walking you have seen everything. There is nothing to do. I spent the night watching the ocean. That was about it. The next morning a few folk from Eskalya arrived (they had an even longer drive), and we chatted. When the ferry arrived that evening we took off, and tried to sleep (we didn't) on the ferry. We got to the event a little late, but oh well. I decided to fly back, and exchanged tickets with someone else, as I wasn't up for another long drive back. John took this with good grace.
Anyway, that's about all I can remember about John at this time, except that he was always a nice guy, and always helpful. He was a big help to Winter's Gate, which due to the transient nature of the University and the Military bases didn't always have a stable SCA population. He lived there, as did a few others, but he was a mainstay ... -- Hirsch von Henford
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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).