John Solomon, the life-affirming voice of this blog, died Monday, November 1, from complications following a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. He was 47.
To readers of this blog, this news is not only devastating but also shocking. We knew that John was struggling for the past two years, but it was sometimes easy to get the wrong idea about the seriousness of what he called “this pesky” condition. It’s not that John ever hid anything — on the contrary, he was refreshingly candid at all times (most notably here). It’s just that he was so consistently sanguine that his illness often seemed like more of an annoyance than a life-threatening event.
John is survived by his wife Abby, his two children Rebecca and Sara, his parents Ann and Richard, his brother Jimmy, and by his many friends and admirers. The funeral service will be Wednesday, November 3rd, 10:00 am at Temple Emanu-El, on Fifth Avenue at 65th Street. John left behind a charitable fund, The John D. Solomon Memorial Fund (℅ The New York Community Trust, 909 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022). He was particularly encouraging of blood and bone marrow donations. For those who don’t yet know: it is now amazingly easy and painless to give bone marrow. It’s basically just like giving blood (more about that here). Please consider honoring John by becoming a donor.
John was extraordinarily capable, and would have made a major contribution to any field. He loved his work in disaster preparedness, and felt that he was making a difference. He was. This blog was originally supposed to be a mere prelude to an important book about disaster policy, but it became a major work in its own right. I do not know whether John’s book will ever be published. But with his online work, and his memorable conversations with responders, policymakers, scientists, and journalists, he leaves behind a distinguished legacy of skepticism, curiosity, and a determination to make things right. I know his family is proud of his work, and plans to maintain this site as a resource.
There’s much more to learn about John and his giving life in this New York Times obituary. He was a terrific person doing important work, and it was my honor to know him.