Please add your thoughts and memories of John at the bottom of the page >

69 Responses to “Guest Book”

  1. Troy Parke Says:

    You will never be forgotten.

  2. Paul Says:

    What can I say about greatness?

  3. drakelelane Says:

    Straight-shooter to the end. You always knew how to get to the heart of the matter… and the heart of your friends.

  4. Mike Hahn Says:

    Casey McGahan told me the awful news about John… I’m so sorry. In my years at Real, John was always one of the good guys… a vocal advocate for design, for his team, and even for me as the “outsider”. I learned so much from John, as I’m sure everyone else did. He was a mentor and a friend to us all.

  5. Steve Markovich Says:

    He was a great guy, and was always sticking up for his design team.

  6. Rick H. Says:

    John, you will be missed!

  7. Bradley Lamb Says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news. As a colleague of John’s at Real, I had nothing but respect & admiration for his no nonsense approach & his clear love for his team. He was an exceptional, one of a kind man. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and design team.

  8. Heidi Hartz Says:

    I loved working for John. That man had an amazing, inspiring fire. He’ll be forever missed.

  9. Allen Wu Says:

    You’re the best boss I ever had, you will be missed.

  10. Rachel L. Says:

    I did not know John, but as a member of the creative community in Seattle, I am acquainted with several people who did. He clearly was a loved person and will be horribly missed. My deepest sympathies to his family and to his wife in particular. May you find peace and comfort as you say goodbye to your friend and partner. My thoughts are with you.

  11. Shanti Says:

    I met John when I just started out at Real and although I work for a different division, he made me feel so welcomed; as if I were joining his team. I will miss seeing his smiling face every morning. My prayers go out to his family and friends in this difficult time.

  12. All I can say is how thankful I am to have met and worked for John, who always pushed me to follow my passion and dreams, without such encouragement, I probably would not have had the big idea to leave the design team at Real and start a bakery. I am forever indebted to John, but he still owes me his recipe for pulled pork sandwiches!

  13. Ben Rotholtz Says:

    We love you, John. You’ll always be part of our lives and in our hearts. Thanks for making existence so much better by sharing your thoughts, wisdom, insight and unparalleled passion.

  14. Marcia MacDonald Says:

    John loved Andrea and the Dobie dogs. He was admired by the dog agility community for his support of Andrea and her work with Vic, Betty, and now baby Harry. John was a creative spirit who will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

  15. Jennifer Says:

    John was fierce, funny, and bullshit-free. John was the kind of manager you dream of: he somehow made me feel highly informed and completely shielded from distraction – at the same time.
    And loved. He genuinely cared about all of us. He is missed.

  16. Tim Graham Says:

    I knew John on a few fronts, work colleague, baseball fanatic, car lover, and occasional drinking buddy. He will be missed on all fronts, and all these will never be the same for me. His passion and fire will be sorely missed. I hope they have fast cars with a stick on the other side.

  17. Jennifer Says:

    He had to tell everyone about rally fries. His joy in sharing stories and showing off the Mariners was infectious.

  18. ted Says:

    JLS… like JFK MLK one of the few people in my life who ascended to that TLA level. i feel lucky to have been in his circle for a few (way too few) years. he enriched me in so many ways. Thanks JLS.

  19. Bram Wessel Says:

    I had the privilege of knowing John the last five years after we worked on Volvo together when John was with Circle. As I came to know him, he explained how tenuous his health was. But whenever we went to a ball game or lunch or a meeting or the Hutch Award, he was always upbeat, easy with a smile and ready with a joke. Even though he appeared frail at times, he had a way of making you believe he’d be around forever.

    The last time I saw him was, of course, at Safeco Field. After the cheering died down for Ichiro’s fifth hit of the night, John stood up and shouted “Ichiro, I love you!” As was often the case, he broke all of section 135 up. That was John.

    As a fellow cancer survivor, John was an inspiration to me. As a professional, he was a mentor. I’ll probably never find anyone who was as much fun at the ball park. Above all, he was just a great friend.

    I’ll miss him profoundly. My thoughts go out to his family and everyone whose life John touched.

  20. Jeff Ayars Says:

    I never worked closely with John but he always helped me out when I asked. I’ll miss him.

  21. Don Sobota Says:

    I only knew John for a few short years but it became know to me that he was passionate about all that he did. You were pulled from the game early John but by the words from the fans on this page you went out with a standing O.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    If you want to win a battle, send in a Texan.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    A handshake and a sip of wine
    So say it loud and let it ring
    We are all a part of everything
    The future, present and the past
    Fly on proud bird
    You’re free at last.

  24. Harmony Says:

    My favorite image is John and Andrea arriving as the “Love Train” bearing gifts and libations to honor Valentines Day. So sweet. I felt honored to be included. I think of it every year and will continue to do so. Thank you for such a fun and loving tradition.

  25. Abla Says:

    John impressed me the first time I met him during my interview. He expressed his views without mincing words. He was direct and his complete candor was refreshing and something I will always remember. I hope that I can embody those qualities and shoot from the hip more often like he did. John – Thanks for teaching me a little of your ways.

  26. Pete Farry Says:

    Our deepest condolences
    from Pete and Alyshia Farry

  27. I am truly sorry to hear that John is no longer with us. He was a good man, and I had a lot of respect for him.

  28. Donya Says:

    I’ve smiled at John in the hallways at work almost every day for so many years that it doesn’t seem right without him there.

    I’m so sorry to hear that he is gone.

  29. j Says:

    I regret we missed ever meeting John. Reading of your rich life and your many accomplishments and seeing the joy you brought to so many makes that regret all the more complete. Perhaps we may meet down the road a bit. I certainly hope so.
    Until then…
    go Mariners!

  30. Rick Miller Says:

    From the day I met John at my interview, I knew there was something special about this guy. He could be brutally honest, which was quite refreshing, and made me value his trust in me as a designer all that much more. I will truly miss you John!

  31. Virl Hill Says:

    So many fond memories from Section 135, Row 29 at SafeCo field. John won’t abandon the M’s. He now has the best seat in the house.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to his many friends and family.

  32. Lisa S. Says:

    John was the first person I ever heard utter the words “world wide web.” I recall it clearly: Jimmy and I were at their place for dinner in DC. He was talking about cameras installed in trees in the Serengheti, feeding live pictures of watering holes to your computer. You couldn’t shut him up. I thought then, as on many other occasions, that he was out of his mind. He and Andrea traveled to Spain to celebrate our wedding with us. We’ll never forget it – or him. L&J

  33. Adam Dubov Says:

    I met John Sanford two years ago when I came to RealNetworks. Boy, was I ever happy to find him there! I’m proud and honored to say that I believe we became friends. It’s odd, because although I’d only recently made the gentleman’s acquaintance, I feel like I’d known John forever. And in a way, maybe I had. John was an artist with a capital “A”. He lived and radiated that blue flame of creativity, guided by principle and honest craftsmanship. And God, what courage. John was a truth teller, a kind leader and he was “good to his people” which in my book is a powerful measure of character and ultimately, of a good man. John, I will miss the wry, wise, unvarnished conversations that we were yet to have. I hope you have found the peace that you so richly deserve. I will remember you always. With love and admiration, AD

  34. anonymous Says:

    Touched by an Angel

    We, unaccustomed to courage
    exiles from delight
    live coiled in shells of loneliness
    until love leaves its high holy temple
    and comes into our sight
    to liberate us into life.

    Love arrives
    and in its train come ecstasies
    old memories of pleasure
    ancient histories of pain.
    Yet if we are bold,
    love strikes away the chains of fear
    from our souls.

    We are weaned from our timidity
    In the flush of love’s light
    we dare be brave
    And suddenly we see
    that love costs all we are
    and will ever be.
    Yet it is only love
    which sets us free.

    Maya Angelou

  35. Mike Says:

    What a beautiful and moving tribute to an unforgettable man. Sending positive energy, hope and love your way, Andrea.

  36. BrianS Says:

    My stay at Real overlapped with John’s for only a little more than a year but in that time I watched him pull together the various independent design groups and hold them together even in the face of “product verticalization” or, as we all knew it, “silos”. He threw himself into team building with such obvious enthusiasm that I still think back fondly on the go-cart racing (where he stood back, surveying the course and said “There is nothing wrong with this country if a place like this can make a profit”), the cooking class at Uwajimaya (I still use the technique of peeling ginger with a spoon) and, best of all, his determination that the design group would win the Halloween party contest with The Seven Deadly Sins (where the alcohol flowed like water, largely funded, I believe, by John himself). He wasn’t just a cheerleader in these events – usually the person having the most fun was John himself.

    I also remember the diplomacy and tenacity with which he navigated the swirling waters of Real Networks.I remember standing in Ann Buckley’s office and being aware that the meeting over in John’s office was taking a “heated” turn only to have him come over afterwards and defuse the tension with some self-deprecating remark. He had a tough job but seldom let it affect his wicked sense of humor and his constant regard for the members of his team.

    You could hardly help but be aware that John had health issues but he always took such obvious pleasure in so many aspects of his life that, as many have stated already, you thought he would be around forever. Even though I haven’t been in touch with him for years, I am truly sorry that he is gone.

  37. Sara Ullman Says:

    Just as Joe Namath was so macho that he could wear panty hose without it diminishing his masculinity, John could bring his lunch in a Lulu Lemon bag and enjoy an occasional glass of Lillet without it diminishing his reputation as a baseball loving, bad-ass from Texas. There were so many seemingly contradictory aspects of John’s personality but they really just added up to a very multifaceted and interesting person.

    I have had the privilege of being a member of John’s design team for a number of years and as soon as I arrived I could tell that I had landed in a good place, surrounded by great people. It has felt like a true community both at work as well as after hours.

    John was plain spoken and ruthlessly, refreshingly honest to the point that a few of our internal clients quaked at the thought having to meet with him over a project. I know this was because they just weren’t close enough to see his integrity, his good heart and the generous spirit that is so clear to those who know him.

    It is a great loss to lose John and I miss him deeply.

  38. Aehrich Says:

    Despite his often vocal disdain for Southern California, I thought of getting John a pair of tickets to the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood for Christmas. Then it occurred to me that the only rationale I had for doing so was the massive poster for Alexander (“The Man Who Knows”) hanging in his office. What does a poster say about a man?

    Did he secretly wish to use the name Alexander as his nome de guerre in an attempt to take over the world?

    Did he simply enjoy the bold graphic statement made by poster designers of years gone by?

    Was he, in fact, a lover of all things mystical and prestidigidatious?

    Or was he–and here I think the truth comes out–secretly in love with the feathered turban as a fashion statement?

    The world may never know.

    Thanks, John. For all of it.

  39. Doug Smith Says:

    I’ve seldom worked with someone who cared about his people so much and so clearly as John. I can’t picture you not in your office. I keep waiting for you to log in to IM. I keep waiting for you to say “Hey Doug?” on the phone.

    Things I learned from John
    How to use bailiwick in a sentence and not sound like a dolt.
    How to appreciate the Mariners, as a Yankees fan.
    How to command respect from others by respecting them first.

    Thanks John.

  40. Roger Black Says:

    John Sanford was the best example of a rare combination: a kind and gentle person, a great designer, and an expert manager (both upwards and downwards).

    He was plain good company, with a salty knowledge of the world that made him a great story-teller.

    And, he made himself such a part of your life, that he will always be there. Yet, we’ll miss him all the more.

  41. Dewey Reid Says:

    John is the best combination of traits found in an artist. It was always about doing great work. The conversations were enlightening and high minded. In my brief time spent with john he gave me much to admire in his heart and his art. See you soon John.

  42. Chris Says:

    John was one of my favorite uncles, and an inspiration to who I am today. His personality was always intriguing, and his conversations always captivating. I wish I could have experienced more of his artistic influence, as I know he would have a wealth of knowledge for a young and naive designer like myself.

    He will be greatly missed.

  43. Bob Sullivan Says:

    John was a strong and kind soul, a combination that is rarely found. I loved working with him, knew I could count on him, and even loved disagreeing with him. All I learned from him I will carry in my heart and head.


  44. Jeff Castellana Says:

    John showed a true passion for the people he cared about. I was fortunate to be one of them. You will be greatly missed.

  45. Eileen Kessler Says:

    Those who were friends with John and Andrea in Washington will always remember John’s great wit, his Cinco de Mayo barbeques, his creative talent that took things up a notch in our city. John was edgy before the word was coined and a great print designer (before the internet discovered him)–one classy guy. His open spirit drew kids to him. My kids will always remember the halloween theatre he and Andrea set up in our home for my son Matt’s Oct. 31 birthday party. Boy did they have the kids screaming…and for more too.
    We’ll miss John… but his creative and adventuresome spirit will live on in everyone who knew him.

  46. Just heard today – 11/26 – very sad, for he had called me this summer to see a game with him in SFO – we said next summer.
    I’m so sorry I missed him – he was a visionary photo editor at Discovery. He did so much for my career and I tried my best to help him; in short, I had no better client. And he became a good friend. I might not deserve space here – but I have to say that there were few photo editors / designers that I wanted to get to know more than John. He was so passionate talking about his desire to design a kitchen to his liking……. very few things we talked about other than photography, design. cooking and baseball…. but I knew this was a man I liked very much. My love to his family and friends. We have lost a great one.

  47. Beth Roberts Says:

    Working with John at MSNBC, I always marveled at how he was able to be so fierce and yet so very likable. He was such a great person to work alongside, argue with, and laugh with. Thank you to his family for sharing him with us all, we’re all the better for it.

  48. I knew John during the heady days from 1995-1997 launching John was so passionate about what he did, so committed to quality, that he was an enormous positive force in inspiring us all to excellence. Steve Jobs says that good design isn’t just making something look good, but making it work well. I think John understood that and lived it.

    A little light has gone out in the world. Goodbye, John.

  49. Omar Ahmad Says:

    John & I worked together for a long while @ Discovery Channel Online. A significant portion of our success was John’s endless talent and passion.

    John was a fighter, a perfectionist and ahead of his time. I’ll miss him.

    Travel gently John…

  50. Joey Luder Says:

    Dad told me the news a couple of weeks ago then I found out about this site from Chris (my brother) last night. It’s been many years….. I had no idea all the things John accomplished in life in a very short period. It made me realize how distanced I am from family and how I would like to be closer. He will be missed by everyone, especially those who were so close to him.

  51. My Brother, Juanito
    The life,loves,and adventures that we shared will live on in my heart until the day that I too am free of this mortal coil.
    adios y viya con Dios my old friend,
    Laurence Pollock

  52. Steve Amey Says:

    John had great spirit and conviction. He will be missed. I had the pleasure of working with John and Andrea in their search for creative office space. We found the perfect site that matched his great individualisim in the Smith Tower. We became friends through this business relationship and shared many enjoyable lunches and baseball stories. It was always an honor to join John at the Fred Hutch awards luncheon to share his love for baseball and a passion to find the cure. John, you will always be our MVP.

  53. Laura Papritz Says:

    In all of my life I have never been so lucky to have known such a great spirit as John. His tenacity, strength and sheer will to keep going despite all that he faced every day of the physical life I knew him in is something that I will never forget. He did this all with such a sense of humor–the universe’s gift to those of us who face the road less travelled. I was his personal trainer for a time and a friend to Andrea and him. He would tell me off so often for making him do all the exercises he hated–but he would still do them through all the explatives. I will miss his sarcasm and outstanding intellect, but mostly I will miss the person at the very core of who John was. Farewell my friend, say hello to my mom who loved baseball as much as you did.

  54. Gary Smith Says:

    I worked with John at Discovery back in the beginning. John was a truely wonderful individual. He was very full of life, always had a smile and something nice to say. I know that he will be missed by many, even those who only knew him briefly.

  55. Bob Slote Says:

    John and I were co-Creative Directors at IAB. We shared many a laugh together during the height of the dot-com free-for-all period. Though I knew John’s body was riddled with early technology cancer preventive drugs, I had no idea he passed away. John was a rock. I learned much from his composure and will. Rest in peace my friend.

  56. Katherine Nelson Says:

    I worked with John at Discovery in the 90s (twas Katherine Lamoureux back then). Through the internet, I just learned of his passing, and am very saddened by this news. May he rest in peace.

  57. Norvell W Thomas Says:

    I just learned of John’s death, and had not seen him since 1976. We were best buds through the 1960’s, but had lost contact since then. I have been on the east coast and he the west. It is interesting to see what he accomplished in life. Many changes occur from ones childhood through life, but I bet he was the same guy I knew at 10. I would love to hear from Duane or Roseanne. Please email me at your convenience.

  58. Rick Witt Says:

    Not having seen or kept up with John for several decades, it was with tremendous sadness that I just today learned of his passing.

    There was never a better combination of tough and kind than John. And I have never had a more thoughtful friend. I only wish I had been able to help him in our time as much as he helped me.

    I hope that Andrea retains the trophy John won in 1978 as the slugging first baseman for The Dogs (no kidding), Austin City League softball champions. Nobody on that squad came close to playing with as much heart as he did every inning, every pitch. John designed and printed our uniform jerseys, too- I even still have mine.

    God Bless my friend.

  59. I think of John as an incandescent mix of taste, verve, twang, and genius. Rest easily. We will always remember you.

  60. Lynn Says:

    John was gifted with a keen intellect, an uncanny ability to synthesize and to articulate what he observed with visual and verbal alacrity. So thoughtful was his approach to design, so passionate his approach to his work, so caring toward those he mentored. Gentle, insightful, enlightened and kind, it was a joy to be in his company.

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  64. Charles McNeill Says:

    It is April 15, 2011 and I am just discovering that John is no longer with us. I was searching for his name, wondering what he’s doing now. I worked with him during about 1989 or so, and have never forgotten that positive experience.

  65. Larry Romberg Says:

    I miss your sweet human soul John

  66. I had the great privilege of becoming friends with John in kindergarten! Yep – really, kindergarten. I always liked him so much. Just knew he’d do great things with his life. The way he beat cancer – i knew he’d go far and John sure did. It is AWESOME to read so many wonderful memories of John. He and my Mama shared the same day for a birthday – so that made it really easy to remember John on his day. I always said that Aug 21 1954 was an excellent day cause John L. Sanford was born. I managed – just barely – to follow him thru the years but it got impossible by 1995, I suspect he figured I was too crazy an old friend, so we lost touch. I’ve been sad about that and JUST TODAY I learn he has died, This is a huge loss to the planet and Andrea and others that loved him so much. John was so great even at a young young age. It is comforting in a way to read so much good about him. I am going to write Andrea, hope she’ll answer. I loved my friend John alot, too. A great quick mind in a wonderful man. (I bet Andrea knows of me… I used to be able to track John down so I could send him a b-day card.) : ) John must have exclaimed about me a few times… I will miss him alot and will send him a prayer and i send a hug to Andrea… you are a lucky lady to have had him as a partner in life. Must have been wonderful.

  67. I want my friends that knew john also, to see and read these wonderful memories of John.

  68. Jason Murphy Says:

    I’m sorry that it has taken me this long to reach out. I Actually had no idea you were gone. i wanted to just say thank you for everything you did for me and my family when i was a young designer starting my career. You believed in a young and brash African American kid and gave me an opportunity to learn some amazing skills. I’ll always be thankful for your mentorship and guidance


  69. Richard Robinson Says:

    John, I didnt think I ever thanked you for the opportunities you gave me at Discovery Channel. As a young photographer it was like a dream come true. Your projects still stand as some of the best assignments of my career. Sadly, they ended all too quickly. Thank you again.

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