Remembering John Watkins

Earth Day, April 23, marks one year since John’s death at the age of 62.

I met John at Watkins Glen a dozen years ago in my early days of driver education. My gearbox had broken and was bleeding oil. I had come alone and was more than a bit worried even though I was told that “we never leave anybody behind.” I learned what that meant after a sleepless night and the announcement at the driver meeting that I needed a ride home. The first person out of the crowd to approach me was John (there was another). John lived on the western side of the state as I did and stated matter-of-factly that I would drive his 944 track car home while he towed my car on his trailer. I was immediately relieved and we began a friendship that lasted till his death. If you knew John you know what we all lost.

John was a quiet sort who obviously did not suffer fools well. We would bang heads politically, but we could solve most problems and differences over dinner and a bourbon (or 2). We did lots of Driver Ed events together as well as dinners and non-Porsche related gatherings.  John was as honest and loyal a friend as anyone could hope for. We spent some of his last month going to New York for medical appointments and I am happy to have had that time with him.

The photo came from the Schattenbaum archives by Larry Schmidt. The photographer caught John going up through the Esses at (where else) Watkins Glen.

(See the picture in the June 2012 Porscheforus) 

– James Ruocco