I learned this morning that my former classmate and friend John Ringrose had passed on. A nicer guy never lived!

John and I went to law school together. John was from Rome, about 15 miles from Utica. We were both married while in law school. John’s wife Darlene a gem. We had our first borns while in law school. We occasionally babysat for each other.

John went on to become a Judge. Surrogate. Surrogate Judges handle wills, estates and the like. I did not do that work at all. I only once appeared before John. It was a court proceding. I thought John did a good job as Judge. I hope he thought I did a good job as a lawyer.

John and I roomed together in New York City for six weeks while taking a cram course for the bar exam. We stayed in a dilapidated fire trap of a hotel. Our room was on the sixth floor.

It was the middle of the night. I was sound asleep. I was hearing fire engines and smelling smoke. I opened my eyes. There was John going out the door with his books and notes in his arm. I asked what was going on. He yelled there’s a fire. He was leaving without waking me! I never let him forget.

Though John’s upbringing was far from wealthy, his early years were more affluent than mine. I knew no affluence. John’s father was a Surrogate and Supreme Court Judge.

John’s background provided him with a degree of experience that accompanies such. John unknowingly introduced me to many new and exciting things. He expanded my world.

John took me to my first Broadway Show. Sound of Music. He introduced me to fine New York City restaurants. I enjoyed my first Manhattan with John at one of those restaurants. I tasted my first standing prime rib with John. John and Darlene invited my wife and I to dinner while we were in law school. We all lived in left over army barracks from World War II.

Friends come in and out of our lives. Especially if we live a long time. While John and I were close in law school and our early years in the practice, we drifted thereafter. No particular reason. Just the way it is. We always remained friends, however.

I feel sad. It is that time for our generation, however. We move on to that other life. I look forward to running into John there. Perhaps enjoying a Manhattan with him.

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