John O’Hagan’s Memorial Paddle

-by Jay Murdock, a friend of John

Saturday, November 19th we gathered to remember and honor the memory of a great friend and fellow paddler. John’s wife Dorothy, and many of his long-time friends were there. Both Doug Drake and Louis Greco spoke after the paddle, and part of those speeches are in this article. We paddled just around Mariner’s Point so those on shore could observe the scattering of flower petals and some ashes. Dorothy spoke how much this event meant to her and told us a few memories she has of John. It was a perfect morning on the water.

Photo by Jon Brindle
Photo by Jon Brindle
Photo by Murdock
Words after the paddle
Vicki and Louis Greco, Dorothy, Doug Drake

John was far too young when he died of a heart attack while on a day hike. But he was in good hands that day, having made the most important decision of his life years before: He chose life and the Author of life by accepting that promise found in scripture – John 3:16, and John O’Hagan was changed forever. God’s love and grace touched John, and he passed it on to whoever he met on many occasions. While he was a great outdoorsman, he was also a stellar person, taking the time to help others and bless those around him (more on this is in the article written in July of 2021, just scroll down to find that).

Albert Einstein said “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” John discovered, that by turning his life over to the Creator, the miracle of grace transformed him.

Doug Drake spoke to us after the paddle, that “when someone we love passes, it’s as if we have lost a part of ourselves. Living without your child, spouse, parents, or John, is very much like losing an irreplaceable part of yourself. It’s not something we get over or get back to normal. It’s a loss that endures a lifetime. As C. S. Lewis, the person whose life the amazing movie ‘The Most Reluctant Convert’ is based on said ‘The death of a loved one is an amputation, and the pain I feel now is the happiness I had before’.”

Louis Greco then said “I have had the blessing to know John for over 30 years. I consider him one of my best friends, as I am sure many of you do as well. John seemed to know someone wherever we went. He lived up to his nickname ‘coach’, and was a great coach to me, always available to listen, advise and encourage. As a great leader he would often do a reconnaissance mission to a future campsite, checking important factors such as the availability of water and trail conditions to assure a successful trip. John has now gone ahead of us… to scout out the perfect heavenly campsite.”

Well said Doug and Louis, very well said.

So, this Thanksgiving I am thankful to have known John, to have received the blessing of his playful smile, his great compassion, and for God’s grace channeled through this wonderful man.