Most would think of John Estridge as a man of many words. 

His articles have been a part of the Brookville Democrat/American and Liberty Herald newspapers for 30 years, sometimes jumping to as many as three pages. You've tuned in weekly to stay up-to-date on news in the county and sporting events and you may have found a pleasant escape in his columns featuring his Long Suffering Wife Ruth and the Events He Can No Longer Talk About But Always Does. 

However, in the roughly two years that I have had the privilege of knowing and working with John, I've come to know him as a man of few words; spoken that is. In many of my journalism, courses they preached the practice of conciseness. So, in between the grunts, one-worded answers and head nods I would often get from John, when he told stories or offered any advice I knew it was important to listen. 

I first met John during my sophomore year of college while I was studying multimedia journalism at Franklin College. I had just received my first big feature writing assignment for my news writing course and decided to write about how newspapers were surviving in a digital world. 

Who better to interview about this topic than the editor of my hometown paper? I sent an email to John and assumed he would be too busy to get back with me. To my surprise, he got back with me almost instantly, and we set up an interview time for a Friday afternoon. This was back when John was commuting to the Herald office on Friday afternoons, but he still took time out of his day to sit down with me. 

I'm a pretty big planner, so the day before the interview, I had my camera ready to go and all my interview questions prepared. I left Franklin early to make sure I arrived at the paper early and had time to set up. As I was setting up my camera and recording equipment, I realized I had forgotten my memory card, essentially rendering my camera useless. 

I made a mad dash to CVS to buy a 4-gigabyte memory card, which would store only a few minutes of video footage. I was a broke college student, and memory cards are pricey, so I did my best. At this point, I am late to the interview but when I arrived back at the paper John was sitting at his desk and assured me he still had time for the interview. I ended up acing the project. 

It wasn't until two years later that I would reach out to John again, this time for a much bigger proposition—asking for a job at the paper. Thankfully John saw potential in a twenty-something who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. 

As I am quickly approaching my two-year mark at Whitewater Publications, I am more confident in my abilities as a writer and journalist than ever. This is all thanks to John, his encouragement, off-the-wall stories and even some “Come to Jesus” talks that made me really consider what I wanted to do with my career.

As a writer, you go into the field assuming you will have many editors. Losing some of those editors hurts more than others (and no John didn't die). Whitewater Publications is a staff of few, so it is easy for your coworkers to start to feel like family, and that includes all of the complicated emotions that come with family—love, laughter, anger, grief etc. John has become family in these past two years. 

Figuratively and literally, you have all invited John into your homes over these past 30 years. You have turned to him for answers in times of confusion. You have shared stories of both great times of happiness as well as sorrow. Most importantly, you have allowed John to do what he loves everyday for the past 30 years— “30 years of bliss” as John has described it. 

John, as much as I wish you could be enjoying your time eating a steak, drinking a glass of bourbon, smoking a cigar and reading a book, I would suggest perhaps a White Claw, some sugar-free wafers or whatever heart-healthy snacks are on the market. 

So, if and when you read this John, know we love you, we miss you and we can't wait to read the next chapter in your book.