Very few of you knew Stan Johns. He passed suddenly this past Wednesday. Stan was not an ALFABB member, not much a computer/internet guy. What he was, was a good man and a true Alfista. At one point Stan owned 13 Alfas; he was an AROC member for over 50 years. When he died this week, I think he was down to about ten or so Alfas. Only two or three were roadworthy, but that mattered not to Stan. He still had a Giulietta Spider in his garage that he bought new in the early 1960s. He still owned the Giulia 1300 sedan he bought for his son to drive to high school in the 70s. Every one of his cars had a story. That's why he still owned them. Just a couple months ago, Stan drove his tired but running Giulia Sprint GT to the local FIAT/ALFA Romeo dealership to see the new 4C they had on the floor. He was going to get around to restoring it someday, restoring them all. He just ran out of time. Stan was a retired NASA engineer. He used to work for a guy here in town back in the 60's named Werner Von Braun as an engineer for a new idea called Human Factors Engineering. Stan helped lay out the switch panels and control interfaces for the Apollo mission astronauts. Stan was our patriarch here. He did not miss many of the monthly gatherings of the local alfisti for pizza and beer over these last 53 years or so. Stan introduced me to the local alfisti when I moved here and got me re-energized into Alfas and the wonderful people that tend to own them. Last month, he drove his Graduate to our monthly restaurant gathering, had a beer and a slice of pizza, and shared a laugh or two. He was hard of hearing. Had been for years. Especially so in the din of a busy restaurant. You had to lean in and speak firmly. He told me he was tired, he was sleeping too much, had no energy. Waiting on the test results to see if he had to undergo chemo. He hoped not. As I made my way around the table, saying goodbye to the gang of regulars, I think he was trying to listen to one of Larry's stories. I did not want to interrupt, so I simply clasped his shoulder as a goodbye. He looked around at me, reached around, and rested his hand atop mine. His hand lingered a while, then he squeezed my hand, held it for a few seconds. I though it odd. He'd not done that before. Now three weeks later, he is gone.
I will miss him.
I will miss him.