"The real SMA was a spirit, a belief, a set of values, and it was people, like Col. Joe and Lou Onesty types, and the Weases and Harry Deys and guys like James and Brown and Pitcher and Moody and Jay Pence, and a long, long, grey line of cadets who each influenced and affected the others who came into their orbits -- we all rubbed off a bit on each other and learned from each other and taught each other. The big thing is that SMA should be teaching again. Above all, we are a school, have always been a school and should forevermore be a school, teaching truth, duty and honor..."
When John passed away, we were told by the hospital that he had no family--that was what he told them. After his body was transferred to the county administrator, their investigation located two cousins; so, John was buried with full military honors at Riverside National Cemetery in California. Despite that John left a small family behind, he also had a large family within the alumni of SMA, and that was where his greatest dedication and care was always directed. I don't really know why, or if any other alum could be or has ever been so devoted to SMA, but I'm glad to have been among those who got to know him through his involvement. I'm a four-1/2-year SMA alumni graduate of '65, and John came the closest to making me feel like I had a father again since my dad, whom I loved as much as a son could love a father, died 18 years ago.
Thank you, John, for teaching and lending your spirit and desire to keep SMA alive. Your dedication and vision will be remembered and will continue as a source of SMA's life.
Malcolm Kantzler, SMA '65
My only contact with John was through the computer, and he left an impression with me that I will remember. I regret never having met the man. He had a lot to offer to others, especially SMA alumni. Taps and a 21-gun salute to very good man who tried to keep us informed and together. He will be missed.
John Paul, SMA '67
I have had many phone conversations with John over the last several years and innumerable e-mails. He was a dedicated and focused guy who really had great courage. I know I will miss him, as he was the guy who got me back in touch with perhaps the most meaningful two years of my life, and who helped make it possible to have had the opportunity to see what real quality individuals were graduates of SMA.
John may not have had an immediate family but he had a very extended one in the SMA alumni group.
Hunter Henry, SMA '47
We have all lost a great "Old Boy." May God bless him. He was one of the best.
George Dunigan, SMA '64
God needed a good man to help him search for lost saints and to make and update the address records. John was the best. He'll kick some ass and take names doing his new endeavor.
Al Margarita, SMA '57 and proud of it.
I am deeply saddened to hear of John's passing. Even though I never met John personally, I felt had known him all my life through his e-mail correspondence. I, for one, will miss this man, who was proud to be an SMA graduate and didn't mind letting you know how he felt about anything, whether or not you agreed with him. I think that all of us who read his e-mail messages benefited from John Deal's candor. I will miss him.
Nate Manly Johnson, SMA '65
I am saddened to hear of the passing of John. I had several good e-mail exchanges with him about SMA over the years. He also lived here in Wilmington for several years, so we were able to talk about Wilmington from time to time.
He really felt close to the school, and I think it meant a lot to talk to other old boys over the years. I think he loved the school and helped preserve its memory and values.
Arch Jones, SMA '69
John did me a big favor for my son Matt, who is in the Marine Corps...
I'll miss him.
Gary W. Fish, SMA '67
Vaya con Dios, John.
Ed Newbegin, SMA '75
I never had the privilege of meeting John personally, but we spoke many times by e-mail. He got me through a very rough time of my life. I feel like I have lost a very dear friend. May he rest in peace.
Bob Cohan, SMA '57
I have had many conversations with John on the computer and have gained a great deal of help and friendship. I think it is safe to say that SMA has lost one of its most loyal and dedicated alumni who, whether you liked what he said or not, shared a large part of himself with us all.
To learn of his passing is not only sad, but the feeling inside proves to me the type of bond SMA has provided to all amongst our ranks. As far as I'm concerned, John is one of the finest of our alumni, and it's an honor to have him as a friend and, in my case, an older "old boy" who was always there for guidance and advice.
May we all hold a glass up in toast to one of our own who has gone ahead.
Ralph Dent, SMA '71
I am truly shocked and saddened by the news of John's death. While John and I may have had our differences at times, and we certainly got into many a heated discussion via e-mail, I always respected his deep-down, true-from-the-heart loyalty to the alumni and memories of SMA. He lived, ate, and breathed SMA. It is with heavy heart that I acknowledge his passing.
John - we'll miss you!!!
Mark Orr, SMA '73
My rat year was 1949, and I assume John was a senior. I never got to meet him, but have grown to appreciate his wit and wisdom on the internet.
Murray Weingartner, SMA '51
I never met the "Old Boy" but he did fill a much needed void in communications with the rest of the "Old Boys."
Brocky A. Nicely, SMA '65
I had the fortune to correspond with my big "brother" John on several occasions. His joy of life and advice to me will be with me forever.
God rest your soul John Deal!
Daniel C. Caudy, SMA '59
As a classmate of John (and recent survivor of bypasses), I'm especially saddened to hear of his sudden departure. Although a half century has gone by since being with him at SMA, I'm sure he filled his life and that of others with many memorable accomplishments.
Alex DeVolpi, SMA '49
I never had the opportunity to meet John other than on the Internet where we chatted several times in the past. It is hard to describe the sense of loss from just those few conversations.
I hope John is reminiscing with a few of the good old boys from the past and staying off the Beat Squad.
John Taylor, SMA '62
It is with sadness that I have learned of the passing of John Deal, SMA'49. John was, without a doubt, the driving force in the electronic SMA. Without his help in finding, verifying, and contacting many of us, and urging us to do the same, our electronic address list would be non-existent.
Although John and I had different views on many matters, we shared a common bond, not only from SMA, but also from Grandview Heights, Ohio, where I spent my youth, and John logged time during his career. It was amazing that he had almost total recall of that period of time. We spent hours reminiscing about the neighborhood in which I resided, and the Grandview High School "Bobcats" and their legendary Basketball team.
As God will have it, rest well, my friend, and may you be in Heaven before the Devil knows you're dead.
Fred Burner, SMA '68
God bless, John. Brave and true; there is little better than can be said about any man.
Fair winds and following seas.
Chuck Pfarrer, SMA '75
I have continued my life with little outward change since John's passing. But, I have come to the realization that something is now missing. John brought thought and insight into many issues common to our e-mail list and I am sorely missing his bantering.
I am sure that Saint Peter has heard an earful. Things sure are quiet here...
Tom Cacy, SMA '63
Amen to that Tom. I'm sure John and Barry have caught up on things by now as well!!
I do miss John. He really was a wonderful resource and friend to us all.
George Dunigan, SMA '64
It was also my honor and privilege to have become acquainted with John through this e-mail group. He was quite a guy. I am truly sorry that I never got to meet him in person.
Robert Cohan, SMA '57
John and I developed a deep friendship and admiration for each other. Last Saturday a dear friend went to sleep and never woke up. This afternoon I went to his funeral and couldn't speak when I tried to console his widow. I came home and found the news about John Deal on my computer--another one of the few people I felt I could call a friend. At 11:15 PM, I sit here and write between wiping away the tears and blowing my nose. What a way for an ex-heavyweight fighter and football player to act. But but I don't have that many true friends, that's how deeply I feel about losing two friends in a week.
As the black Reverend Gary Davis, the blind preacher who wrote "If I Had A Hammer," said to Roy Bookbinder, the Blues singer, "I'm an old man, you better hurry."
Bob's an old man and John's passing leaves him with one less friend, he better find a few new ones.
Bob "Gator" Horvath, SMA '47
As we get through this new emptiness in our lives, we remember John as an angel of encouragement and support for a lot of us. John's latest admonitions included me seeing to it that my wife Janet's future was secured and that I should work hard to get this market paper to be successful... Janet was especially saddened by John's passing. We both loved him a lot. He was a rare person.
Del Richardson, SMA '67