Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Turkey Tracks: Goodbye John

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Turkey Tracks:  February 10, 2013

Goodbye John

It’s hard to say goodbye forever.

Even after an illness of 4 years–years that now seem very short.

John Michael Enright, my husband of 47 years (on May 28th 2013), died of an aggressive prostate cancer January 7, 2013.

This picture was taken in September of 2011 at the Waterfront Restaurant in Camden, Maine.  You can see he is wearing his Schooner J&E Riggin hat.

John, Waterfront, Sept 2011

The end came very fast.  We had gone out to lunch on Friday, January 5th.  And, he ate and enjoyed a very good lunch, despite having been “off” food for the past ten days or so, eating only a little and fussing about what was on his plate a lot.  On Saturday he was very tired.  Friend Dave Miramant came to repair the back screen door and visited for a bit.  After Dave left, John put his head down on the table and said, “I’m so tired.”  He spent the rest of the day in his reading chair by the fireplace.  We had a nice evening downstairs watching tv series we like, and he climbed the stairs ok.  But, toward dawn on Sunday, he “crashed.”  His legs stopped working after he got up for a bathroom visit.  He just seized up somehow, catching us all by surprise.  I knew he was getting much sicker, but…

Hospice came Sunday morning, and we began morphine to help with his breathing.  He did not complain of pain.  I stayed next to him all night Sunday so I could help with whatever he needed and could give him tiny, tiny doses of morphine through the night.  Our regular hospice nurse came on Monday morning, and it was clear that John had entered the dying process.  His sister Maryann got here late morning, having left Boston at 7 a.m.  She and I were with him as he drifted away, one of us on each side of him, about 2 p.m.

Friends came immediately.  Dick and Cassie Snyder.  Margaret Rauenhorst.  Dave Miramant and Dee Webster.  Maryann and I washed John’s body and figured out what clothes to send him off in for the cremation he had chosen.  The Long Funeral Home here were absolutely terrific.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.  And then we began planning the funeral, calling friends and family, and grieving together.  Our children arrived on Thursday with all the grandchildren, who have very much been part of John’s cancer from the beginning.

The funeral was January 12th and the Congregational Church in Camden.  The church was full of family and friends, many of whom came from long distances to be with us and to celebrate John’s life.  John would have been proud and pleased with the service, especially as a beautiful young woman with a great voice sang “Danny Boy.”   The reception following the service was also at the church and was catered by Lani Temple of Megunticook Market.  It was lovely, as I knew it would be when she agreed to do it on such short notice.

Here is John’s obituary:

John Michael Enright


John Michael Enright, 70, died at home, Monday, January 7, 2013, with his wife Louisa and his sister Maryann Enright at his side.  John chose the outstanding staff of Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice and Dr. Ira Mandel to manage the last stages of his cancer, and they kept him so comfortable that he was out in the community up until the Saturday preceding his death. 

John attended St. Clements High School (1960) and Tufts University (1964), both in Medford, MA.  He graduated from Tufts with a BA in Government .  Having completed the Tufts’ ROTC program, John was sworn in as an officer in the United States Air Force and was assigned to the 544th Aerospace Reconnaissance Technical Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Offutt, Nebraska, where he worked in intelligence (1964-1968).  At Offutt, he met and married, in 1966, Louisa Philpott Enright, the daughter of Lt. Gen. Jammie M. and Lucy Bryan Philpott.

John worked at Planning Research Corporation from 1968 to 1992, first working in Intelligence Systems and then moving to Civil Systems in 1978, where he was made a Vice President.  He worked at Andover, MA-based Dynamics Research Corporation from 1992 to 2004 as their Washington, DC, marketing representative.

John and Louisa lived in Falls Church, VA, from 1968 to 2004.  John, at 32, was elected to the Falls Church City Council in 1974, the youngest councilman ever elected at that time.  He was a Commissioner of the Northern Virginia Planning District.  He retired to Camden, Maine, in 2004, and John often expressed that these years were the happiest of his life. 

In Camden, John was on the Board of Directors of the Camden Area Futures Group, The Coastal Counties Workforce, The Camden Conference, and The Community School.  And, John served as Roger Moody’s Treasurer during Moody’s two successful campaigns for Knox County Commissioner.  John was a member of the Camden Rotary and the MidCoast Forum for Foreign Relations.     

John was predeceased by his parents, John Joseph Enright and Norah T. O’Connell of Ireland and Somerville, MA.  John is survived by his wife, Louisa; his sister Maryann Enright, a Sister of Saint Joseph in Boston, MA, and his brother, James Gerard Enright of Surprise, AZ; his sons and his daughter-in-laws J. Michael Enright and Tamara Kelly Enright and Bryan J. Enright  and Corinne Casacio Enright of Isle of Palms, SC; and his grandchildren Bowen, Kelly, Talula, Wilhelmina,  and Ailey. 

John’s life was celebrated at the Camden Congregational Church in a service led by T. Richard Snyder and Maryann Enright, csj.  The Long Funeral Home has a memory book and information on donations to local organizations at their web site, www.longfuneralhomecamden.org.  And, donations can be made also to Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841.    

In the funeral program, we also listed Camden First Aid, Restorative Justice, and The Community School as worthy sites for donations.  If you are interested in any of those, addresses are on the Long Funeral Home site.
There is only one other thing to say at this moment, and that is that if John had it to do over again, he would not have done one single thing about the prostate cancer–a plan that is now recommended by the main prostate cancer oversight group.  John did not have the “usual suspect” kind of prostate cancer.  He had one of the growing number of aggressive prostate cancers.  Nothing mainstream medicine did slowed it down for long.  At our very first “discovery” meeting, we were told that the average for this type of prostate cancer was 5 years.  John’s felled him in 4 years.
So, if you have ever wondered why I research and write about food and the human body, know that it is because that work is one way for me to try to get people to realize that we cannot continue down this path we are all following.  We cannot continue—well, we can, actually, but the results will be what we are all now seeing:  massive amounts of cancer among people we love, among…ourselves.  The reason my essays are called “Tipping Points” is because I want to know where the Tipping Point will come when people will say “enough.”
John’s death was more than enough.  John was, in fact, never sick.  That John could get cancer is akin to one of the canaries in the mines, to the frogs in the pot of heating water.  Wake up folks!  No one is really searching for “the cure.”  Industry is searching for more ways to sell you drugs that “might” cure cancer or control it.  The cure can only be cleaning up the world we’ve degraded since World War II.  The cure is refusing to eat poisoned food, to breathe poisoned air, to drink poisoned water, to put poisons on or near our skin.  The cure is to pay attention to real science, not paycheck science created by industry.  The cure is to break the grip that industry has gotten on all of our lives and to create rules that are good for people.
I will leave you with one more picture, taken in May 1966:
1966 2 John & Louisa's Military Sword Walk
 OK, here’s one more.  The man I married and loved for so many years:
1968 02 Captain Enright

The father of my two beloved sons, born 14 months apart:

1968 4 John with the boys

The beloved grandfather of five (and soon to be 6) grandchildren:


Goodbye, John.  May you rest in peace and love.  We hold you in our hearts.  Always.

Written by louisaenright

February 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Louisa, what a beautiful tribute to John… John’s quick wit, generosity, and kindness touched us all. His life long support of family and friends stands as a reminder of what a great man he was…He truly celebrated his own life and the lives of those around him….He will be sorely missed by all…Love you so much…Sue

    Susan Heath

    February 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

  2. Louisa, what a beautiful tribute to an amazing man. We all loved him and we will all miss him..He always amazed me with his sensitivity to the feelings of those around him..he made you feel good…that is a rare attribute..i love you my sweet cousin…Be good to you…Teeny


    February 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

  3. Louisa- That was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this! -Lisa


    February 11, 2013 at 8:49 am

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