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After John Heckathorn’s death in late December, readers, friends and associates wrote in to share condolences and memories.
Since meeting John and Barbara over a lovely afternoon in 1984, we have followed John’s career at the magazine and looked forward to reading all of his articles, especially his food section. He was the main reason for subscribing to HONOLULU. We are so sad he’s gone but grateful for the great enjoyment he gave us over the years with his writing. Like many others, we miss him every day. A bright light has gone out, but its warmth is still there.
—MARCIA AND BOB LITTLE; MAKIKI, HI
I was stunned to learn of John’s sudden passing. Though it’s been 13 years since I last worked with him as an intern at HONOLULU Magazine, John left a huge, indelible mark on my life. I was 37 years old, a part-time UH student and full-time UH worker when he selected me to be his intern for the 1998 Spring semester. I worried how I would fit in at the magazine, but John was such a supportive, down-to-earth and funny person that I couldn’t help but feel at ease. I turned that semester’s internship into 10 glorious months and I didn’t ever want to leave. John’s boisterous laughter and enthusiasm gave me strength during the long days. I learned so much from his deft writing and editing talent. I prayed some of that would rub off on me. My published work for the magazine culminated with a Pai Award for Best Sports Reporting in 2000. Though my dream of becoming a journalist has now ended, I have no regrets at all. John gave me the greatest gift of all. He made my dreams come true. And that was enough to last a lifetime.
—THOMAS KWOCK; KALIHI, HI
John Heckathorn was my editor for the eight years I contributed to HONOLULU Magazine. He made me a better writer and taught me things I apply to this day. Many a career in the local restaurant scene benefited from John’s good taste, while he spread the word of a new and delicious facet of Hawaii’s gastronomy, adding a new dimension to the meaning of aloha. Heckster (as I called him for 35 years) was an onolicious guy whose wisdom and friendship I treasured and who taught me when to end a sentence.
—RON JACOBS; KANEOHE, HI
I read with sadness about the death of John Heckathorn. I was an admirer of his writings and as we are returning to live in Honolulu as of March 1, I was looking forward to enjoying his work. HONOLULU Magazine is a wonderful publication and I know that Mr. Heckathorn’s death will leave a puka in your lives. Aloha menemene,
—ANN HALL EVERY; NEW YORK CITY, NY
When I was living in NYC, I called John, then editor for HONOLULU Magazine, and asked if he’d meet with me during an upcoming trip. I was interested in moving to Oahu and wanted to know more about the opportunities the city had for new writers. He graciously agreed. We met in his office, he was very positive and supportive, and told me that he could see a place for me on Oahu. His words of encouragement were inspiring and gave me the shove I needed to move back to Hawaii. When I got here, John and Aimee Harris interviewed me for a Hawaii Home + Remodeling assistant-editor position. I didn’t get it—after all, I was unpublished—but he gave me a chance, and doors opened from there. I know others have similar stories, and I can’t say that I knew John all that well, but I won’t forget his kindness.
—SHEILA SARHANGI (CONTRIBUTING EDITOR TO HONOLULU MAGAZINE;) HONOLULU, HI