The Passing Of A Friend | RIP John Weekes

Introducing me to his staff for a masterclass session.

Missing you already!

Back in 2007, less than a year into my early entrepreneurial journey with MediaSnackers, I found myself in Portland, Oregon for the first time, speaking at a one day conference on ‘reshaping schools’ for the district, sharing the stage with Sir Ken Robinson, and being exposed to all the wonders that the city and wider region has to offer.

Portland quickly became one of my cherished places on the planet. Not just because of the intentionally weird city vibes, expressive culture and artistic openness, but also because the deep friendships I made there. It’s always been on my list of places to live one day…

…but the reason I was on that stage in 2007 in the first place was because of an invite from a chap called John Weekes (via a recommendation from pal Christian Long). At that time John was still involved daily as a founding principal of Dull Olson Weekes Architects (DOWA) and was one of the leads on the one day conference curating the speakers.

My early email interactions established his character as the living intersection of curiosity, encouragement and someone who asked all the right questions.

When we finally met that May it was further confirmed John was a true gentleman with a kindness of spirit which was cherished by all who met him.

I was lucky enough to repeat my visits to Portland over the years that followed and on most occasions stayed with John. We spent most of our time talking, laughing and troubling converging ideas with our enthusiasm for creative exploration. He introduced me to superb people, got me in front of other opportunities to extend my pedigree (and to enable me to pay the rent) plus I got to meet and spend time with his wonderful family.

John was a legend in the school architectural space, and in recognition of his work was elected to the Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2015. He, his company and his schools won many other awards, and in his later career got involved in bigger international consulting opportunities plus started teaching locally as well.

His soul delighted in the possibility and adventurous edges of things, at least that’s what he taught me: to keep playing at those boundaries. He was a dear friend and helped me through some tough times with his honest mentorship and simple solid friendship.

John garnered a respect in others through his bountiful generosity and wicked sense of humour.

He mattered to people because people mattered to him.

John showing me the brand new new Rosa Parks Elementary School he designed.

I’m so full of honour to have him still echoing in my life, influencing my approach in decision making and keeping hungry for the right questions to ask.

Rest in peace my friend.



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