As an introduction, we should stress that the person we write about here in this Case Study, has given permission for his story and photo to be shared here, although his name has been changed.
John contacted St George’s in March 2021 and Pattaya Mission engaged with him at his condo in Jomtien.
John was living with the effects of COPD and explained that he knew that he would be dying in a number of weeks.
When we visited, we were introduced to his partner ‘New’.
John’s main issue was getting enough oxygen. He needed to borrow the Oxygen Condenser.
The day we met John, we immediately went to Fascino (link opens to webpage) to buy an oxygen monitor and a new clean hose / mask. John said that the nostril tubes got sore and he preferred a mouth/nose mask.
We also obtained a blood pressure monitor for John.
Fr. David Price, our Chaplain also met with John and they had a good chat about Fr. David’s organ playing as well as some stories about John’s boyhood.
John died with New by his side. They had been together for 15 years.
John Died on 28th February 2022.
The British Embassy / Family Connection
Once informed that John had died, we attempted to assist in terms of getting his body released from the morgue in Bangkok.
The police would not release the remains for cremation because John had not signed a next of kin statement in the event of his death.
Had John and New been married then this, of course, would have been no problem. But New is transgender and so officially had no legal relationship with John.
New suggested that we used John’s address book to contact his living family in the UK. New stressed that despite living together for many years, John had never ‘come out’ to his family nor told the truth to them about New’s gender.
We had been provided with a standard release form by Siam Funerals (link opens to Facebook page)
With the assistance of the British Embassy (link opens to Facebook page), we endeavoured to get a release form signed by John’s brother who was very reluctant, fearing that he might be liable for some costs.
Ultimately, John’s brother agreed to sign the form and we were able to assist New in creating John, following his instructions to Fr. David.
John’s Funeral took place at the Buddist Temple in Pattaya.
This Eulogy has been prepared using emails received by the parish from Johnʼs two brothers, Richard and Leithan.
John was born in Parkstone Dorset in April 1941 during a particularly harsh bombing raid on nearby Bournemouth.
His father was called up soon afterwards and spent his army war service mainly stationed in Iraq, so John did not see him again until four years old. In the meantime, he and his mother live with her parents in nearby Poole. John often said that he spent his happiest childhood days during this period amongst the security of his mother and grandparents.
He often recalled numerous visits into town with his grandfather on foot, pushing an empty metal accumulator for electrical recharging and back home with the seemingly heavier primed version.
John started his school life in Parkstone and was only there for a term or two before his father, a Chartered Architect, moved the family to Plymouth. Even at such a tender young age, John possessed excellent literary skills, which enabled him to pass his 11 plus examination in Bedford despite his apparent disinterest in mathematics. He did not care too much for his rather harsh Grammar school life where an 8 pm home curfew was strictly enforced, and sporting activities predominated much to Johnʼs distaste as he was not a particular sporting lad.
During his upbringing in Bedford with his middle brother Richard 5 years his junior, they were joined by Leithan, with whom he formed a particularly strong lifelong bond despite a gap of over 13 years between them. Richard fondly recalls accompanying John most Saturday afternoons at the town cinema to watch a new release, having queued for what seemed ages, often in the pouring rain.
Sadly, the boys lost their father shortly after moving to Winchester, Hampshire, so John became the male head of the family at the tender age of 18 years.
After their father died when Leithan was only four years old, John
became the stable, fun and naughty element in his younger brotherʼs life that was badly needed.
They were incredibly close and very similar in many aspects; for example, we used to have long robber stick fights, which were great fun and resulted in a few cuts and bruises were had by all!.
John took Leithan on days out around the South of England and introduced me to my first Pork Pie & Mustard and Beer at seven years old on Portsmouth Railway Station; John and I just loved pies & beer, and this is one tradition Leithen will continue.
Despite various family moves during Johnʼs interrupted school years, he obtained a place at Southampton University. Eventually, he moved into public relations, and it did not take long for him to establish his own successful Public Relations firm.
Johnʼs life was always FULL and never boring!
Leithan reminisced; “one time when he joined the Sealed Knot English Civil War Society in Prince Rupert Blue Coats regiment, one day after a reenactment battle John, Joy (Leithanʼs wife) and myself went to a village pub in his open top MG sports car, but John decided not change his clothes so he entered a small country pub in FULL Cavalier uniform hat/sword everything!!!, all the locals just looked in shock!, but that was the pickle John was and he loved to make a grand entrance.”
John and Leithan had many adventures in France over the years when travelling on cross channel ferries to help convert the French properties he had bought, and of course, they loved the wine and food. When visiting John, Leithan was expected to bring a supply of Pork Pies etc.
Leithan was the practical one! But John sadly wasnʼt, but we always had lots of fun and laughs and had the same sense of humour and thoughts about life.
John was not blessed with any children from his two marriages. After his second wife died in France, where they had moved, John retired to Thailand, where he met New.
In recent years John often said that the last move to Thailand was the best of all his many moves because New brought him tremendous support, much happiness and tranquillity, for which his family are so very grateful.
John will be missed so much by his family and those who knew him; John kept you on your toes but was the brother and friend everyone would like, “demanding, naughty and fun”.
Finally Leithan says: “God bless you, bro. I will shortly have a Pork Pie & mustard and a good beer and say, “keep safe, you old bugger, and keep a seat warm for me.”
You can contribute NOW to extend the work, worship and witness out of the chapel and into the heart of one of the most diverse and challenging parishes on earth using the links below.