John Gardner at Home

Memories from Greg Alexander

Dear Jennifer and family,

When I learned of John's death, I was shocked and inexpressibly saddened by the news. My thought was that a great mind and, more important, a great soul was gone, for that is what John was - a great soul.

I was one of the founders of the Wednesday evening regular dinner group at Cornell Law School, a small gathering of faculty members who met to discuss philosophy, law, theory, politics, movies, and life in general. Of course, we invited John immediately, and John readily accepted. John fell into the life of our group so seamlessly that it seemed as though he was a longtime member of our faculty. It quickly became apparent that John was the smartest person in that room (no small feat), but more than that, he was the liveliest and most congenial presence among us. We all quickly fell in love with John, not simply for his great intellect, though we surely appreciated that, but for his great heart. our only regret was that it had taken him so long to come to Cornell and that he had to leave to return home to Oxford. We dearly wished that he could have remained a permanent member of our faculty.

I know that it will be of little consolation to you that John left such an enduring mark at Cornell Law School, but perhaps it will assuage just a bit of the deep pain you must feel to know who much he is missed in Myron Taylor Hall and Ithaca more broadly.

With deepest sympathy,

Gregory S. Alexander