John Gardner at Home

Memories from Ewan McKendrick

Dear Jennifer and John

I was very sorry to hear your news. I write this from a hospice in Worcester where our two week old granddaughter is now resident and where she will live for the days of her all too short life. The two situations are very different but I do very much feel for you both and will continue to pray for you and the family. Our experience over the last few days is how precious are the family times we can spend together and how amazingly supportive and helpful the staff are at the hospice. I wish you the best over the next period.

John, I guess we arrived back in Oxford at the same time. I always thought you would have been a great Dean but looking back I am glad you did not take on the role. Your contribution to scholarship would not have been so deep and so enduring had you devoted these years of your life to the leadership of the Faculty. I very much look forward to reading your book on Torts and am sure it will be a major source of debate and engagement for many years to come.

One story which has come back to me on a number of occasions was the time we were at the VC's house when Andy Hamilton was VC. I think the occasion was when John had been made an FBA. It was a drinks event in the early evening. But for some reason the text which had been given to Andy began to introduce the wrong John Gardner. I do not know what John really felt but he laughed it off - others would not have been so generous. But in many ways it was the mark of the man - his generosity, and the fact that he wore his own great learning so lightly.

With my thoughts and prayers