John Gardner at Home

Memories from John Oberdiek

I wanted to recount an episode from the first time I that met you, at the Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference, which we’ve laughed about in the past. What I will always remember about that conference was not meeting you, but being mistaken for you. When I first approached the registration table, I was accosted by a woman I had never met nor seen, but who warmly—indeed overzealously—greeted me with an enthusiastic “John!” Assuming I was supposed to know her, I replied with an enthusiastic “hello!” myself. She insisted we go get coffee together, and only after quite some time sitting in a Moscow, Idaho café together did it dawn on her that she had no idea who I was, but that I was definitely not John Gardner. An interminably long and awkward silence followed. . . .

As it happens, I got to know one of John’s more recent DPhil students, Rob Mullins, this past year when he was visiting Rutgers from Queensland in Australia. We shared many conversations about John during his visit and it strikes me now that John, though absent, helped broker our friendship. We’re now co-authoring a paper that is very much influenced by John’s work. Rob was back in the States just a couple of weeks ago for a wedding and he made a point of leaving New York for Philadelphia so that we could raise a glass together in John’s memory. John touched so many people. I know we’ve not met, Jenny, but if you or your kids are ever in or near Philadelphia and should need anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Take care.

All the best, John