In Memoriam: John Julian M. Tan III, 1975-2008

"Every man dies, not every man truly lives."
-William Wallace, Braveheart

At 2:30 p.m. today, February 25, 2008 Philippine time, John Julian M. Tan III, known to many as "Jay" and to some of his truly close friends as "Budoy", passed away.

Jay was the kind of guy who managed to do things many of us probably never imagined ourselves doing in our lifetimes, like finding time to text someone a message of affection with rioters banging on the door, or dressing up in a blond wig and a diaper during some ad convention in Cebu, or doing other wild and crazy things you wouldn't think him capable of upon looking at him. He was the kind of guy who left a lasting impression on just about every person whose life somehow intersected with his own.

With the formation of SPEED, the Ateneo de Manila University-based student organization dedicated to helping out in the education of special/autistic children, Jay pretty much sealed his legacy. It's just sad that it didn't take very long for it to outlive him.

There was so much more to Jay than just forming a student org, though, even though by itself that was really something of an achievement.

In times of crisis, Jay proved to be the glue that held his family together. He often found himself in situations that called for maturity far beyond what his years should have given him, and yet time and again he pulled through. On more than one occasion he proved to be a rock onto which other members of this family could anchor themselves in the midst of a buffeting storm.

His fierce dedication, however, didn't end with his family. He was one of the best friends anyone could ever hope for in good times and in bad. He always had something for someone who needed his help, whether it was his time and energy or even a few words of encouragement or wisdom. He was never stingy with what he had to give; and in fact the sum total of the kindness he showered on people who needed his help is far greater than anyone could have repaid him had his lifetime been ten times what it actually was.

He could always be counted on for his deadpan humor and quips, and for throwing some really rocking parties at his house. At the end of the day, that's what really struck people about him: he could be counted on. It's not an easy thing to come by in today's world.

There's so much more the guy could have given the world, but considering he was taken by natural causes and not by any of the evils of man, I'm that much more inclined to concede, however grudgingly, that the Big Guy must really have His reasons for calling Jay back sooner rather than later.

You are, and will continue to be, greatly missed, my friend.