Huzzah and adieu for John

by Howard Kohn

Not that anyone can plan this sort of thing, but John O’Leary, who for the past decade handled the Cable TV sound board at City Council meetings, couldn’t have planned it better. The day before his last night on the job he experienced a rare kind of region-wide attention, rare because it was for an act of kindness.

In a lengthy article in the January 30 Washington Post he was celebrated for, 15 years ago, inviting a homeless man old enough to be his father to live with him in his Adams Morgan house.  Over time the man did become a sort of adopted father to John and his partner, Nadine Epstein. The article describes how the two of them are sticking with him, as children would, while his end nears.

At the Council meeting the following evening Mayor Bruce Williams made special mention of the article as part of a warm thank-you for the many Monday evenings that John, a Vietnam vet who is leaving at age 66, had spent at the sound board.

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