Last night I was very sad to get the news that John Hawley, Deputy Director of our department, had died. He had been diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer last February and had been off work since then. Throughout the last few months John had remained cheerful and positive, and was an inspiration to all of us who had been in touch with him. Even when his son died in tragic circumstances a few weeks after his diagnosis, he kept his positive outlook.
John had worked at the University for 26 years, originally as a Systems Analyst in the Data Processing Unit and then as Director of Management and Administrative Computing Services. For the last 12 years he had worked closely with me as Deputy Director of CiCS. As well as his work within the department, John was always keen to play a full role in University life, and got involved in a number of areas, especially those relating to HR issues. John loved dealing with people - his door was literally always open, and anyone who called in could be guaranteed a good listener and a sympathetic ear.
I last saw him a week before his death, and was shocked and saddened to see how ill he was - he was obviously uncomfortable and in pain, but chatted for a good half hour, and his sense of humour was still there. He has been a tremendous support to me over the last few years, through difficult personal times as well as through changes at work, and I've missed him terribly over the last few months. Since the news went out to the University, I've had loads of messages from people about how much they liked and respected him and how much he will be missed, and I hope that this will be of some comfort to his friends and family.