John Friedmann | Passages

John Friedmann | Passages

With heavy hearts, we mark the passing of John Friedmann, part-time island resident, on 11th June in Vancouver.

John had a sharp mind and delightful laughter until the day he died, aged 91, following a heart attack. John was well-known to poetry lovers on Orcas Island for his readings of his own translations of Neruda, Lorca, Celan, and others, as well as his readings of Russian poets. He was a passionate supporter of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and of OPAL.

John was internationally renowned as a scholar in the fields of international development planning and planning theory. He wrote 18 books and hundreds of journal articles, received three Honorary Doctorates, was an Emeritus Professor at UCLA, where he was the founding father of the urban and regional planning program, and an Honorary Professor (ie distinguished but unpaid) at the University of British Columbia, where his wife Leonie Sandercock is a professor.

At age 81 John breaststroked his way across Cascade Lake and back, accompanied by Leonie, and enjoyed hiking in Moran State Park until his mid-80s.

John will be greatly missed by the generations of masters and doctoral students he supervised, by his former and present colleagues, his close friends, and above all by his family: wife Leonie, daughter Manuela, brother Martin and sister-in-law Laila Storch, niece Aloysia Friedmann and her husband Jon (Jackie) Kimura Parker and their daughter Sophie and Traudl Friedmann.

John’s last words were ‘I want to live!’ spoken emphatically just before he went into emergency heart surgery. Though he did not get to live past that day, John will certainly live on in the hearts of those who loved him and learned from him.