It is with great sadness that my mentor and very close friend John Kambanis passed away.
John was a kind an generous man. We had many lovely and fun days together. I will always treasure the times we had. Weather it was at our favourite restaurant the Meekong in Ottawa’s china town, or chowing down on a greek takeway from Greek on Wheels. It was totally a great experience to be his friend and to work with him. He was with me when I was going through the process of getting married and made the extra effort to come my reception in Toronto.
John was born in Greece but spent much of his youth in Ethiopia where his father ran a barber shop. John was there when the king was deposed. Later the family returned to Greece and John moved to South Africa to attend and later teach at a university there.
Though he studied Physics, John became very interested in the micro computers in the early days when they were becoming popular. He learned how to program and started his own company selling a small database system.
John was offered a sabbatical in Toronto and quickly took it up. He loved Canada so much that he began to look for work and found a job at Cognos in Ottawa. I met John there on my first day on 1 Feb 1993. We didn’t hit it off immediately, arguing about how evil Microsoft was and such! But John was so kind and gentle that his gentleness rubbed off on me. He saw in me the talent that I had.
I later worked for John in our lovely office on Metcalfe street in the heart of Ottawa city centre. It was a single room but we made it like a second home. It even had a couch and a coffee table. Even after I had got laid off I still went down there to visit and chat. We even managed a trip to San Francisco for one week, driving around in a convertible. He was lovely.
In 2003 I got married and moved to the UK. John visited me twice in the UK and on both occasions we had a lovely time. I think John did enjoy things very much.
John suffered a mild heart attack in 2008 and he required a heart bypass. Afterwards he was on blood thinners which he complained often gave him dizzy spells. It was in 2009 that he had a particularily bad fall and suffered a subdural hematoma. I was still able to speak to John on a regular basis – but in 2010 he lost his ability to communicate and I began to worry very much about him. I was still hopeful that with physiotherapy he would recover. Sadly his condition got worse and on December 28 2014 my good friend passed away. I never did visit him whilst he was ill and for that I am very regretful.
I will truely miss him.