John Danke
  • 65 years old
  • Date of birth: Aug 18, 1950
  • Place of birth:
  • Date of passing: Dec 30, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    Carlsbad, California, United States
Let the memory of John be with us forever

Our beloved John Danke passed away very suddenly on Wednesday night, December 30.  He was at St. Patrick's Church practicing late that evening, and collapsed.  He was discovered the next morning by the church staff.   We all share a profound sense of loss.  John was the kindest, most generous person imaginable, and the hole his passing leaves in our lives will be impossible to fill.  I don't know what we will do without the music that he brought into our lives.

A funeral mass for John will be held on Saturday, January 23, at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.  There will be a musical prelude, featuring some of John's favorite music, at 9:30 a.m., and the Mass will begin at 10:00.  He will be interred at the Mission at the conclusion of the Mass.  Following the burial, there will be a short reception in the Parish Center, where John's friends can gather for refreshments and fellowship.

This memorial page was created as a place for all of John's friends to share their thoughts, tributes and stories.  Please contribute whatever you would like.  Photos of our notoriously shy friend are most welcome!

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Pamela Scott on 2nd January 2018

"John was one of my dearest friends.  I keep his picture on my desk and talk to him regularly thanking him for all that he did for me.  I was this soloist at the Carlsbad Christian Science church for 4 years and John always made me sound my very best even when I was not in great voice that morning.  My husband was his friend also and my youngest son, Billy was his friend.  My son was a musician also and played in his high school band.  John always encouraged Billy with his music.  I shall never forget his loving, giving spirit.  He is dear to me to this day."

This tribute was added by Kathleen OBRIEN on 30th December 2017

"You must appreciate the three white rose bushes next to you, which are growing so beautifully!"

This tribute was added by Barbara Madison-Reynolds on 30th December 2017

"God Bless you John! You are truly missed! Devoted to the greatness of music! Thanks for your legacy!"

This tribute was added by Mai-Lon Gittelsohn on 30th December 2017

"I'm always glad to be reminded of you John and your kindness and artistry, always.I'm still singing and recall how you would play for me whenever I asked. How I miss you as we all do."

This tribute was added by Anthea Reilly on 30th December 2017

"On this, the second anniversary of our beloved friend John Danke's passing; I would like to pay tribute to his marvellous musicianship and to his endless encouragement and kind generosity of spirit.  To be a fine accompanist is not easy.  John was the finest I have ever come across.  What a privilege to have been able to sing with him all those years ago on Kettner Blvd, San Diego.  You will never be forgotten, dear John."

This tribute was added by Marcia Ephraim on 24th August 2017

"I was able to visit John's grave on August 22 for his birthday on August 18, and said Kaddish, through tears, of course.  His epitaph was taken from the words of Lebanese prophet Khalil Gabrin and is so like John.  For those who are not able to visit John's grave, it reads, "That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space."  Beneath that is a curved music staff with music notes.  I like to imagine that John was taken from us so that he could use his extraordinary musical talents to make music in the heavens and space.  Dear John, I hope you are so happy wherever you are and are playing your music in heaven.  We all miss you more than you will ever know.  The angels' gain is our loss."

This tribute was added by Marcia Ephraim on 18th August 2017

"Dear John, hardly a day goes by when I don't remember you, especially on your birthday.  I have multiple binders containing the music you so lovingly gave to me in full view in my living room. They always act as a reminder of what a kind, caring, and superb man you were.  Music simply is not the same without you. As soon as I am able, I plan on visiting your grave and saying Kaddish, as I did last year.  I wish you a peaceful eternal sleep."

This tribute was added by Mai-Lon Gittelsohn on 18th August 2017

"It feels as if I am talking to John--Dear John, I'll never forget your unfailing generosity and support for me as a fledging singer. No matter how many years passed, when I'd call and ask for a session you always made room for me. thank you always and forever..."

This tribute was added by Therese Holladay on 18th August 2017

"Dear friends of John
Last night I left a recital rehearsal in Prescott where I live and thought how much better and easier this would have gone if we had John sitting at the piano.
John... I am missing your support and kindness and your gentle spirit blessed with incredible talent. You are a legend we will never forget."

This tribute was added by Anthea Reilly on 18th August 2017

"Woke this morning to see from my prayer book that today would have been our dear and much loved friend, John Danke's 67th birthday.  John was one of my very favourite people.  He helped me so much with my singing many years ago when he accompanied Pandeli Lazaridii's students on Kettner Blvd, San Diego.  What a privilege it was to have known this wonderful, selfless man.  God bless you, always, John.  Thank you for all you did for so many, many people."

This tribute was added by Irene Silberman on 2nd January 2017

"I had known John for about 6 years through St. Mark's parish. He always had something positive to say to me and made me feel like I was the only one he was talking to. I miss him at St. Mark's and I often feel his presence at the piano. He helped so many people with kind words. He said you are never too old and never to give up on the gifts and talents that our Lord has given us. Never stop trying to improve the gifts that you have been given. The Lord will shine through. Seeing that I am up there in age, I will be seeing him soon. In the meantime, God bless John Danke and the privilege of knowing him. -Irene Silberman"

This tribute was added by Pamela Scott on 2nd January 2017

"John was and is the most kind and thoughtful person I have every worked with.  He loved his work as a musician and we loved hearing him play.  He was gifted with perfect pitch and his fingers made every piano and organ sing with joy. I especially miss him each Wednesday night when he played for our service at the Christian Science church in Poway.  In the 1990's he accompanied me every Sunday for 4 years.
I miss you John and will always remember your encouragement and how you made me a better singer.   You are God's perfect child."

This tribute was added by lana schaffer on 30th December 2016

"You were taken from us too soon.  We miss you and know that you are looking down on us approvingly."

This tribute was added by Therese Holladay on 30th December 2016

"My dear friend John
Patrick and I reminisced together this past Tuesday over lunch. We spoke of the void that may never be filled by other pianists in the San Diego area. After all, yours were big shoes to fill. Know that we will keep your light burning in our hearts here on earth…until we meet again."

This tribute was added by Marcia Ephraim on 30th December 2016

"Hardly a day goes by when I fail to think of our beloved John.  Of course, December 30 will be especially remembered as will his birthday on August 18.  It doesn't seem possible that he's gone a year.  I hope he's happy wherever he is in the eternal world.  I'm sure his music now thrills all of eternity. He was a brilliant musician and a magnificent human being.  His remarkable abilities as an accompanist and musician brought out the best in my singing.  He was the kindest, sweetest person I've ever known."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Steiner on 30th December 2016

"It's been a year now and I still miss John's piano accompaniment at our church choir, but I know he's at the keys playing for a heavenly choir with the Lord at attendance - an enjoying every moment!!"

This tribute was added by steve vanderwal on 30th December 2016

"Dearest John, I am thinking about you today. You may be gone from us here, but you are never forgotten. Your loving and caring spirit and extraordinary musical talents will live on in our hearts. Beautiful memories abound. You are so greatly missed."

This tribute was added by Mai-Lon Gittelsohn on 30th December 2016

"John: remembering today Dec. 30, 2016, how willingly you would accompany me on the piano as I studied with Beverly Ogdon in Del Mar. Early days--and you continued to be a friend and supporter over the many years that followed."

This tribute was added by michael boles on 23rd December 2016

"I guess God has a place for him in the orchestra of the cosmos. He was a great steward of the piano.  His devotion was daily.  I wish in these last few years I would have called him more.
We met in Palm Desert @  Silver Spur Mobile Manor.  He played and I would listen.  We talked around the pool.
We both became interested in solar energy back then & I even got him to ride a motorcycle.  He purchased a 1974 XL 250.  We would ride around in the desert on the other side of Hwy 74.
  Looking back I know that I had one of those friends that you can count on just one hand.  
How our lives go so quick.  I will miss him.  He was a very good and helpful person to everyone.  I wish more people could be like John.  It would truly be a better world."

This tribute was added by Marcia Ephraim on 25th August 2016

"I did remember John's 66th birthday on August 18.  I visited his grave on that date and recited Kaddish.  John and I used to work on the Kaddish set to music by Maurice Ravel, so I knew he would have been pleased and comfortable with my decision.  I really wanted  to have recited Kaddish at graveside at John's funeral, but it was not in the schedule.   It was so difficult to see a gravestone with John's name on it.  Before I left, I stroked his gravestone and wished him a peaceful sleep.  Oh, how we miss you, you shining star of a man!"

This tribute was added by Adele Campbell on 18th August 2016

"Happy Birthday as we celebrate you life.  I miss your gentle spirit and your shy smile as we shared a laugh while rehearsing something quite serious. Sharing a story about Canada.....being in a state of shock when I sung part of a song and you looked up and said, "Scorpions!"  Who knew, you knew???

Beautiful John.  You had so many sides of you, just a like a shiny prism. Serious (I heard!) and so talented and humble. I considered you a brother (that I would have wanted if I could have requested a brother - family is sent from "Central Casting" -it is what it is!)  you were wise and kind and dear and believed in me and supported my fantasy of being a singer without making me feel foolish.  I think of you often and still want to pick up the phone and call you when I hear a song I would like to re-create with you.  

Heaven is so lucky to have you to work with the choir of angels.  But most important is your rest.  Finally!  And that your spirit lives on in all of us like a light shining in the night in our souls.  Blessings."

This tribute was added by Norma Hinrichsen on 18th August 2016

"John I miss your gentle smile every sunday.  And always making my day"

This tribute was added by Mai-Lon Gittelsohn on 18th August 2016

"I will never forget the times John reappeared in my life for over thirty years. Still a "fledgling" singer, I appreciate all the kindnesses he showed to me."

This tribute was added by lana schaffer on 18th August 2016

"I just passed by The Pacific Beach women's Club and remember
what a great person was John Danke."

This tribute was added by Stephen Chan on 18th August 2016

Happy 66th birthday!  We know you are home with the Lord rejoicing and happy.  We miss you very much.  Hello to our friend , Nolyn.  We all had wonderful years of making music together.  Concerts are not the same without the two of you."

This tribute was added by Vincenzo Roma on 10th February 2016

"After reading though posts from others, it became clear very quickly the impact that John left on others. His dedication for support of virtually any instrument that could be played with passion can't be quantified. When others told me that the trumpet was "inappropriate" for various parts of the mass (many times), John always found a way to get me to play and together we proved the unique contribution that brass can have. Sometimes, his efforts were so on the fly to have me play when ever possible that he'd hand me a hand written part that he was working on in between songs for me to sight read 10 minutes later! On some pieces, the ink was still running. Unfortunately, my dream of returning to my home parish to share music with John again will not be accomplished. However, his impact he had on my development and literally all of the music he wrote for me will be cherished forever. As with others, I selfishly wish we had more time with John."

This tribute was added by Mj Gue on 25th January 2016

"Dear John,    
     Thank you for your  service and music.  You are one dedicated servant till the end. We will missed you but you will be in our hearts forever. Now, you will be playing for with our Lord"

This tribute was added by jean wehren on 25th January 2016

"John's other church family, the Christian Science church of Carlsbad-Vista, sends its love to John and his friends.  He was a faithful member for many, many years even though his musical obligations to other congregations did not allow him to join us very often.  He inspired us with his devotion to music and to others.  What a loving mentor to so many!  I have known John since teenage years in Sunday School and echo the sentiments expressed by so many--he was most kind, generous, loving, humble, and wonderfully gifted."

This tribute was added by Christopher Geronimo on 24th January 2016

"Since I can remember John was present at St.Marks's Catholic Church, I always appreciated his dedication and musicianship at the church but it wasn't until I joined the choir that I realized just how dedicated John was to St Marks, and it was clear how dedicated he was to the her parishes that he provided service at. Some people might complain at how many practices were required from the music ministery, and yet, John was at every practice without a complaint. He knew that his service was essential to the mass that he was assisting with and I am sure that nobody took his time and dedication for granted. I grew up as an alter boy and always appreciated the talent that he offers back to the church. When I finally joined the choir, it was John who accompanied the first time I sang a responsorial psalm at mass and he had a way to make you want to do your best job possible. He was a true inspiration and in my mind, I thought of him as such a constant at church that when I found out about his padding, it truly devastated me. His talent and his dedication is something that I look up to and wish to honor. He was so generous with his talents and I'll always wish for one more chance to sing alongside him at the piano. I miss you, John. I wish you an eternity of peace and I thank you for everything,"

This tribute was added by Norma Hinrichsen on 24th January 2016

"To our dear John
You will be so sadly missed. I always looked forward to your  greeting when I was there at St.Marks..Rest in Peace."

This tribute was added by Ganna Stepanova on 24th January 2016

"Dear John was my first opera accompanist. Back in the day being a young poor immigrant girl I remember his patience and kindness towards me. He always believed in my abilities even when I doubted myself. Thank you, dear John for being part of my journey. I will always remember you"

This tribute was added by Ayse Underhill on 23rd January 2016

"Also one of the highlights of our trip was to go to visit the graves of hundreds of dead soldiers who died during the First World War  about 175000 young men both Turkish and Australian and New Zealanders. The great and bloody Gallipoli campaigne. They were basically teenagers. It is a huge place, a very sad place indeed. John went around and read practically every gravestone with tears in his eyes."

This tribute was added by Ayse Underhill on 23rd January 2016

"I forgot to tell you today. Yes When we were in Turkey, he loved Bodrum so much, a very cute city at the coast of Aegian Sea, he literally wanted to retire there. I guess it wasn't meant to be. Just the same we went there three years in a row  to give benefit concerts. He loved every minute of it."

This tribute was added by Christopher Still on 23rd January 2016

"I have been a piano student of John's for around 8 years now. He was one of the nicest, most loving, kind and caring people I have ever met. He always put others before himself. He was a great mentor to me, and he has inspired me as well as many others. Rest in peace, John."

This tribute was added by Dorothy Medina on 23rd January 2016

"You and your music will live on forever.  I will miss you at the 9AM Mass.
May your soul rest in peace."

This tribute was added by Kathy Heiskel on 23rd January 2016

"Thank you, John, for all the beautiful music! you were truly a joy to be with in the choir! you were one of the first people I met when I joined the choir over 20 years ago and I am so happy to have known you. I will miss you and your silly quotes and quips. You always made me laugh. Thank you for the gift of knowing you."

This tribute was added by William Blatt on 23rd January 2016

"John was a great man he is why I did the shows because he gave me encouragement . He was not only a gifted musician but he had a great heart and everybody loves him. I know God as plans for him and his talent. He was very blessed I was so glad I got to be his friend and work with him. He will be missed by all of us. All I know that God called him up yonder. I know God will accept him with open arms . God bless you my loving friend and play for the Angels in heaven I will miss you"

This tribute was added by Tony Ferrari on 22nd January 2016

"Dear John,
You devoted your life to serving others.
You cared neither for money nor fame but for kindling that inner flame.
That flame that flickers in the wind and engulfs us from within.
Inspiring us to do more, be more, and achieve more.
And though winds may toss, twirl, and turn us, you always steered me in the right direction.
The direction of my dreams.
You taught me to keep my feet firm on the ground but my sight high up in the sky.
Far away from all the pain and suffering of the world.
A world you filled with happiness and joy.
You lightened up my world and set it all aglow with standing ovations and roaring applause.
And yet to you I ask: Why the sudden pause?
What’s the hidden cause?
Where is the applause?
No time for frustration, sadness, or negation.
It is time for this to come to pass.
To face the shadows of my past.
Alas, you are not dead.
It is not as they have said.
Your music continues to reverberate through the halls and walls of places where you played.
The places where you stayed.
The faces that you met.
Captured on vignette?
Captured by the soul.
Opera houses and concert halls. Churches and cathedrals.
To you there is no equal.
And so rather than one last adieu I give to you an ode.
‘Til we meet again my dear old friend.

This tribute was added by Michael Long@ on 22nd January 2016

"I'm so disappointed that I cannot attend John's sevices - due to my infirmities. Although I had not seen him in nearly a,year, I have valued his friendship and almost unbelievable talent. I  cherish the CD we made together as well as the miriad hours we worked together."

This tribute was added by Nadya Romo on 20th January 2016

"Letter to God ...

Dear God,
My friend John Danke is now with you. I know that he will be playing his wonderful  music in first row for you now. Here things are really very sad without him, he left a place in our hearts that will be only filled if we can deposit the huge love he delivered to each and every one of us.
Dear John, you will never die  in our hearts because you will be here always. Your music will follow us as the wind, as  it did yesterday, as today and as tomorrow, till guided by its beautiful sound we shall meet again.
With all my love and eternal gratitude.

This tribute was added by Elena Zone on 19th January 2016

"John was a truly wonderful person, heartfelt, kind and generous.  He went out of his way to show kindness and courtesy.  John was especially supportive with me as we prepared for my premiere performance with Popera.  This and other acts of kindness are indelibly etched in my memory.      

Although I knew John for only a few months, I came to count on him and very much value his musical suggestions.  I am certain that John is at peace, enhancing the Higher Realms with his inspired music.

John Danke's memory lives on.  

I always enjoyed John's lively spontaneity as a gifted pianist.  Thank you, God, for John."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Steiner on 19th January 2016

"How I will miss my friend. He was so very musically talented yet he never made me feel as though I didn't have a clue - even though I didn't have a clue! Certain songs will forever trigger fond memories of John and I pray he will smile from above at my inaptitude."

This tribute was added by Paul Bahlmann on 19th January 2016

"John was as my friend Martin Kelley one of our band of brothers. I cannot add too much to his memorial other than to say I rarely saw musical talent of that ability in a person. He left a lot of powerful memories during our teenage years and I am so sorry he is gone. I wish I could have talked to him one more time. Don't we all."

This tribute was added by Barbara Madison-Reynolds on 19th January 2016

"The Lord has blessed us many years listening to this wonderful musician. His talent went so beyond what many can do. He always was helpful and supportive to the singers and fellow musicians that he accompanied. I really enjoyed working with him at Mira Costa College.

He also played at my wedding. It was so beautiful. He is such a sweet man with a kind heart!! My prayers go out to all that have known this wonderful man with a god given gift that gave us so much light.

I am thankful that I got to work with John several times at Mira Costa. It was so fun! He will be tremendously missed!"

This tribute was added by Martin Kelley on 18th January 2016

"I was so very warmed at the wonderful outpouring of love that was given to my old friend John Danke on this page.

John and I met back in Junior High School, at that time we were pubescent antagonists as often happens for no apparent reason…we just were.

Then in 1964 the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and within weeks a couple of friends and I were getting a band together. I found out that John played an amplified accordion (of all things) and that he had a really large amplifier. I convinced my friends that we should let him into the band and then we would get to use his amp! Lo and behold we found out that this guy was a genuine musician!! Someone in one of the posts here mentioned that he played the accordion but, as the saying goes, you ain’t heard nothin’ until you heard John playing the lead guitar riff of The Birds’ 8 Miles High on the accordion!! He was truly a wizard!! He had perfect pitch and could listen to a song 2 or 3 times and then give us our parts. I was there when his mom (Ida…God bless her) bought him his first rock and roll organ taking him from vertical keyboards to horizontal. After that any popular song that had an organ part in it we played! We were truly blessed to have John in our band and, once we got to know him, we embraced him as a beloved and respected friend.

I won’t regale you with stories of adolescent tomfoolery because those are best shared with the other of our school friends who “knew him when.” I will say that we never got into any trouble and the times he borrowed his mom’s Olds 98 (woohoo what a nice ride for high schoolers) and cruised up to Hollywood (John always like to go looking at the houses in Beverly Hills) were among the best times of my youth.

He played in another band after ours broke up and played weekends in clubs aboard the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton during the dark days of the Vietnam War.

After high school John went off to Chapman College where he started his serious musical studies (although we did learn early on that if we heard the piano when we went over to his house we would have to wait until it stopped because he wouldn’t answer the door until he was done practicing) and matured into the wonderful musician that you who have posted here already know and love.

We lost touch in later years and, except for one or two times after college, we haven’t spoken. I have looked him up on the internet several times but didn’t really see any scheduled events that I could have attended just to say Hi! I never knew of any family outside of his mother and I am so grateful for all of you who posted here that he was so well thought of, respected, and loved.

John is the first of our…well…you couldn’t really say Band of Brothers in the strictest Shakespearean sense but surely our Band of Teenagers to have gone home to the Lord. Thank you John for all the good times and for the person that you were to all of us. We really appreciate you!!

P.S. Thank you to whoever posted all those wonderful pictures. You can see how he was an absolute blast to have had as a friend when we were young."

This tribute was added by Tracey Bondi-Pear on 18th January 2016

"I pay tribute to my friend John a kindred spirit in music. John was a master at the keyboard, any style and yes even the accordion. It was one of his first instruments. If you ever had to "wing it" in a performance, John was the musician to "wing it with".

There is a whole in our hearts and music world. It feels like an entire Orchestra was taken from us. Who can play like John; read the most difficult music, play by ear, fills for chords, transpose on the fly and accompany at the same time.

John brought me out of vocal hibernation with the help of our dearest loved ones, Georgetta and Uncle Steve. He filed my soul with the most beautiful classical vocal music that I had never accessed before.

John touched so many lives with his musical talent and generous soul."

This tribute was added by Marcia Ephraim on 16th January 2016

"Oh, my dear John. How you will be missed. I've known you only a few short years, and I definitely agree with the original statement that you were the kindest man imaginable.  I will forever miss your musicianship, which was superb.  My only comfort in your passing is that you will be spared the inconvenience of old age.  That would have been torture for you, i.e., having to give up some of the activities you love for physical reasons due to old age.  Au revoir, mon bon ami."

This tribute was added by Joyce Gotfredson on 15th January 2016

"The photo just posted was taken a few months ago at Opera Night when John, like always, had so magnificently accompanied me(Joy-See) on the solo "Because" you come to me with naught save love, in other words, with nothing but love, which is the way John always came to all of his singers generously giving us abundant encouragement and loving support. He was a unique expression of God and I miss his gentle, loving Spirit but still feel him continue to inspire me to let the love in my heart pour out in song  BECAUSE that makes him happy when we sing our hearts out! Alleluia!"

This tribute was added by Elizabeth- Bettie Kimery on 14th January 2016

"I have worked with John for over 30 years and I have had him accompany many of my student recitals. He was known as our personal  orchestra. he was always so positive and very helpful with my students. He will be so!!! missed."

This tribute was added by Mai-Lon Gittelsohn on 14th January 2016

"I first worked with John about forty years ago. I was just beginning to study voice with Beverly Ogdon and John was the accompanist at Mira Costa College. John was always willing to make time for me--new as I was to the use of my voice as an instrument. I don't think I will ever meet such a gentle, kind and generous soul again on this earth. I won't forget you John--you enriched so many lives in your modest way."

This tribute was added by steve vanderwal on 13th January 2016

"I met John in August of 2015; just a very short time ago.  He served as the accompanist for my Vocal Fundamentals class at Mira Costa College.  During our very first practice together, we developed a close bond, sharing our passion for music. He patiently encouraged me to develop and use my singing talents.  He willingly gave of his time and made himself available to practice at any time of the day or night. John was a kind and generous man; a gift to us all.  I will miss his exceptional musical talents that he effortlessly shared.  I will always be a better person for having known John. Rest in peace my dear friend. I will miss you tremendously."

This tribute was added by Marti Neal on 13th January 2016

"Although I only knew John for a short time when he accompanied our vocal class at Mira Costa he stood out as a dear, thoughtful soul who was encouraging to all of us, even those who had no musical background and were barely getting through the class. Within a few days he was drawing applause from all present for his shy yet supportive words and kindnesses.  It is such a shock he is gone so soon, too young, and shall be greatly missed by many.  I hope he is singing and playing in heaven for eternity. My heart is heavy at the news of his passing."

This tribute was added by David Eric Huenneke on 13th January 2016

"How wonderful to read of all the lives touched by my dear friend and colleague, John Danke. Such beautiful words again and again by all his friends ....  "gentle soul, shy, always encouraging, eloquent..."
What more can be said....
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
May you continue to bless and be blessed always.
Rest now in the arms of divine Love, dear one."

This tribute was added by John Klicman on 11th January 2016

"Every Sunday he was there. Playing the piano and organ like no other.

John was kind, thoughtful, humble, and always smiling.

Oh yeah, he could play the piano pretty good too!

I would tell him how great he played and he would brush it off as no big deal.

Last time we spoke was at Christmas morning Mass, and he was a little late, which was very unusual. I teased him about it, and he smiled and said he was recovering from the 9 day Missa de Gallo masses which began at 4:30am, leading up to Christmas.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace, Amen.

(St Mark's parishioner)"

This tribute was added by Pamela Scott on 11th January 2016

"Dearest John, you are the most precious man I have ever known.  You are the most loving and thoughtful, the best friend and best accompaniest I have ever had.   Singing with you playing for me gave me courage, inspiration and you always made me sound great even on my off days.  I am still in awe of the fact that you could transpose my music at sight into another key so I could hit the high notes when my voice was struggling.  

Our Christian Science branch church in Poway/RB will miss your wonderful music at our Wednesday night services.  You always played with great joy and helped us on the hymns we didn't know very well by playing the melody really loud.  Our church members will miss your smiles and hugs.   You are a great musician and will be missed by many.  

Your gift was your great compassion for giving and you gave to everyone.  The world will be a sadder place because of your absence.  God bless you my dear friend.  

One of my fondest memories was when you came to our house for Christmas dinner and then played Christmas Carols so we could all sing.  You made that day special for us all.  

I am so grateful I hugged you and wished you a Happy New Year after our Wednesday night service Dec 30th.  You have not died my friend but have merely passed into the next experience and have awakened to know a world more bright."

This tribute was added by emily o on 11th January 2016

"I'll never forget the first time I heard John play the organ at St. Elizabeth Seton.   Wow-  the sound he produced out of that instrument was just amazing.    What a talent!     May he join the heavenly choir with the angels and St. Cecilia."

This tribute was added by Pauline Kroeker on 11th January 2016

"I am speechless. On Christmas morning I was going to walk over and commend John on his talent of playing the organ.  I just love to listen to organ music.  Now I am sorry that I did not stop for a moment and speak with John.  May he rest in peace.  (St. Mark's parishioner)"

This tribute was added by Shirley Pearson on 11th January 2016

"What a shock to learn God had called John home to accompany the Heavenly angels.  He was my musical rock; encouraging, nudging, cajoling me to try new arias, extending my knowledge and appreciation of the classics.  He was the embodiment of selflessness and an example to all of us in his kindness and generosity of spirit.  I love you my friend, my confidante.  You are forever in my heart."

This tribute was added by Irene Silberman on 10th January 2016

"John will never be forgotten not only by me but by everyone that he has touched in his life.  He was so special, one of a kind.  He will be missed by all."

This tribute was added by Michele Reioux on 10th January 2016

"When I think of John, I think of kindness and generosity.  I first met John at Pandeli's singing classes in 2002.  Pandeli would help the most timid singers like me develop confidence, and I thought at first that John was only the accompanist.  However, I soon came to realize that John was interested in helping us singers as well.  Though extremely talented, he was most unassuming about himself and instead focused on the benefit of others.  I continued to work with him in the Pacific Beach Soirees.  He was always encouraging me, and suggesting music that was good for my voice.  He never rushed me, but generously gave of his time and talent.  He also had a great respect for the liturgy and music that would glorify God.

I will always treasure our friendship, John.  I am grateful to God for having known you.  May the angels carry you into Paradise, accompanied by beautiful music.  Rest in peace, dear friend."

This tribute was added by Beth Jurecki on 10th January 2016

"John was a dear soul. He is missed so much by us all. The last time I was with him was on Dec 26th at St. Elizabeth Seaton Catholic Church. He was playing the organ but the sound coming out were bells. Now when I think of him, it'll be in Heaven playing the with the Angels."

This tribute was added by Joanne Schenck on 10th January 2016

"Rest in God, John. i always appreciated John's sweet and generous soul. as a musician, we was a wonder to work with, and very kind, i think of our talks in the church parking lot: poetry, music and spirituality. I will miss you and St Elizabeth will miss

This tribute was added by Tom Torgison on 9th January 2016

"Go in Peace, John.  You were an inspiration to our musical and religious community.  Your absence will be felt by all those who knew and worked with you  How many parish choirs were inspired by your talents?!  How many singers were shaped by your accompaniment?!
How long before we overcome our grief, and accept your Glorious passing?"

This tribute was added by Janet Bradbury on 9th January 2016

"My story with John sounds like so many others that I have read about on this memorial site. I only worked with John for about 6 months, although I soon felt like he was my old friend.  I have been a singer most of my life, but had shut the door on some of my aspirations, thinking it was too late or that I did not have sufficient talent. John encouraged me to sing the songs I love to sing, and to re-learn to believe in myself as a singer. He said, “We will make you a legend in your own time!” (I would counter with, “Just so I’m not like Florence Foster Jenkins, who rented out Carnegie Hall and gave a concert even though she had not mastered pitch and rhythm as we know it.) However, when Georgetta and John worked together with me, the high notes began to ring and resound in a new and beautiful way. John loved that I could sing in Russian and encouraged me to pursue Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky- Korsakov, etc., and he gave me numerous copies of songs from his collection. He also enabled me to re-awaken French, German and Italian Art Songs and Opera Arias that I had abandoned.

John was like my fairy godmother, waving a wand and saying “You can sing beautiful music--all those songs you dreamed of performing and more.” He was so enthusiastic, and continually presented me with repertoire that he knew we would work on and achieve. What a gift to me that John the great piano maestro would believe in me like that! The Opera Soirees at the Pacific Beach Women’s Club were such a great opportunity for me to try out singing music that I loved. I had planned on many years of work with John, re-launching myself as a singer. However, I am now trying to re-frame this as I know he would wish for me to do, to continue singing beautiful music even though John is no longer Earthside.

Now I often imagine John over my shoulder, reminding me to: continue learning repertoire, read the music correctly, make the songs better, and believe in myself and my ability to do it, even if I have to find another pianist.  

I also hear John laughing uproariously at the irony and the crazy dance of life in which we find ourselves. I hear his commentaries on politics and the news. I sense his wisdom and subtle insights. I appreciate his common sense and down to earth way of figuring out how to deal with challenges.

Let us pray to honor the beautiful soul that he was and to soothe the grief that so many, including me, are feeling now. Shout praises into the universe that such a beautiful man has touched us all, and that the Love that so many felt towards him may be transformed into doing Good, having a good laugh, and making beautiful music with the time that we have left on this Earth. I am reminded of Charlie Brown saying, “We’re all going to die.” Snoopy counters with “Yes, but there are a lot of days when we’re not going to die.” With the days that we’re not going to die, let us make more and greater beautiful music, as John did."

This tribute was added by Judy Hauth on 9th January 2016

"John was a special and helpful person to me.  I played piano for the St. Patricks for about 15 years.  John always helped me with music that I had difficulty playing. He would come over and teach me much about the song dynamics in spite of being so busy.  .  Yes, he was a very gentle soul"

This tribute was added by Guadalupe Sanders on 9th January 2016

"I was in the Spanish choir and John was the pianist ,he always was kinde,I will miss hem!"

This tribute was added by Sylvia Verdín de Rivas on 7th January 2016

"I met John at Saint Patricks Church in Carlsbad ... My husband and I asked  John if he could come and teach the boy show to play the piano..  He came to our home every week for about 2 years...
He became part of the family... ❤️ We were given the opportunity to perform as a family in the Saturday Spanish choir and
John was kind enough to help us out.❤️
I am glad my son and I got to see him on
Christmas Day and gave him a hug and he asked when I was going to return to the church choir and I said very soon John...
The Verdin Rivas Family
Thanks you John Danke for everything you did for us..❤️
God bless you John.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️"

This tribute was added by lana schaffer on 7th January 2016

"John was there from the beginning of my singing 5 years ago.   I wanted to sing to express myself but couldn’t produce any sound nor was it pleasing to the ear.  John said that he knew from the beginning that I would be able to sing as I do today, while others had not much good to say.  He never liked to hear when I criticized my singing and would always chew me out when I said those things.  It was only a few months ago that my singing turned wonderful and more than I could have imagined.  Many times John expressed that he loved the sounds I could produce and how well I sang.
John was a gentle human being who gave inspiration and music to all.  He was always excited to be given the lemons from my tree and the root vegetables that reminded him of his childhood.   He would offer to play for any plan that I had for myself or the soiree.  He never spoke unkindly about anyone.
What John did for my singing was no less or more than he did for all who were seriously learning to sing.  I know that he is irreplaceable and I think that he was taken from us too soon.  He is definitely an unforgettable human being and my heart hurts that I will not see him again playing piano in my house."

This tribute was added by Don Hall on 7th January 2016

"Thank you John, my #1 supporter since I moved to San Diego (1988).

You are one of a kind and the world owes you so much!



This tribute was added by Liz Keiller on 7th January 2016

"I had told my husband a long time ago that John was my favorite person in the world.  I was very happy with the way my life was going, because I planned to continue studying and performing with John for as long as my voice lasted.  Of course life goes on, and of course I will keep singing, but at this point it seems that these few years with John may have been the peak.  When I started singing at the soirees I knew very few arias, and through the years with John I was amazed that he had me learn and perform so many beautiful arias that I never would have dreamed I was capable of.  All of us who knew him and worked with him were truly blessed."

This tribute was added by Sascha La Russo on 7th January 2016

"I met John when I first started singing 21 years ago with Tricia Strauss. We worked together on almost every Aria,Recital and Audition! I am at a loss for words...I loved him very much and always appreciated how much time he made for me to rehearse. He will be greatly missed in my world!!!
John, thank you for your dedication to MUSIC and the ARTS! See you in heaven my sweet friend."

This tribute was added by Yvette McCue Lyons on 7th January 2016

"It is with a heavy heart and great sadness I write this note.  John and I have worked together for almost 20 years in different venues. Over the past 3 years we worked closely each week.  He's always believed in me, even when I could not.  John was so supportive and kind, yet he stretched my boundaries, both musically and personally in order to help me become greater than I could imagined.  I will miss you so much John.  Thank you for your kindness and dedication, and for keeping me organized and on track.  Your leaving has left a huge whole in my heart, I will miss you dearly."

This tribute was added by Margo Scarpelli on 7th January 2016

"What a loss to the music community.  Thank you, John, for playing for my concerts.  We always had such fun working together, and I will miss you terribly at my upcoming one.  Your love for music (I always said you were a singer at heart!) and all who worked with you will never be forgotten. I will miss you, my friend."

This tribute was added by Marilyn Anderson on 7th January 2016

"I had pretty much retired from singing when I met John. I decided to work with him on a weekly basis just "for the heck of it". Then as only John could do, he pushed me to learn new and often challenging music and insisted I perform again. He was a kind, encouraging man and a very supportive accompanist. Such a talent.I am so sad he is gone."

This tribute was added by Joe Stanford on 7th January 2016

"I have known John for years.  In the mid 1990s he played for a full voice recital I gave as a part of my sabbatical leave.  We presented the recital twice in California and traveled to Texas where we performed at two universities.  His accompaniment was brilliant, so supportive and sensitive.  We performed Brahms Four Serious Songs and that was one of the most important events in my musical life.  To have shared the intimacy of those songs with him was so wonderful that I will never forget.  I will miss John.  John was a dear, wonderful soul who enriched our lives as musician and friend.  Rest in peace dear John!"

This tribute was added by Anthea Reilly on 7th January 2016

"In the late 1990's I took group voice lessons from Pandeli Lazardi on Kettner Blvd.  That was when I first came across the incomparable John Danke.  His piano accompaniments always, always enhanced the efforts of each of us who had to sing a solo in front of one another.  John also gave me many songs to learn and sometimes he gave me some extra tuition also.  
My late husband and I went to hear Georgetta and another lady singing somewhere north of San Diego.  John accompanied them and even though my husband was very hard of hearing, he was able to discern what a fine pianist John was.  It was amazing to me that Dunham actually could appreciate John's fine playing, as I did not think he would be able to hear him well.  What a marvelous evening that was.
I left the U.S. to return to my native land of England just over two years ago and was deeply saddened by the news of John's passing.  He enriched my life; as he did for countless others.  May he be with the angels in Heaven, accompanying all on the most exquisite piano.  I count myself most privileged to have known this enormously kind and generous man."

This tribute was added by Shawn Taylor on 7th January 2016

"I have known John for a short 3 years.  He was an inspiration on so many levels.  He was so patient with everyone he worked with. He made us laugh and was so professional to work with.  Performing with him at the keys was always a pleasure.  He made each event so much more interesting and unique as he so eloquently and artistically created such beauty on the piano."

This tribute was added by Stephen Chan on 6th January 2016

"There are no words to describe the loss of our dear dear friend.  We were so blessed to have him alongside with most of our concerts.  Two months before John's passing, our beloved tenor friend, Nolyn Cabahug also went home to be with the Lord. Carol Anne and I can only feel and cherish the memory of their presence when we sing.  Life continues on without them but it is not the with all the people we love in our lives.  
John is the most patient,self sacrificing,encouraging, giving  and kind man we have ever met.  As his doctor, he would not spend a penny more on himself unless it was necessary.  He would rather save it to help someone else.  That's the kind of man he is and we are so blessed to have known him and shared many years of making wonderful music with him.  It feels so surreal at the moment and we still have difficulty accepting that he is no longer with us.  However, we claim the promise of the Lord, that we will meet John again !
We love you, John!  Thank you for your life and for sharing it with us!"

This tribute was added by Therese Holladay on 6th January 2016

"John is watching over all of us as we struggle through trills and runs without him physically here to guide our way. If we believe... as he believed in all of us, we will hear his patient voice and his fingers on the keys giving the lead-in, with emphasis on the rhythm and the tonality.

What a joy to have worked alongside him for over 20 years as he played for funerals and weddings that I sang almost every week during that time. When John was playing a funeral at noon, he probably had given three lessons beforehand and was going on to another funeral at 2 p.m. but you could count on him to slide onto the organ bench right in time for the prelude. Sometimes John would tell me that he was driving right through Vista and he'd come up and run a couple pieces at the house. Always making sure that you were prepared for next weekend's concerts.
Remembering many wonderful rehearsals, weddings, funerals, fabulous concerts and recitals, cabarets, opera scenes, intimate soirees at Tracey's and others in Carlsbad & San Diego, classes and concerts at Small Opera Company with Pandeli years ago, John and I sitting down together as we planned the very first concert of our North County Opera Soiree company with "Three Tenors and A Baritone" then the first (albeit rather "long") Liederabend that North County had ever seen or heard!

Thank you John for wonderful memories, for your patience and great teaching, for encouraging me to return to opera, for introducing me to so many incredible people whom I now call my friends. God called you early. Please watch over us as we continue to make music here on earth. You are loved and remain forever in our hearts."

This tribute was added by justine lee on 6th January 2016

"How shocking was to hear John's passing. I am still in tears when I think about John. How blessed I was that God sent him to help me learn the most beautiful songs. Past 7 years I sang with John's accompaniment and weekly lesson from him, he might have introduced hundreds of songs what he thought most beautiful. How lucky I recorded 4 CD's with his accompaniment, and we were working for the next CD to be recorded in Feb. John gave me a bible verse that saved him from polio at childhood, and I too was saved from the same bible verse when I was sick in 2011. I feel completely lost with him passing, but try to think that God needed him in heaven because he was an angel on earth. I will forever thank John for his love, kindness, and for his life of music."

This tribute was added by Bryne Griffy on 5th January 2016

"I had the tremendous blessing of meeting John 18 years ago. He was truly kind, generous and always supportive to everyone with whom he worked.  I feel great gratitude for having known him and great sorrow at his passing."

This tribute was added by Michael Altshuler on 5th January 2016

"It must have been twenty years ago when I first met John, while I was living in Encinitas, while he was providing accompaniment for a performance class at Mira Costa College in Cardiff.

His sense of humor, Love of music, and most of all his Sharing of music were unmatched. He never stopped working, was too hard on himself, should have said No a thousand times when he didn't, and yet as we all know he Loved every minute of it... because Service was in his blood and drove him more than any other desire.

In a way it's just like John to leave us in the way that he did... without drawing attention to himself, without being a burden to anyone, and with that dramatic touch he'd pull out of a hat just when you thought you knew what was next.

I still have pages and pages of music he copied and gave to me, representing an entire world of music I'd have never known of. "This is beautiful, you'll love it."  "Learn this part, and then we can play together with such-and-such a singer."  "I found a transcription for cello of that piano piece you like".

Anyone who ever worked with John knows the scenario... "I'm busy for the next eight days, and then on that Tuesday I have a rehearsal in Point Loma at 10am, a funeral in Carlsbad at noon, a performance class in Cardiff at 2:30, can meet with you from 2:45 to 3:30, then have a church service at 4:00 in San Marcos, ..."
All from memory, weeks out.

As aptly said, John is irreplaceable.  A one of a kind. He lifted and sustained the musical endeavors, professional or not, of everyone he touched.

This much I know for sure... It will take a long time for John to process the enormous amount of good energy he is due upon crossing to the other side, and he is glowing and will continue to glow for an eternity upon seeing from his new perspective the volumes of hope and joy and encouragement he brought to countless others.

John is a bright spark in the life of everyone lucky enough to have known him, and we can all just be grateful for the gifts which he so generously bestowed."

This tribute was added by Anthony Whitson-Martini on 5th January 2016

"John and I had collaborated over four full solo recitals along with many miscellaneous nights of meeting to sing through new repertoire. We also had many fun services at St, Elizabeth Seton when he basically would throw me, the cantor, up to sing whenever I needed to when I just began learning how to. Thank God for this beautiful, thoughtful man who devoted his life to music"

This tribute was added by Anastasia Marks on 5th January 2016

"I knew and sang with John many times over the past 5 or so years and worked with him several times this Fall at his new place in Oceanside.  
John was always so kind and generous.  He was ever supportive and  complementary about my singing and always had suggestions for new rep for me to look at.  

John never had anything but the kindest words about anyone he spoke of.  He was just a sweetheart- a rare, gentle soul.  I really have never known anyone quite like him.  He will be greatly missed."

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