Tribute by Kim Norsworthy Kondak
John, born in 1936, was diagnosed with Fabry's disease in 1969 when my mother was pregnant with me. The doctors told her to abort the pregnancy because they thought he would die before I was 2. He and his brother Richard (who passed of a stroke when he was 34) were born with the disease, although his mother died during childbirth and his father died young so there's little family history to recall. The picture below is my father with me. He lived until I was 19; he was 52. He left behind a wife, 3 children and a step mother who adored him. He had classic Fabry's so his life was one of many hospital stays, kidney transplant, dialysis, strokes, pacemakers, brittle bones, depression and so many other health crises. But his life was also full of family, friends, a career in human resources at a company that didn't toss him aside (Raytheon) and religion. He had graduated from Brown University where he met my mother and was determined not to let his pain stop him from achieving what he wanted. He was motivated by love and driven to provide for my family like any man. He never met my husband or children but his memory lives on in me like it was yesterday.