When the announcement that John Ritter
had died as a result of a sudden coronary attack was aired over WETS Public Radio at six this morning, I plumped down on the bed in disbelief.It had been years since I had mentioned John Ritter's name to anyone or the fact that we went to Hollywood High at the same time.However, on Wednesday evening while dining with several friends, the conversation somehow prompted three of us to share well-known individuals with whom we went to school.One friend of mine went to school with Jimmy Buffet.Another friend went to school with Jim Morrison.I shared one brief but memorable year with John Ritter
was a senior and I was a freshman.
...John explained the process and that becoming a class senator would be by election.He
invited me to observe the process and the actions decided upon by the student body.Although we didn't use words like "coach" or "mentor" in those days at that age, that is what John Ritter was to me.His
sensitivity touched an impressionable tenth grader.
Perhaps it sounds strange to learn John Ritter
was involved in the legislative process of the school rather than the drama department.Quite frankly, his
father, Tex Ritter, did not want his
sons in the entertainment business, or so John
father knew all to well the pitfalls of the industry and that he
sons to have something more solid upon which to build their lives. John
obviously pursued theater after high school and many of us came to know him better through his
show "Three's Company
I never saw John
left after high school, but the very basics of leadership he
imparted to me nearly 40 years ago are a cornerstone in the foundation of the leadership skills that have developed in me since.