It is with great sadness that I have to tell you all that my good friend, “Johnny Guitar”, died on Wednesday, August 3rd, aged 84, at the Residencia Cas Serres, our home for a few years now. As some of you will know, Johnny came to Ibiza about 35 years ago and, because of his musical talents, his sense of fun, his storytelling, his sense of humour and the fact that he often wore a Guardia Civil uniform, he soon became one of the island’s larger-than-life and much loved REAL characters!
His interment was last Wednesday, August 10th, a whole week after his death, any earlier being out of the question because of the long fiesta weekend being celebrated in Ibiza – Johnny would have had a good laugh at that! Several of his good friends were away on holiday and so, sadly, were unable to come to his “send-off”, but quite a few of us gathered at midday at his niche, right at the top of the New Cemetery in Ibiza, to remember, and give thanks for, his colourful life. The short service was conducted by the Intercontinental Church Society’s “tourist chaplain”, Rev.Canon Herrick Daniel, since the resident Anglican chaplain, Peter, was also off the island at the time. We sang The Lord’s My Shepherd, with Sarah on flute, there was a Bible reading and a time of prayer, Sue Marí played us part of a recording of Johnny on his guitar and harmonica, several anecdotes about Johnny were shared and a couple of tributes were read out….all just before the heavens opened!
Thank you all for your support at this difficult time and for your kind messages of condolence. I’ll say goodbye now and leave you with the tributes to Johnny:
From Bob (the ex-vicar) & Clare Short:
Johnny was one of the real Ibiza characters that you never forget. I think we first met him and Nancy when Julia either brought them to church one Sunday or maybe at an Age Concern thing. They used to come to “Tea and Chat” at Can Bagot and he always enjoyed Solveig’s crab sandwiches and sometimes he would tell us stories about his life.
We heard how he grew up in Liverpool in the war. One day he was sent by his parents to buy something at the local corner shop/grocers. While out, the air-raid sirens went off and bombs started coming down. When he went back home, it had vanished, along with his parents – he never saw them again! He was just a teenage boy.
He then joined the army and I believe he later went to Korea during the Korean war. He was a mercenary for several years in different places and eventually came to Spain, where he donned his famous Guardia Civil hat and uniform!
He was a wonderful bloke and I remember one day when he broke into song with his amazing voice, which had such a clear resonance even at his age! His voice and music were a God-given gift, and we hope and pray that in his latter years he was able to find peace with God in his heart, as he was able to think through his remarkable life.
From Julia Moore:
Johnny was a very caring, fun-loving, simple soul, all goodness….and who, I don’t know how, knew His heavenly Father and who trusted Him in the little things. He had a lovely, very innocent faith and always referred to God as his Papa. I’m just so thankful to God that Johnny now has a room in our Father’s heavenly mansion, a room specially prepared for him by his Papa, whose hand was guarding and caring for him, even in the not so good times. It was a privilege to have known him. I have lost a very special friend.