In Gratitude for the Life of John P. French †
Member of the Board of Directors of Arts Empowering Life Foundation
January 19, 1930 — Juanuary 1, 2018
John was born in Kansas City, MO on January 19, 1930. He received his BA degree in journalism from Washington & Lee University in 1950. As a business consultant and advisor, Mr. French spent his career across many fields. He was President and CEO of Avocational Guidance, Inc., of Computer Research, Inc., of Newsworthy Names, and of United National Life Insurance Co. He served on the directorship of Hope Community Centers, Samaritan Counseling Centers, Council of National Policy, and Episcopalians United for Revelation, Renewal, and Reformation. He served for twenty years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He concluded his illustrious professional career serving as well on the board of directors of numerous organizations: Luce Press Clippings, Dope Stop, Community of Living Water, Paraclete Press, Bayside Community Mortgage Company, Community of Jesus, Arts Empowering Life Foundation, and Orleans Church Building Foundation.
A life-long believer in the power of the arts to change lives, John spread awareness of the Arts Empowering Life ensembles wherever he went. His support revealed itself in various ways, from aiding the foundation with his creative business skills, to traveling with the band to South Africa (cleaning marching shoes and doing laundry at age 81!), to attending performances and being present for Mount Tabor’s opening of the Villa Via Sacra in Barga, Italy. Above all, he had a great love for music and was a true ambassador for the arts. The last performance he attended was Ralph Vaughan William’s opera, The Pilgrim’s Progress, at the Church of the Transfiguration in November of 2017. John French continued to give freely of his gifts and passions to Arts Empowering Life through his final years until his passing on January 1, 2018.
For all of us who knew John, we are very grateful for John’s life, legacy, and for his fabulous sense of humor. His parting words for us was a song he would always sing:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative,
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between…”