Goodbye, John

Today, along with many other friends and colleagues, and members of his family I attended (via Zoom) the funeral of my thesis supervisor Professor John D Barrow who passed away on September 26th. This was my first experience of a funeral by Zoom and it felt very strange sitting in my office watching the proceedings. I had a quick look at the list of participants and saw many names I recognized. I suspect many of them were taking a short break from work too. The list was long, so it was a good turnout, virtually speaking. At least some of the closest family members were able to be there, at Westminster College in Cambridge, to pay tribute. The Astronomy Royal, Lord Rees, was also present and he gave a characteristically eloquent eulogy.

Not being of the Christian faith I didn’t participate in the prayers, but as the coffin was carried out at the end for the committal I found myself saying out loud “Goodbye, John”. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank John’s family, especially Elizabeth, for giving me this chance to say goodbye.

UPDATE: An obituary of John, written by Michael Rown-Robinson, is now available online on the Guardian website.



5 Responses to “Goodbye, John”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    ” I attended (via Zoom) the funeral of my thesis supervisor Professor John D Barrow”

    Was the service only for those invited?

    As my parents (now both dead, my mother already in 1991, my father this summer) were (almost) the youngest in their families and I was born when they were relatively old (even though they had been married a while and I am the first child), almost all of my aunts and uncles have died, though since many were long-lived, many of them not that long ago. The latest was the wife of one of my mother’s brothers. Her funeral is publicly available from the website of the funeral home.

    • telescoper Says:

      Elizabeth sent me a link to the Zoom meeting. A lot of people received it but I think access was restricted to those who received the invitation.

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    I’ve ‘attended’ via Zoom a wedding to which I was originally invited. It is rather weird, especially when you can have a cup of coffee (or something stronger) at hand. Handy when the cricket is on though.

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