There comes a time when you think about your own mortality and it’s significance or insignificance in the grand scheme of this wondrous world we live in. I remember the mind numbing, soul crushing power of losing my Mother Sonya in 2008. In my mind she was an incomparable force of both love and wisdom. I recently had a brush with the dark side of Father Time and his proverbial ticking clock and it got me thinking about my life. In particular, it made me think about how all of our lives are shaped and molded not by our own thoughts and actions alone but by the many influential beings that pass through our sphere.


We at the Ohio Pen Show family would be sorely remiss if we did not acknowledge the passing of such an influential being.


Dick Johnson passed away May 16 2018. Dick was a stalwart. A legend. He was also a kind, hardworking everyman. I remember hearing stories about Dick keeping pens in 55 gallon drums for storage which is a far cry from today’s seemingly petite leather folios or plastic lined trays.

In the early days Dad and I would often run into Dick at the Washington Court House, Ohio antique show. Crisp, foggy mornings on a small Ohio town square in the middle of summer gave way to booth after booth of the most unimaginable “various and sundry” . Dick would come by early, already having filled up some heavily slung satchel full of pens. In those days I remember him as spry, gently spoken but with a sharp wit and strong opinion of what was good and what was crap. Dad and Dick would exchange vivid stories of pens recently found. Inevitably Dick would buy whatever we had recently picked up. We rarely saw Dick outside of that setting and those that were close to him could at times find themselves at arms length. He was not being “stand-offish” He was just being “busy” . Dick was hardworking and knowledgeable about a lot of stuff.

Dick was a veteran whose service to our country deserves its own recognition. Dick loved his wife to no end and was crushed by her passing a few years back. A lot of these details of “the man” I thought I knew only came to light in recent years and only served as addition to the legend. I was shocked to find out of his passing in such late fashion this week. The news came from a friend who he regularly spoke with. He had only just found out.

I was immediately reminded that above all else it’s never just about pens. We’ve all got lives we lead and things we “have to do” and get done. We all grow older by the day. We are losing pen friends every year and as every show passes by we too pass by. Let’s not forget that we all are shaped and formed by individuals, not things. We are not defined by what we have, but how we achieved it. We are not measured by what we have done but how we have done it. Reach out. Spend an extra five, ten or thirty minutes talking to a pen friend over a beer, glass of wine or a bottle of coke. Spend your time with your pen friends wisely and with heart. We all are not long for this earthly life but we can learn from someone like Dick. When given the opportunity; get up early, bust your butt and laugh at yourself once in a while.

Rest In Peace Dick. You will be missed and are appreciated.


Ben Mawhorter