John Gittins died 6/24/2000. Born in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, he lived most of his life in Chicago and Houston
before moving to Acapulco in 1994.
I first met John in about 1979. He spent many years working with
his good friend, James Allen, of James Allen, Inc., a manufacturer
of essences, candles, botanical products, gift items, etc.
Together, they built this business from the ground up, starting
with a one-bedroom apartment that they used to dry flowers and
make various items from them, including their biggest seller,
Early on, they got the flowers, mostly roses, from the dumpsters
of florists who had to throw them out because they'd outlived
I was peripherally involved, helping James with programming on
an Adam computer using a color TV as a monitor, with tape only,
no hard disk. We then moved to the IBM PC platform, and I wrote
a lot of code in dBase and Clipper to help out.
Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, John had worked for
the Japanese Consulate in Chicago for 12 years, and spent much
of his life engaged in travel and literary pursuits. His voice
was very similar to Dick Cavett's.
Some of his passions included a travel, a great taste for fine
restaurants, witty intelligent people, and a great appetite for
I can't count the number of brunches, lunches, and dinners we
spent together. We traveled to Acapulco together a few times,
and I last visited him in Acapulco in April of 2000. At that time
he was fit, tan, healthy and very happy with his genteel lifestyle.
The house that he'd bought was just lovely, with a pool, and the
back garden was set atop high cliffs over Acapulco bay. The view
All his favorite art objects he'd acquired over the years was
there, along with many book cases holding his literary treasures.
The house was as he was -- fastidious, precise, civilized.
He was also a member of our book club (founded in 1989) for a
couple of years, and hosted us a couple of times at two of his
favorite Italian restaurants.
He always had something new and insightful
to bring to the discussions, and was admired for his zest for
life, and incisive, sometimes biting wit.