Members of the wider TT media were in mourning yesterday with the passing of Deborah John, Express publications editor - News and Features.
According to her brother Tony Ansou John, Deborah passed away peacefully on Wednesday night at 11 pm, after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 61 years old.
Educated at St Francois Girls Secondary, Carimac and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Deborah pursued a career in journalism and remained in the field for approximately four decades.
However, very early last year, Deborah, daughter of the late veteran journalist George John, began treatment for cancer. She was already at the stage-four level but she fearlessly fought it and lived her life as comfortably as she could.
But last Saturday at 11.40 am in her last posting on Facebook she said: “Basil breds, that friend request..no...stay in the bush.”
It was the first sign of what culminated on Wednesday night.
Deborah’s only child, Nadia, announced her passing in a Facebook post early yesterday morning and thanked everyone who supported the family during their difficult time. On learning of John’s death, people in and out of the industry only had favourable comments to make about her, such was her great personality. Express editor-in-chief Omatie Lyder said their editorial staff was shaken and deeply saddened by the news of Deborah’s passing. Lyder said: “Deborah was an experienced editor, exhibited expert knowledge on pan, calypso and the arts and a mentor and friend to many journalists. Her death is a great loss to the Express and the media fraternity.”
One of Deborah’s closest friends Leroy Clarke, master artist and poet, told Newsday: “It mash me up. She tried hard. She had a hard act to follow in her father’s footsteps.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA) also extended its condolences to the family of the long-standing journalist.
A release from the TTPBA said, “Ms John may have got her love for journalism from her father, the late George John, who was recognised, posthumously, for his contribution to the media industry.
“The TTPBA is certain that Deborah John will be sorely missed by members of the media and by her colleagues at the Express newspaper. And to them, we also extend our heartfelt condolences.”
Pan Trinbago also issued a release that stated, “It is with deep regret that our organisation learnt about the passing of Ms Deborah John, one of your esteemed editors.
“Ms John’s profound personality is memorable, she was also an avid pan music lover and was always seen at our concerts and competitions. Rest assured her presence will be missed. She was hard working and skilful and her work will go a long way to benefit future generations.” Pan Trinbago expressed its deepest sympathy to the John family, her extended Express family and the media. Several other high-profile people sent condolences to the John family including musicians, artistes, and other members of the media. Deborah leaves to mourn her daughter Nadia, brothers Anthony and Gregory, sisters in law Paula and Lydia, family and friends. Funeral arrangements are still being finalised.