October 3, 1945 — March 1, 2016.
Mr. Araneta belongs to Ateneo Grade School Class 1958, High School Class 1962 and College Class 1966. He once told me that members of our college class is on a steady decline. Many have passed away since he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and he wanted to see the remainder come our Golden Anniversary on December this year.
That’s a dream that will never materialize. He joined the ranks of our dear departed classmates last March 1, 2016.
Several years ago, John had a delicate open heart surgery. He mentioned to me that certain valves in his heart had to be repaired or replaced. He survived the operation until late February when he suffered a severe stroke which brought him to the ICU of Mt. Kurringai Hospital in Hornsby NSW. He never regained consciousness until the final hour when he drew his last breath.
Funeral services that included a requiem mass were held on March 9 at Asquith Catholic Church. His only child Grant Araneta was present. Many of our former classmates from Ateneo de Manila University sent messages of sympathy through this writer.
John loved books. His entire house in Asquith New South Wales was a living library. From the main entrance to the reception area, to the lounge, to the dining room and the kitchen, one would see books everywhere. Even his bedroom was filled with books. Any visitor would encounter difficulty walking inside the house without stepping into a book. I once loaned him a copy of the Ateneo de Manila Alumni Directory which contained the name of Dr. Jose Rizal but I never got it back. The directory got buried somewhere in his not-so-organized library. But he continued buying books. He has a treasure trove of books — from novels to fiction and documentaries; from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Comedia, to Søren Kierkegaard‘s philosophy, to Primitivo Henares’ Conjugal Dictatorship — he had them all! I have no doubt his library is worth a fortune. The books were donated to charity.
John has flown to a better place and is undoubtedly in the company of his Creator. He has died but will remain alive in the hearts of those whose lives he has touched.