I was not shocked when I read that John Loftus had died. He battled glioblastoma for 6 years, longer than anyone I know of.
John was a journalist with the Northeast Times, and I met him when I began covering local news for the Frankford Gazette in 2010. John was everywhere in Frankford. He attended the civic meetings, police meetings and any other community meeting or event where news might be found.
We first spoke at one civic meeting where he came in after I was seated, and he came over and sat down next to me and said, “Is this the reporters’ area”. I was flattered by the reference since at that point I was hardly a reporter and was still trying to figure out how to do that job. After that, we would often sit together. I would watch him do his job and try to learn from him.
He was always on the watch for the story behind the story and many times would leave a meeting with leads on stories that I completely ignored.
John’s interest in Frankford did not end as a journalist. One Saturday in 2012 I met him at a community clean up, walking up Meadow Street with a broom. He was just there cleaning up like everyone else. I came back an hour later and he was in a vacant lot clearing it for a community garden. John was a gardener, and he knew what had to be done. He returned to that garden several times to follow how it was growing. For sure, a story came out of that experience but I’ve never met another reporter with in Frankford with a broom.
I was at a meeting in 2015 that John attended when he mentioned that he wasn’t feeling right. I don’t remember how he described it, but it was the last time he was able to cover a Frankford meeting. Not long after I heard he had had surgery for a tumor on the brain.
I talked to him last after his surgery when he was able, and he was feeling better. His words came with some effort, but we talked. I wish I had told him how his work ethic of getting the facts straight and being fair to all parties steered me on the right path.
John left a legacy of family, friends, relationships and the written word. Go in peace John, congratulations on a job well done.
Follow this link to his official obituary in the Northeast Times.