John Thomas Banta had over 200 ties.
Most were bold, loud, occasionally whimsical and always hard-to-miss.
In short, they were very much like him. He dressed for occasions, often wearing his wildly interesting ties. And he lit up the room with his presence. He was a big man and could be intimidating at first… but only for a few moments. His generous warmth won over even his detractors. Everyone liked him.
I never met the man, but from what I know about him from a wonderful letter from his daughter, I would have liked him. A lot.
He was proud and giving, fair and honest, and deeply loved being someone who was thought of as a helper.
He went in to the hospital for a simple knee surgery, and didn’t leave. His body formed a clot, and it took this great man down.
One week later, a blood clot nearly took me down… but I did come back.
Yesterday I received a beautiful note from his daughter and a beautiful tie from his collection. It is bold, colorful and unapologetically wild. Susan Barta has sent his collection of ties to people who she thinks her dad would have wanted to have them.
I am on that list. And I received this tie.
And I will wear it with pride, sir.
I will indeed wear it with pride.