Remembering John Cooney
On May 4th John Cooney passed away. John was the leader of the technical team at Orbit. He died at the age of 34 of cancer.
John made a profound impact on us individually and as a company. It has taken us time to find the words to express what a great man John was and what he meant to us.
He was the smartest of us all. No one would disagree. Many times we watched his powerful mind slice through problems, then calmly explain the answer. His talent was limited by nothing. He was creative, a writer, and perhaps the most well read man I knew.
But what we remember about John is how much he cared. Yes, John cared about visitors, in usability on web design projects. John also cared about the experience of visitors with disabilities. But that’s just one example. John cared deeply about the big picture.
John was an environmentalist, riding the CTA bus up Ashland and back every day, with a vegetarian lunch in his low-slung bookbag. He was dedicated to giving back to those less fortunate. If you wanted to get John anything, the only thing he would ask of you was to donate to one of his two favorite charities:
I remember John arguing passionately for social policies and issues of justice. Sometimes at the bar, one hand holding a whiskey, the other pushing the glasses up the nose of his boyish face. Other times he would argue just as passionately about baseball.
John cared so much for his team. Listening, mentoring, helping anyone who needed anything. He loved you guys. He would have done anything for you. And like a magnet, he attracted only the kindest people into his close circle of friends.
John is survived by his wife, Bridget, his family, and his loving team at Orbit. I think he knew, I hope he knew, how much we all cared about him.
We miss you, John. You were a leader and a friend. None of us will ever forget you. That kind of kindness and wisdom is beyond rare. It’s unique. Nothing will ever fill the hole you left behind in this world. But the memories stay with us. We are grateful for every minute we had with you.