Sunday, May 27, 2007

Goodbye John, we are going to miss you

John Fermoile

John Fermoile passed away this weekend very unexpectedly, although probably very weakened from his heart condition.
The closest thing we probably had to a "Godfather" of the STUDS group, simply because he has been in Brussels for such a long time and seemed to know everyone past and present.
John was truly one of the "good" guys, who was always there to help you out if he could. I never heard him utter a bad word about anybody, nor did I ever hear someone try and discredit him. We will miss him.

John's funeral will be Thursday May 31st at 10am
St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church
Avenue des Anciens Combattants 25
1950 Kraainem

Please leave your comments or any stories you would like to share about John in the comments section. I'm sure the rest of the group would enjoy your sharing them.


For those of you wishing to make a charitable contribution in memory of John Fermoile, Martina has provided me with the following information:

Fondation pour la Chirurgie CardiaqueCompte no. 310-0333527-30
Be sure to mention "John Fermoile" on the transfer form.
STUDS living in the US can wait for the Memorial Service which will be held in August in Lockport, there will also be a possibility to donate without having to pay excessive international banking fees.
Martina asked me to pass on her thanks for the comments on the Studs' website. She found them "heartwarming and a big consolation".

I'll see a lot of you tomorrow at the service.


Dave Hutcheson


odell said...

Nora and I are saddened by this unexpected news. John was indeed a good man and wonderful friend to us during stay in Brussels. Please pass on our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Martina and the rest of the family.

Odell and Nora
San Francisco, CA

Roy Stevenson said...

Dear Fellow STUDS,
Having just spent a few days staying with John and Martina in March, I was
as saddened as you all to hear about the passing away of our good friend.
John was always at Le Baron with a warm greeting and sympathetic ear for all
STUDS. In my two years in Brussels I never heard a negative word and plenty
of kind words from John-that's the kind of person he was.

While staying with John we enjoyed out trips to the supermarket and dropping
by Le Baron for a drink afterwards. He confided in me that Fridays with
STUDS in Stockel helped keep him going, made him feel better, and how much
he enjoyed out antics. Having just relocated to Seattle I deeply regret I am
unable to attend the funeral, however I have no doubt that STUDS will be
well represented. I will be with you in spirit.

My best regards to you all,
Roy Stevenson.

Randy & Mireille Dallmann said...

I'm really saddened and disturbed by John's unexpected passing. I thought John was really one of the "good guys" I have met since my time in Brussels. Always their with a friendly greeting and conversation, and willing to try and help you out with whatever he could do for you.
He was really intent on keeping the STUDS group "active", which has been a lifesaver for many of us.
Sometimes you hear a flowery euology about someone, and ask yourself, "Is this the same person I knew?'...not in this case. I really don't know anyone who could say a bad word about the man.
Sometimes life doesn't seem too fair.

Philippa said...

I was saddened to hear the news of John passing. He hired me in 1994 before he became ill and I have many happy memories of working in his department. Please pass on my condolences to Martina and Kelly.

Windsor, Ontario

Dave and Helen Hutcheson said...

Helen and I had the good fortune to share several social events with John and Martina in the last few months, the last just three weeks ago.
On each occasion the conversation, the laughter and, of course, the wine flowed freely. Any room was just a little nicer, a little more convivial and a little more fun when John was in it.
To quote Helen, he was a gentleman and a gentle man. John has set the bar pretty high when it comes to how to conduct yourself in good times and bad. Well done my friend, we will miss you.

Dave and Helen Hutcheson

Peter & Deirdre Mohan said...

Deirdre and I were shocked by this unexpected news. John hired me into internal audit in 1993 and my abiding memory is of a complete gentleman. Martina and Kelly are in our thoughts and prayers.

Juha and Laura Lauritsalo said...

John was a good man, as good as they come. With more people like him, the world would be a gentler, friendlier place.
John would always greet you with a smile, whether it was at
Le Baron, at one of the events with the spouses, or when I’d bump into him shopping at the Stockel market on a Saturday morning.
A few years ago we happened to be watching the carnival parade in his street together with my two daughters and after that he, whenever we met, he would always ask how the girls were. He was a friend who cared.

John and I would sometimes exchange stories about living in “extreme conditions in snow and ice”, his background being from Buffalo and mine in Finland and briefly in Toronto. It was as we had some common experiences that not all the STUDs would comprehend.

We’ll miss John. We wish to express our condolences to Martina and to all of John’s family.

Juha and Laura Lauritsalo

Roland and Constance said...

We are deeply and truly saddened by the untimely death of our dear friend
John. He was a warm, intelligent and caring individual. I had the good
fortune of seeing John twice recently when I was in Brussels. It was a
great time together and a reminder of what a wonderful and decent man he

John had the good fortune of having a second chance in life and he made the
most of that opportunity. I know he recognised how lucky he was and he made
the most of it. He also said that the experience had changed him for the
better. Maybe we can all learn a lesson from that, but the fact of the
matter is that, John, you gave a lot to us of yourself and though you may be
gone from our lives you will never be gone from our hearts. I'll think of
you whenever I order myself a Grand Marnier."

Roland and Constance

Cedric & Nicole said...

We had the pleasure of having John & Martina plus a few other STUDS couples over for dinner at our house back in March.
It was a lovely evening and we are happy John was able to make it.
As always,despite his illness, he was in fine form, enjoying a little glass of wine and lots of laughter.
He was the first STUDS to welcome us in this great little STUDS organisation for which he held quite high standards and a touch of class.
We will miss him. Our thoughts are with Martina in this time of sorrow.

Cedric & Nicole

Cristina said...

As with Philippa and Peter - whose comments are above - John hired me in the early nineties. Upon picking me up at Brussels airport on my first day of work / arrival in Belgium, John's first words were: "I'll make sure this is a great day and change for you". And he did. To Martina, Kelly and Patricia my heartfelt condolences for a man that will always bring a smile to my face. Cristina

Thierry & Irene said...

John enjoyed Saint-Emilion (the best of the Bordeaux), drove a british racing green MG (I'll take good care of it), watched US football (close enough to rugby) and was always smiling, friday flowers in the hands (I still need to work on this one). A true man of taste ! He was a wonderful friend !
We'll miss you !

jim robinson said...

sorry to intrude on your group. i am a long-time friend of john's here in the states.

would any of you know how i could order flowers there? i could pay by paypal or credit card. is there a funeral home/mortuary where i should send them?

he was a wonderful person.

STUDS said...

Jim no intrusion at all, please feel free to write a few words about your friendship with John.
Martina has asked for memorials to a heart charity in lieu of flowers. Send us an email and we will get that info to you when she gives it to us.

Anonymous said...


my email is

we were roommates at niagara u. he visited me here in LA twice, once with tina and pat.

he was brilliant and kind, a rare combination

Dave Perkins said...


Can't believe lefty is gone.

John reached out to me when first I arrived in Brussels, seeing that I needed a little encouragement and knowing just what to say to buck me up.

He shared right away some deep hurts in his life, which paralleled a few of my own and let me know I was not alone. For that I was grateful to him, and always will be.

But those were brief moments, and happily my time in Belgium was fun and upbeat and exciting... and John was always smiling and thoughtful and a pleasure to be around.

And in my first STUDS golf tournament, I was lucky enough to have him as a teammate. Lefty stuck one inside 4 feet with a fairway wood on 18, and we won the whole deal because of him.

Hard to imagine STUDS without John Fermoile. God rest his soul and keep his family close.

John Montgomery said...

Truly and kind and wonderful man. Never heard John say a bad word about anyone, even during our Political conversations.
Being a Stud for a little more than a year, John was very instrumental in showing me and others the Ropes of the Club.
Had lunch with John the previous Friday, when he was upbeat and funny. It is this way that I will remember John.

John Montgomery

Carl & Fabienne Ghilain/Doyen said...

Au revoir mon ami, so long big Brother. A nice guy like you, a man of a kind, so sad to see you are gone. 1984: an American in Brussels..,a few years in Germany... a breakaway in Ireland, your origin that you were so proud of, the clover and the green will always remind you, an escape in Sweden where the guys like you too much…, I understand why you joined the STUDS!, the Golf player who made ‘a Hole in One’, the nice man, charming man, and loved man. Martina, Patricia, Kelly, je vous prĂ©sente toutes mes condolĂ©ances


Anonymous said...

I first met John very shortly after arriving in Brussels. Within minutes, I had a sense that I had made a friend who was a joy to be around and would be there for me whenever I needed it. He was all that and more. I will miss him.

Brian Bedrick

Joe Zito said...

John and Martina shared with us our last U.S., Thanksgiving in Brussels in 2004. It is one both Barbara and I will always cherish and never for which we shall always be thankful, having had the privilege to celebrate a uniquely American holiday with a uniquely American FRIEND and GENTLEMAN. Gone, yes...forgotten, NEVER.

Thanks for your efforts.

Joe Zito

hddvt said...

I grew up down the street from John in Lockport, New York. We were a close-knit group in those days, and John was friends with all. I haven't seen him in more than 35 years, but it sounds like he stayed the same in those respects. I've often thought of him because I heard years ago that he had received a heart transplant. Now, this Saturday, my wife returns home after 2 years away, having received a heart and liver of her own. I'll think of John.

Scott Walston said...

Dear John -

Although we have only know each other for a short while-roughly a year and a half, I consider you to be one of my best friends. You always have a smile to offer along with a handshake. You laugh heartily with your whole body. You bring a sparkle to any room you enter. You willingly offer a plethora of knowledge about Belgium and Brussels to all STUDS, new and seasoned. You take a genuine interest in Ann's and my life, asking about how we are. Although I am no longer in Brussels, I want you to know that having a chat with you on Friday's at Herman's really helped me find a home in Belgium during my time there. Alas, it is time to say goodbye. Thank you for being my friend, John. I will miss you.


Scott Walston

Paul J. Greiner said...

We were school mates throughout Grade School and HS. John was a brilliant student and a gifted athlete. I was honored when he recently posted a comment on my personal website. Our email exchange was our first contact with each other in many many years. I won't forget those school times, baseball and football and I know I am a richer and luckier man for having known him. We'll meet again I'm sure.

Ed Weston said...

My name is Ed Weston. I have known John for about 2 and a half years. I got to know John through a men’s group here in Belgium, called the STUDS. Part of what defines us as a group is that our wives work here in Belgium. We get together once a week for coffee and then lunch.

I first got to know John when our group made a trip to Lille, which was kind of a fiasco, but I got to know John, which made it all worth it. John, do you remember the spiced wine?

About 6 months ago, John asked me if I could say a few words at his funeral, as he was concerned about his health. I am honored to try to do that.

A few words. Wise. Compassionate. Caring. Kind, very kind. Humble. Perceptive. Understanding. And funny.

For no one had a better sense of humor than John. I can still hear his laugh.

Those are some of the words that come to mind in trying to describe one of the best guys I have ever known, and one of my dearest friends. I used to tell him that I felt that for me he was kind of like a big brother.

I imagine all of us feel that way. For the STUDS, John was our natural if unofficial leader. Whenever an issue came up, or a decision had to be made, we all wanted to hear what John had to say. His wisdom and kindness set the tone for the STUDS.

His wisdom and experience was equaled by the size of his heart. For he was always interested in and cared deeply about other people. He was always one of the first to volunteer his time for any worthy cause. With the STUDS, he was always, in his own quiet way, the first one to welcome a new member to our group and make him feel at home.

Of course we could all see that the real love of John’s life was Martina. John and I had a running joke. Every time I saw Martina, I would say to John, she’s too young for you. He would always laugh. He absolutely adored you, Martina. The only thing he ever complained about was that you could read faster than he could. In English.

I cannot tell you how much I will miss him, as will we all. I thank God that John and I ran into each other at Stockel last Thursday, and had a cup of coffee together. I will always wish I had had the foresight that afternoon to say all the right things, how we all feel about him. But I know John knows how much we all love him.

God bless you all.

Gerry Miller said...

All of the wonderful comments that have been made about John are absolutely true. I got to know him in the late 70's in Buffalo when he was with E & W; he made it a point to get to know the Int. Life Ins. employees like myself and developed friendships with many. After I left Buffalo for Chicago, I got a call from John one day congratulating me on passing the CPA exam almost immediately after the results were released; to this day I have never figured out how he knew but that's the type of guy that he was. I regret that we lost touch over the years but feel fortunate to have known him. A truly great guy; my sympathy to his wife and family.

Anonymous said...

Dear all,
Ingi and I was in Rome and got the saddened new reasently. John was a truly good friend to us all, and we will miss him. I'm happy for all the good memories, all the good meals & drinks we had together, and all the nice stories and the good humour John alway had his good smile that infect us all. Our thoughts goes to Martina and Kelly.
Bjorn and Ingi

Roy Martinez said...

I know this is probably too late to respond to as the funeral has now passed. I feel so terribly saddened by this awful and terrible news which has just hit me this morning as I opened up my Studs mail having been away in Spain from 24 May until yesterday evening.
I am still numbed by the shock which is so new for me and I am so sorry that I was neither able to post a comment in time nor attend John's funeral due to me being out of Belgium and away from my Studs e-mail; I sincerely regret not having been able to pay my respects to a truly exceptional man and whom I feel it was an honour to know. No words can replace John and take away the loss to Martina,his family and friends but at least I am heartened by the fact John and Martina were with us recently to look at a Kenya Safari trip video which I had been promising to finish since many months. Life is always just moments in time and I will be forever thankful that I did not postpone the video afteroon until after our return from Spain.

Roy Martinez

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

We've already said our goodbyes. Thank you for being a wonderful friend for more than 8 years, for all the fun, laughter and seriousness we shared as a twosome and with 'the girls', and for being my role model regarding friendliness, kindness and gentlemanly behavior. I know we'll meet again - I miss you a lot though...

Dear Martina,

You are in our hearts. Heather and I sincerely hope to see you just as often as usual. Never hesitate to contact us.

With love and blessings from
Heather and Kjeld.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened to read tonight that my old friend John passed almost 4 1/2 years ago. I Googled your name thinking about where you might be. I was one of the 3 lieutenants serving with John and Dick in the Finance Corps in the US Army in Germany in the early 70's. All 3 New Yorkers. Dick left first, then John, then me. We spoke a couple of times in the late 70's when I lived in New York City and John in Buffalo. Then in the early 90's John found me after reading an announcement in The International Herald Tribune that I was working in banking in Belgium. John called me at the office to my great surprise and my wife Elena and I began our friendship again with John, this time with his beautiful bride Martina, and very pretty daughter Kelly. We visited each others homes and I remember playing doubles tennis in Waterloo. So much laughter and fun. We rediscovered our old friendship and I enjoyed reconnecting with my old Army friend. John had not changed from the first day that I met him in Hanau. Everyone loved him and openly cried when he left the Army to return to Buffalo. He was a true gentle-man, a wonderful friend, so smart, and a kind human being, fun loving, caring, honest, and a real lefty who could speed through calculations with his right hand, but knock a hole in one hitting from the left side. I am so sorry that we left Belgium in 1993 never to hear from each other again. Seeing your picture tonight brought tears to my eyes. You always had the twinkle in the eyes, the ready smile, and the quick gushing laughter.It is a shocking loss. John, you were always kind, gentle, and never uttered an unkind word. Hanau was a long time ago as was Brussels. We were young, healthy, and lucky then to have spent the time even though time was too short my dear friend.