I was saddened to learn of A. J.’s sudden passing the other day. We lost a great representative of our industry way too soon. When something like this happens to someone in the prime of their lives and career, you try to make sense of it. There isn’t any sense to it—at least none that the human mind can satisfy.
After every point of contact I had with A. J. over the past two years, I always walked away somehow feeling better. He always had a smile and something positive to say, and you could tell he truly loved what he did and who he worked with.
I happened across a poem several years back after losing my best friend since childhood way too early. It brought some sense of comfort then. It does again today. It spoke about life not being about how long or how little time we have—or the fact that there is a beginning and an end. It focused on the importance of what happens “in-between” those dates as being what truly matters.
A. J. lived well during the “in-between.”
The best way to honor an individual is to carry on what they stood for. Doing so keeps a part of them with each of us.
Chuck Yuska, CEO of PMMI, said it best in PMMI’s announcement about A. J.’s passing the other day: “When he came on board, A. J. told exhibitors to expect three things from him: commitment, trust and respect. He lived up to that promise with PMMI members and PACK EXPO exhibitors in every possible way.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Rest in peace, A. J. You will be missed.
For more information on A.J. and to donate to his children's education fund, please visit www.ajjanoskoeducationtrust.org.