One of the first people who joined the Listen Project Facebook group and enthusiastically started posting was Linas Johansonas aka “Johan.” I did not know Johan personally. I did listen to him on the WENZ 107.9 “Inner Sanctum” show he co-hosted with Pat “The Producer” Johnson and my friend and Cleveland local music guru, Jim Benson. When Johan joined the group, I knew he was someone I had to talk to about that era. We exchanged several Facebook messages capped with a promise to sit down with me and talk about Cleveland music when I was ready. I was overjoyed to have another primary source.
Now I’ve lost that chance. Johan suffered a massive heart attack while at home almost a week ago and he passed away at age 58. To the end, he was promoting local musicians posting the day before he passed about the success of Scott Hanson and Tim Kirker’s new single which is in heavy rotation and currently the third most played song on Internet radio station oWow. As I’ve been reading the tributes to him on social media, I regret that I didn’t reach out to him sooner to talk in person, not so much for what he knew about Cleveland music, but because among the posts, the common thread is that Johan was a good man and those are so far and few between in our world today. He certainly will be missed by a great number of people. My condolences to his family on their devastating loss.
Johan’s passing really emphasizes to me the need to step up my game here. None of us know how much time we have here but I think it’s natural for us to want to leave some lasting legacy. The Listen project is an opportunity to leave a shared legacy. We all should be fortunate to be remembered as well and with as much respect as Linas Johansonas. I know I will do my best to ensure his part of our story is recorded. If you have anything to share about Johan, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to add your stories, photos, etc. to this project. Life’s too short. Don’t let an opportunity to reconnect, laugh, remember, forgive, learn pass you by.