by Jaclyn Maczkiewicz
An accident on Nichols Road just outside of the campus lead to one of the theatre and art departments’ greatest upsets. On Aug 21st, John Francis Shivers, an aid here on campus suffered from a massive stroke while driving his car and hit into a fence knocking it completely down. John was a part-time student as well as an aid but also a full-time student at Dowling College. He was on campus helping out for the new student orientation, left to get a haircut, made a short trip to Dowling and was on his way back to Ammerman when he suffered from a stroke causing the accident. He was rushed to the hospital and stayed there for the next five days. He never regained consciousness and passed away on August 26th at the age of 72.
John was in his last semester to earn his bachelors degree. He had already achieved two degrees prior in visual arts and theatre. John had an association with the campus for over 20 years and was a huge part of both the theatre and art departments as they find this event to be both heartbreaking and unexpected.
Charles Wittreich, Director of Theatres here on campus was a good friend of John. Charles described John as “the old guy with the young soul.” He went on to say that no one ever really knew John’s real age and one time when he was asked, John responded with “That’s the end of that conversation.” Charles seemed very upset while speaking about John as the impact that John had on people he was around took affect. Charles also added, “It is stressful seeing the fence broken down everyday. I’m waiting for him to walk through the door or down the hall. I’m stressed for the new students because they won’t get a chance to know him. John was good at finding people on the margin and bringing people into the community. He was a beautiful person.”
John helped with many projects for the theatre department and his artwork can be seen throughout the campus as well. John gave all his work pizzazz and never wanted to take credit for anything he did as he always gave it away to others for their recognition. He always knew how to make people smile and was known to be a bit of a “class clown.” To those he knew, he touched their hearts greatly.
Both Dowling and the Ammerman campus as well are looking to acknowledge John and his work to remember a person who was very much loved and respected. On October 28th, Dowling College will hold a gathering in the art gallery at 2:30 PM showing all of John’s work. There will be a similar event happening here on campus on November 24th. There are also hopes of creating a scholarship in memory of John as it is in the works already. Rest in Peace John, you are truly missed.