Johnny's Mom & Brother Paul
We lost Johnny Igaz to the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire last Friday night, December 2. I am Johnny's Uncle Francis. This fund is intended to support my sister Marianne Abueg Igaz and my nephew Paul Igaz in their grief.
Johnny was doing what he loved, spinning records for others as a DJ on the second floor. Paul figured out that Johnny was taken by the blaze early on Saturday morning. I happened to be in Boston when I saw Paul's name pop up on my phone. My heart sank.
Paul and I cried together. I couldn't help but curse a lot. He said he didn't want to wake his father yet with the news because "it would probably be his last restful sleep for awhile." Paul wanted me to be available for when he told his mother Marianne the tragic news. John was only 34 years old.
The loss of John so early in his life is unspeakably painful. But what deepens the loss is the timing. His death occurred exactly one week short of the one year anniversary of the death of his sister Teresa Marie Igaz.
My most vivid memory of John happened outside the Santa Barbara mortuary where Teresa was cared for last year. It felt as if I hadn't seen him for years. But time collapsed as we clutched each other weeping and shaking in synchrony. I am a psychologist by profession but in that moment I needed help. He was so present, grounded but vulnerable and open to my pain. He was equally soothing to his brother, both parents, and Teresa's friends.
My best memories were having substantive chats starting in his early adolescence about films of every genre. I was so proud when he chose to go to Berklee School of Music in Boston and loved that he was into the sax and jazz. I made a point of visiting his alma mater while in Boston a day before he died. I can't begin to imagine how many ways we will miss his spirit.
Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and concern. This is one significant way of expressing support for my sister and nephew.
Johnny was an extremely solid guy, in every way. We will all miss him forever. His music will always be heard. Im very sorry this tragedy took him at such an early age. My thoughts are with you and the rest of the family. I hope all the other fundraising efforts make their way to you as well. I was part of an event last night in Hollywood that raised thousands. Grey Area is approaching a $million. There were so many beautiful people lost, Johnny was the one I knew the best. One Love. See you on the other side buddy.