08/19/2005: "A Good By To My Friend and Fellow Activist, John Dallas"
Upon learning of the passage of long time Islander and well-known activist John Dallas, I was compelled to share my tribute to a brilliant man whose courage was boundless.
John had an extremely lively and outgoing personality which many times was displayed in his appreciation of the ridiculous. He often called me about his disapproval of the in-effectiveness of our local political scene and was always eager to read me his latest "Letter To The Editor", chastising the BOCC for failing to make sensible decisions that would be in the best interest of the Islands.
Always impassioned about critical island concerns, John worked tirelessly trying to enlighten the County Commissioners on serious environmental issues. When the BOCC balked at endorsing the San Juan County Jet-Ski Ban, he spend several years testifying at public hearings, writing letters and talking with his fellow islanders. John campaigned against the BOCC's purchase of the gravel pit, the meat slaughtering plant proposed at the end of the Friday Harbor airport and the now defunct "experimental" aquatic septage system. Not once did John falter in his beliefs. Being skeptical of politicians, John told me many times that he loved a good fight.
True, John often became excited; would flare up into a momentary rage against the "establishment" and pen a wicked retort to The Journal, stating his views with emphatic enthusiasm. But, in John's mind, his letters were the eyes and ears of the Island.
I will miss my friendship with this wonderful and iconoclastic gentleman, and, as I write these concluding lines to my friend, I think of those far worthier lines of Edna St. Vincent Milley:
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light.
John Dallas was in a class by himself.
Mary Ann Anderson