In Memoriam: John Southworth (1938-2017)

The following post was provided by Jamie Shropshire, Chair of the Idaho Lawyers Assistance Program Committee, about the recent passing of John Southworth, Program Coordinator of Southworth Associates, Service Provider for the Idaho Lawyers Assistance Program. Learn more about John’s story here. 

How do we define a hero? Is it the person who runs into a burning building to save people; a soldier who puts herself in harm’s way to protect her comrades? Certainly, it is those people, and others for whom courage has altered their lives, but is it not also the person who gives his time and resources to others as a way of life? It must be, and John Southworth was such a hero.

John would have shunned the title, real heroes always do. He would have said it’s just what he had to do to stay sane and sober. But there are hundreds, maybe thousands who were able to redirect their lives because John cared and showed them a vision of themselves that is meaningful and selfless. John helped alcoholics and addicts because he had spent his own time in the particular hell that comes with a disease that destroys the mind, body and soul. Whenever John and I talked about an attorney who was suffering, John’s first words were always “what can I do to help.” While he would have liked it to remain a secret, he was known to use his own money to pay for treatment or a flight to a treatment center for an alcoholic who had nothing but the hope that John shared.

The legacy of John Southworth is HOPE. A simple gift that we must pass on to those who come to us now that John is gone. He left us with this hero’s challenge.

“I faced a lot of problems, but one thing I didn’t do is give up. I just wouldn’t give up, and that’s what I want people to hear: Do not ever give up. There’s hope out there.” – John Southworth.

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