Book tells of friend gone, not forgotten
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Posted by: Katy Watson
Dr. J. Terry Johnson is a 1964 graduate of Oklahoma Christian. He also served as President of OC from 1974 to 1995. This article was taken from www.news-leader.com
out of Springfield, Missouri:
"An all-American boy named Kirby Wilcox once walked the halls of Parkview High School, winning hearts with his smile, before ultimately dying in combat in the Vietnam War.
Nearly 50 years ago, he lived in a very different Springfield.
But J. Terry Johnson, his boyhood friend, was determined to not let Wilcox be forgotten. In his young adult book "Kirby," due out in March, Johnson spun a coming-of-age tale centered on their friendship in the late 1950s -- and ultimately, a story of an era and its defining moments.
Johnson paused on Friday morning, lightly gripping his coffee mug, as he tried to explain why he wrote this book after the passing of so many years.
"You write partly for self and partly for community," Johnson said, just prior to a book-signing engagement at Parkview. "I wanted to pay tribute to Kirby and also leave some tracks."
There was another significance to his impending release of "Kirby."
On Saturday night, Johnson and the remaining members of Parkview Tastemark, the American Legion 1959 state baseball champions, were scheduled to be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
"Kirby was the undeniable leader of that team," said Dick Birmingham, who coached the Tastemarks to the championship. "He was just magnetic."
Birmingham went on to coach baseball at Hillcrest High from 1960-1984.
As told in the book, Johnson and Wilcox forged their friendship on the playing fields -- football and baseball -- as members of the first freshman class to play four years at Parkview."