Obituary: John Wadsworth, he who helped AHEC

Director and owner of Intermark John Wadsworth passed on the weekend of March 17 at the age of 74. He is well-remembered for this sense of humour and invaluable contribution to the American hardwood industry. Michael Buckley, international wood consultant, pens his farewell.

I first came across John and his reputation as a first-class market researcher when he was with BIS in London in the eighties and later recommended him as evaluator to the American hardwood industry promotion programme.  We worked on that together for over a decade and became friends. We travelled together much and shared a close relationship with his great collaborator – the late Michael Ginnings. I have been saddened by the news of John’s passing but not surprised at the many messages of warmth at his memory.

John, as everyone who knew him in business, was a fine raconteur, an amusing man of huge integrity and with a mischievous sense of humour. His vast network of contacts and his immense knowledge of the wood processing industries were always impressive and available to all.  He lived life to the full and was an inspiration to many. John had his own way of doing things and lots of people have referred to him as a ‘one-off’.  Unique he certainly was, in so many ways. 

Here are some of the messages from the ‘world of wood‘, sent on the news of his passing:

“I learned a lot from this wise man not only on work related insight but also about this world“

–          Sharon Shek at AHEC, Hong Kong

“He was absolutely one of a kind and I have so many memories of his wicked sense of humour and his total dedication to his craft of analysis.”

–          Elizabeth Ayton, formerly AHEC London

“He taught me a lot professionally and was also a very dear friend.”

–          Betsy Ward formerly AHEC Director, Washington DC (Betsy went on to comment to me “Between you and John, you really helped put AHEC on the map in terms of creative marketing and then insightful and brutally honest evaluations.”)

“He is a very nice man to work with and I miss him. I remember well he loves to have goose and we had dinner several times at Yung Kee Goose Restaurant in Hong Kong in the past years.”

–          John Chan, AHEC Director, Hong Kong

“I will always be indebted to John for his help and support when I first became Executive Director.  His input in the early years was invaluable to making AHEC what it is today.”

–          Michael Snow, AHEC Washington

“I have a special place in my heart for John. I worked and travelled with him all over the world during my nine years at AF&PA.  He was a personality unlike any other. We shared many moments of frustration and enjoyed a lot of laughter with industry friends over good food and much excellent wine.”

–          Rebecca Bratter, nee Coleman

My own memory of John’s mischievous way was at an AF&PA internal conference in Washington DC, where we were given name badges pre-marked “I’m…………..” to complete; and he had written “Exhausted”.  Rest in Peace John.