John Engelbrecht handed me a sealed envelope 13 years ago and said, “Someday I’ll be gone. When that happens, give this to my son.”
The time has come for me to give that envelope to his son.
John Engelbrecht, in good spirits, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on Saturday, April 18.
I liked John a lot. He was elegant, insightful, and a spectacular storyteller. John had seen and done more than most men see and do in 10 lifetimes.
When John visited Wizard Academy and stayed in Engelbrecht House – the student mansion that his son, JP, helped us build – John looked at his son proudly and said, “You’ve done a good thing.” JP was 27 at the time.
In the words of JP Engelbrecht, “Papa was a giant and lives on with us because he touched so many people on an individual basis. When you were with him, you knew he was with you. Papa was always where he needed to be at each moment. He was comfortable with everyone, never let on that he was a really big deal.”
In the 2004 photo below, when the Wizard Academy campus had nothing on it but trees, 25-year-old JP Engelbrecht dumps ice into a galvanized basin to keep the wine cool.