"I've been touched by an angel
Really touched by an angel
I have hope, I have choice
since I heard that voice
telling me all is well."
~ lyrics from "I've Been Touched by an Angel,"
written by TC Campbell and Della Reese Lett

Hi all,

Forty eight years ago today, John Carroll Dye was born.  I know I can safely say there's not a single person here who is not incredibly grateful for that.  We continue to mourn John's passing and pray for his loved ones.  But we also wanted to take a little more time to reflect and remember his life.  So today we at JABB are using the occasion of John Dye's birthday to share in greater detail than we could last time just what he means to us.  Below you can read some thoughts and vignettes about the various ways John and his roles touched us.  I hope you'll laugh, cry if you need to, and, most importantly, find some peace.  If you wish to contribute something, drop me an email.

Also, I think it would be wonderful if today and in the days ahead we all spent some time helping others out since that was such a big part of John's life.  I'm setting up a page where we can share about how John inspired us to reach out to others with compassion and love.  Please keep an eye on JABB Remembers and Celebrates the Life of John Dye for that addition.

God bless,

From Rebecca:

The characters that I am most familiar with would be Doc and Andrew.
Andrew of course has had the greatest impact.  I was very much an adult when I first encountered TBAA and Andrew so I had  already developed a lot of who I was and what I believed.  I adored the show because it reflected a lot of the values I already believed in and seemed to be a connection to a world that didn't seem so changed since my childhood.

Andrew was one of the most loving and compassionate characters I had ever encountered.  Being about my age he seemed like someone who truly would have been a friend.  I always feel safe and whole and loved when I am watching this character.  He manifests a truly loving being one of compassion and also a voice of constant reason in a confusing and unpredictable world.

I was a very young child during the Viet Nam conflict and my oldest brother was around the age of the young men in the show.  Doc reminded me of some of those young men that were friends of my brothers.  They were young, strong and idealistic.  I think a lot of them went through a great challenge that kinda paralleled what the country as a whole was going through.  It was a real time of loss of innocence.  Although Doc had great struggles in his choices he was firm in his beliefs and convictions and he lived by these choices.   As a foot note although some of these young men went through terrible times including drug use, alcoholism , most of them made it through and have had fulfilling lives.

I was thinking a little more about JD characters and I want to add something to the effect that I know John Dye brought life to both of these wonderful characters..
Andrew, who was a messenger of God bringing me hope, love and compassion.
Doc, who was an idealistic young man who became disappointed and lost his way.  I love them both as well as the wonderful actor JD who brought them to us.
From Yvette:

Just after John Dye’s passing, I watched ‘How do You Spell Faith?’ again.  The end reduced me to tears.  I loved the whole scene with Andrew and Aaron.  He was so kind and caring towards the grieving child, and that made such a difference to anyone who might have been faced with indescribable sorrow.  I know that they were just characters in a TV show, and I know that the whole thing was fiction, but somehow when he spelled ‘unconditionally’, it really hit me hard.  I know that John is now with God and that his work
will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those who appreciate it.  But, still it was very hard to sit and watch this episode.  I don’t think I will ever be able to look at it in the same way again.  

Later I watched ‘The Sky Is Falling’, which was really much easier for me.  Perhaps because we didn’t see Andrew glowing, but instead saw him pouting and complaining.  Who could resist the line ‘I think you and I need to have a little chat’.  I sat giggling about it, thinking it would have been so funny to have been the fly on the wall for that particular chat.  It helped, because it reminded me to smile and laugh, even though I was sad about the dynamic individual the world had lost.

I guess John would have wanted us to laugh instead of cry, but I know that we have to cry a little so that we can see the sun rise tomorrow.  I guess it was for that reason that I didn’t write anything about his roles for the other newsletter because I was so caught up in my thoughts about the overall impact he left on me.  I simply couldn’t find the words I wanted to say.

During the past week, I was still contemplating what happened and asking myself why so many young, dynamic and empowering people go Home before their time.  I guess, growing up, I was taught never to question God, but it was really impossible for me to not question.  But, all the same, any episode of ‘Touched By An Angel’ will no doubt bring up one emotion or other in me.  No matter which one it is, I think the impact will always be present and I will find myself either laughing or crying.  Hopefully, in time, those tears will be the healing kind. 

From Jenni:

To commemorate John's birthday, I wanted to share a few stories about how his roles impacted and enriched my life.  I wanted to tell stories that would make people laugh but I also wanted to be honest.  Because the truth is these past couple weeks I've been bouncing between immense gratitude and even joy as I think on how much John blessed my life and utter confusion and sadness.

Shortly after we learned of John's death, my best friend called me.  Everything's a blur now but I think it must have been that same night (Tuesday the 11th) because my voice was still shaking when I answered the phone.  She, of course, knew something was up.  So I told her.  I fully expected an "Oh my gosh!  He was so young!  I'm so sorry.  So anyway..."  But instead she began to tell me the stories she remembered of me in the early days of my crush on Mr. Dye.  It's not that I'd forgotten these events but they just weren't on the forefront of my mind that night.  But they were exactly the memories I needed.  I felt such happiness and gratitude as she reminded me of them and how this actor miles away brought hope and happiness to the angsty teenager I was... and some amusement to my friends.  I hope you might feel a bit of that, too.  So without further adieu...

Virgil Keller and the Contest

(Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)

It was 1998 and I was a meek, quiet, little sophomore at Our Lady of Perpetual Awesomeness High.  This meant I was all too often picked on by some of my bolder, savvier "friends."  Introvert that I am, I silently took it all in and then would promptly burst into tears once in my room.  On this particular day, we were celebrating a special occasion which meant eating lunch in the hallway.  I was, at this point, about a year into my Crush on JD/Infatuation with Andrew.  Even though I don't like karate movies, I'd been watching Best of the Best.  And because I thought John was all sorts of awesome, I would occasionally mimic stuff he did in movies or on TBAA.  So I'd started sitting in lotus position.  Like Virgil.  I'd sit and watch entire TBAA episodes in lotus position.  (Probly not something I could pull off now...)  So at lunch I sat in the hall, eating my bagel sandwich, in lotus position.

A friend we'll call Leia noticed me and said "I bet I can sit like that longer than you can."

"I dunno.  I've been practicing sitting like this for a while..." I responded.

Leia, being uber-competitive, insisted. 

Thus did we both sit in lotus position in the sophomore hall of Our Lady.

A few minutes went by...  I was fine!  Virgil had prepared me for just such a ridiculous contest!  Another friend looked at sandaled Leia and pointed out that her feet were turning a bit purplish.  Leia insisted she felt just fine.

More time went by.  Time enough for a full TBAA episode hadn't passed so I was doing great.  Then all of a sudden...

"Oh my God!  Leia, your feet are really purple!" a friend cried.

Leia grimaced, visibly uncomfortable.

And then... a couple minutes later... Leia fell out of lotus position and admitted defeat.

I won!  For once Leia had tried to knock me down and I had triumphed!!!  I know it might not sound like a big deal but, looking back, I realize that Leia was something of a bully.  But, because of Virgil, for one shining moment she didn't have anything on me.  And without John Dye I would never have had that moment and, to a teenage girl, one little victory can do an awful lot for her self-esteem.  Especially when it stems from a super-cute guy in orange pants.

When Mime Make-Up Attacks!!!

The second story my best friend reminded me of happened during our senior year.  Ever since late freshman year, I had been trying to convince my friends to watch TBAA.  People had to see what I loved so much!  I knew if they could only see Andrew they wouldn't make fun of me for being madly obsessed (complete with in-locker photo spread) with an angel of death.  Finally, I saw my chance!  My friends adored N Sync so when I heard about "Voice of an Angel" I merrily told them that they were guest-starring on my show and they needed to watch.  They would, at last, see the immense loveliness that is Andrew!

I think by now we all know what happened in "Voice of an Angel"...  Monica was whiny and got drunk.  She sang "Danny Boy."  Very badly...  She snapped Andrew's suspenders!  Tess was in a tizzy and Andrew... my lovely, beloved Andrew... was wearing make-up.  *Mime* make-up.  And this, my friends knew, was my ideal man!  I was in for it the next day at lunch.

There's something you need to know about Our Lady of Perpetual Awesomeness to fully understand my horror.  We had a mime troupe.  And we were forced to watch them perform.  So after four years of that we weren't exactly mime-friendly people.

And my crush of crushes was a mime... 

So... fast forward to that next day at lunch.  I approached the table.  I plopped down in defeat and said simply "It's not usually like that..."  I endured a fair amount of teasing not only about my questionable taste in men but also Monica's horrid behavior.  And for years I don't think I ever watched "Voice."  But then not too long ago I did.  And I laughed.  A lot.  (Although that suspenders business still stings!)  Andrew was an adorable mime!  I mean: look!  What's not to love?!?

From that incident came another couple lessons John taught me.  It's okay if your friends sometimes don't get you or your interests.  Be yourself.  You'll get over their dismay.  And it's okay to be a goof ball sometimes!  If an angel who, for all we know, is older than the stars represented on his cheek can wear a ridiculous outfit and crazy make-up... you can handle taking yourself a lil less seriously. 

Besides... he was still the best looking and sweetest mime ever.

The Quote

Finally, I'd like to end with this far more serious remembrance.  This is the story of how a quote John Dye spoke as Andrew helped me to get past my grief for so many people... and how now it's helping me to comes to terms with my sorrow over his death.

I was exceptionally lucky as a child.  Upon entering high school, I still had all four of my grandparents.  My friends were all healthy.  Death was obviously something I was aware of but had precious little reason to think much about.

In the fall of 1997 all that changed.  My grandpa had a heart attack and became gravely ill.  The day he was scheduled for quadruple bypass, I was given the choice of going to school or staying home.  I chose the former as I could see myself going crazy at home without distraction.  In my high school, there were three of us Jennifers with very similar sounding last names.  None of us were troublemakers or even very noticeable at all.  We seldom got paged to the office.  But that day one of us did.  And it sounded like my name... mostly.  It was one syllable off pronunciation-wise.  But I knew.  And I thought I knew what it was about... thus I ignored it.  I was so worried that something had happened to my grandpa and if I didn't respond then it wouldn't be real.

Unfortunately, I did work study in the office after classes.  So it wasn't escapable at that point.  I was asked why I never responded to the page.  I explained about the mispronunciation and figuring it was another Jennifer.  Turns out it was a nun who had been trying to page me but she was gone and hadn't said why she was trying to reach me.  That was especially troubling.  We didn't have a priest so the Sisters sometimes served as spiritual counselors.  I was still more convinced that my grandpa was in danger.  I finally mentioned his surgery to which the secretary replied "Oh, yeah, it was probably about that" and then walked off.  I was terrified.  This was before cell phones were plentiful so I had no way to reach my parents who weren't home. 

While I waited to go home, not knowing what I would be going home to, I pulled out the copy of When Angels Speak which I carried around constantly at the time.  I opened it to a random page and there, from the episode "Random Acts," was this:

"I just want you to know there's nothing to be afraid of.  On one side, there is life.  And on the other...there is life, too."

It was almost as if I could hear Andrew, standing right next to me, telling me that.  I was still worried but I felt some peace.  No matter what had happened in surgery that day, Grandpa was alive.  And I would see him again.  Andrew said so. 

Once I finally got home, my mom met me at the door with the news.  The surgery had went wonderfully!  I was able to go visit Grandpa that very day!

But that summer, Grandpa got very sick again.  He was in and out of the hospital.  It took a toll on everyone.  One day we all got together over at my grandparents'.  The guys watched some sports and my mom, grandma, and I went into the kitchen.  I, of course, had my When Angels Speak book with me.  We started talking about the show and then my grandma picked up the book.  She opened it to a random page and read aloud:

"I just want you to know there's nothing to be afraid of.  On one side, there is life.  And on the other...there is life, too."

All three of us felt a lot of peace hearing it.  I had the added peace of hearing Andrew echo it as my grandma read.

Only a few short weeks later, my grandpa went to the hospital once more.  We knew he didn't have much time left on this earth so we all went up there to say good bye.  When my turn came, I told him what I needed to say and wanted him to hear:

"I just want you to know there's nothing to be afraid of.  On one side, there is life.  And on the other...there is life, too."

Then I told him that I loved him.  He was released, given in-home hospice care, and passed away soon after.

I carried that lil book with me all through the wake and the funeral and the days that followed.  And when I most needed it, I heard Andrew's voice reminding me about eternal life.  His voice and that line would return to me often through the years as others I loved went Home.

That quote was one of the first things I thought about when, shortly after I woke up on January 11th, I learned about John's death.  I repeated it over and over in my mind.  He had helped me through every major loss in my life and I needed him to help me then.

After a few days, I knew what I needed to do.  Remembering the quote helped.  But I had to truly hear John, as Andrew, say it.  And so I watched "Random Acts."  Except for that quote, the episode has never been particularly significant to me.  But this time it was.  The story of some high school students worrying over their beloved teacher hit so close to home.  Mr. Dye was my teacher, one whose impact on me began at that same tumultuous age of Mr. Connor's students.  He taught me so much and brought so much into my life that I wouldn't have otherwise had.  And now, suddenly and unexpectedly, he was gone.   I almost turned the episode off.  But I had a sense that to do so would be more painful than continuing to watch.  And so I did.

And our beautiful Andrew crouched down by Mr. Connor.  And John spoke so tenderly and gently the words that meant so much to me:

"I want you to know there's nothing... nothing to be afraid of. On one side, there's life. And on the other...there's life, too."

I sobbed.  Because now he is the one on the other side and he is so missed.  But just as that amazing voice helped me to remember that my grandpa lives still, it now helps me to remember that John does, too.  And I noticed something else.  This whole time I've had the quote wrong.  Or, rather, I pulled it from When Angels Speak which likely took it from the script.  But I'm thinking John added his own lil twist.  Look.  He repeated "nothing" and by using contractions made it less formal and friendlier.  It's like he was putting stress on the not being afraid part.  And as much as I need the message of eternal life now, I think I need the message of being fearless more.  Because I believe with all my heart that John lives and that he is happy beyond any happiness we can imagine here.  But I have been scared.  I've been scared for those of us that now have to go on with life on this side.  I've been worried about the fate of this group without him.  I've worried that if I feel this way, what must those who actually knew him feel?  But I'm just gonna keep thinking about that quote.  Because there is life for him and there is life for us.  I like to think we have someone pulling for us on the other side.  And we'll be okay.

And I like to think that now John knows about the lotus position contest and mime fiasco and the quote that found me just when I most needed it.  And all of your stories, too.  Because he deserves to know how loved and admired and appreciated he is, was, and will be.  And one day when we're both on the same side again, I hope I can tell him.  Until then, I thank God that John Dye was born and that he lives forever.

From Angelica:

The last time my grandma went to the hospital, even the doctors thought she wouldn't resist. But, she did. She lost her sight, sometimes can't walk, has some hallucinations, but is still around. And, last week, when I went to visit her, I saw her alone, in her room, and that image broke my heart. That's when Andrew enters the scene.

I recalled "Til We Meet Again", and that Andrew was all the time beside that old man. It brought me a lot of peace to know that she was not completely alone and gave me strength to enter the room, hold her hand and talk. She just speak in Japanese, so, doesn't understand what I say in Portuguese, and my Japanese is awful. But the faith that there was an "Andrew" there (and for "Andrew" I mean: some angel full of love, compassion and kindness), made me realize that the language was not a big problem, because he would translate my words to her. And I talked, just to let her hear my voice, to know that I was there and that she is still loved.

Watching "The Sign of the Dove" and calling Andrew "angelic male version of Paris Hilton", caused a big damage on my mind.

Now, I'm relating Andrew with Paris Hilton. Every time I hear about Ms. Hilton, I automatically remember Andrew. It already happened this week. She came this week to Brazil and I was like: "Yay! Paris Hilton is visiting the country!!!". And then, "Wait. What??? I'm not her fan!"

Yeah, I definitely need to take care with the comparisons I make about Andrew.

And I am immensely grateful to John Dye for bringing Andrew to life so I could have these wonderful moments and I'm sure I am still going to have a lot of them during my life.

From Liz:

Many years ago, my family and I had our hearts and heads opened to the fact that there could possibly be such a thing as angels.  We knew of different types of funeral rituals that were not common to what we grew up with so why couldn't angels exist?

My parents were the first ones to start watching TBAA.  I had only seen a couple of episodes the first season but hadn't caught onto the program right away.  It was a couple of episodes into the 2nd season that I sat down and watched my first show with John Dye.  All I can say is that I was hooked from the get go.  From that point in time, I watched every episode (even reruns when we had them here).

After reading articles about him online, I thought that John seemed to be down to earth, easy going, someone who could be quite friendly and easy to get along with.  He had a presence that was approachable as if you had known him forever.  His demeanor was that of calmness, unflappable, pleasing and friendliness.

John Dye will surely be missed by everyone.  May God hold you in the palms of His hands and help you soar to the greatest of heights.

Thank you, John Dye!
You will be forever remembered with fondness, gratitude, and love.


JABB 320

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from
"Tour of Duty" (1) owned by New World Television, "Touched by an Angel" (2, 4, 5, 6, 7 [the last one being from the "True Stories" special]) owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions, Best of the Best (3) and owned by Best of the Best Films, Kuys Entertainment, SVS Films, and The Movie Group Inc.  The images are not being used to seek profit.)