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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

We Will Miss You, John

Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - October 02, 2007

Dear Readers,

We are sorry to announce the passing of John Berthoud. As you may know, he has led both the National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation over the last 11 years. We have looked to him as a strong leader, compassionate friend, and a fierce fighter for freedom.

Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications, shared his surprise, "John Berthoud's death today was as sudden as it was shocking and saddening to all who knew him. His colleagues found him in peace at his home today. All of our staff, just as the entire policy community in Washington, are doing the best they can to cope with an irreplaceable loss."

We give our sincere condolences to his family and friends and hope you will pay tribute with comments to our blog and facebook group. Sepp continued, "John was a true 21st century Renaissance man. He was a teacher, a mentor, a respected intellectual, and a lover of life. That's what makes his passing all the more tragic."

Though we mourn the loss of a man and celebrate his amazing life filled with love, study, travel, and leadership, his cause and a hope for a brighter future lives on. We will press on with purpose and be thankful for his contributions to our own journeys.


National Taxpayers Union &
National Taxpayers Union Foundation Staff

Note: A formal press release will be issued shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Thoughts?   Add Comment -

Christie Herrera said on Sep 27 2007 at 5:43pm
What a tragic loss of such a great man. John was kind to everyone; he never met a "stranger." Although I knew him for just a few years, I feel like I lost a friend today. Luckily, his legacy will live on in the memories of his friends and in the future of the conservative movement.

David Lusk said on Sep 27 2007 at 6:38pm
Such an amazingly tragic loss. I was looking forward to seeing John Saturday night, and I know he was so looking forward to sharing his home with friends. Although he might have passed, the examples he left us of how to live life fully never will.

Lawrence W. Reed said on Sep 27 2007 at 6:45pm
What a terrible loss to the freedom movement! John was a tireless, principled and devoted freedom-fighter. To his family and staff at NTU, the prayers and sincere condolences of all of us at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. We know that John's example and inspiration will get you through this. Please know that his many friends all over the country are thinking of you in this difficult time.

Jeff Dircksen said on Sep 27 2007 at 8:13pm
People who ask me how long I've been at NTU & NTUF are surprised when I say that it will be 10 years in November. After all, people in Washington seem to change jobs so frequently that they end up leaving before the ink on their new business cards is dry. So, 10 years sounds like a lifetime -- or two -- to many in town. It's not all that surprising though: I tell them that I have a great boss, and that John is a great guy to work for.

Washington is a city full of people with gargantuan egos. John wasn't one of them. For some organizations, the president or executive director is the organization. He or she is the public face, voice, and mission of the group. But, not John. John didn't seem to care that much about the recognition. It wasn't all about him. He cared about the work. If you wrote an op-ed or an issue brief, he wanted your name on it, not his. He was always willing to share the glory.

At this year's Taxpayers Conference, John thanked attendees for their dedication to the cause and said that he had dedicated his life to the taxpayer movement. The movement has lost an intelligent, dedicated activist, and those of us who worked for John have lost a great boss and a great friend.

Paul Gessing said on Sep 27 2007 at 8:33pm
John was my boss for the better part of 7 years and I considered him a friend. His loss will be felt not only by those who knew and respected him, but by those in Washington and around the country who believe in limited government. Goodbye friend.

Kristina Rasmussen said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:11pm
I said goodbye to John for the last time yesterday evening after attending a conservative movie premier with him and other NTU staff. As we walked to our cars after the event, he focused the conversation on how other people we both knew were doing. He had an amazing capacity for looking after the well being of others, and his guidance as a boss and a friend will be deeply missed.

Lisa Nelson said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:24pm
John has been a friend and true believer over the years and I have enjoyed working with him on issues that he is so passionate about. We will truly miss him in the fight to stem the tide of government spending and growth and will continue in his name t work towards less taxation.

With heartfelt thoughts to his family,

Lisa Nelson

Lisa Nelson said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:24pm
John has been a friend and true believer over the years and I have enjoyed working with him on issues that he is so passionate about. We will truly miss him in the fight to stem the tide of government spending and growth and will continue in his name t work towards less taxation.

With heartfelt thoughts to his family,

Lisa Nelson

Mike Collins said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:31pm
I was privileged on a number of occasions to be able to work with John. It was a pleasure. He always spoke to the reasons so many of us got into politics in the first place -- to ease the tax burden on working families and self-employed individuals. My prayers to his family and to all the staff there at NTU on this terrible loss, particularly Peter Sepp. Please let us all know when the funeral is. Best wishes, Mike Collins, mikecollinspr@cox.net, 202-494-6105

Norma J Ashmore said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:32pm
Our condolences to the family of a true visionary. His contributions to freedom contintue through the origanization, his contributions to humanity continue you through you.

Steve Jinks said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:34pm
I have been a member of NTU long before John became president and tho I did not know him personally, I have admired his perseverance over the ways of Washington. "Only the good die young..."

My condolences to his family and the staff at NTU

Amy Ridenour said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:35pm
Please accept the sincere condolences of everyone at the National Center for Public Policy Research. While John's loss will be felt most keenly by his family, friends and colleagues, his passing is truly a loss for the nation. America is a better place because he was here.

Mike Pochowski said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:36pm
I was only able to share this man's leadership through the wonder of the internet, and his drive to assist all of the people in this wonderful country. So many people have much owed to his efforts, and those of his staff, most shamefully unaware of the effort. I'm sure his rewards will be shown by the Lord, now that he has him!

We need to keep his example and improve on it if we can.

Karen Kerrigan said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:38pm
I will never forget John's support, kind words, witty conversation, leadership and principled approach to everything he did.
RIP John. We will miss you.

Roger Page said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:42pm
Such a loss! I am truly saddened by this news. He was a man of extreme accomplishment and his shoes will be at least difficult, if not impossible to fill. May GOD rest his soul in peace.

Rose Bogaert said on Sep 27 2007 at 9:46pm
We at the Wayne County Taxpayers Association know what a friend we had in John. Our personal paths have crossed at taxpayer conferences over the years. He was a man to be admired. Our prayers and thanks go to his family, who shared him with us. His will be hard shoes to fill.

Andrew Moylan said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:04pm
Today, I was devastated to discover the death of my boss and friend, NTU President John Berthoud. For those of you who knew John, none of the following will be a surprise to you. But for those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to have met him, I want to give you an idea of just what kind of a guy he was.

You know how death seems to drive people to say nice things about the deceased? Well unlike some other cases, all the nice things that have been and will be said about John over the next few days and weeks are absolutely true. He was a terrific boss, a principled man, but most of all, a loyal friend.

Sometimes a life is best described by the stories it brings. In those peculiar circumstances of existence, you get a glimpse what people are really made of. I’d like to tell you a few of those stories and allow you to see what I saw in John: a man who was trusting, hilariously funny, and endlessly compassionate.

I first met John when I interviewed for a position at NTU. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. Here I am, a young guy hoping desperately to get this job, and there was John, sitting behind his huge desk cracking open a Pellegrino. I’m now a convert, but at the time, I had a healthy suspicion about anyone who drank sparkling water. Surely someone who drank Pellegrino was going to be stodgy and arrogant, right? Boy, was I wrong. Nobody who swore as much as John could be considered stodgy and nobody who drove a beat-up old Honda Civic could be considered arrogant. That was John.

John is the man who gave me “my shot.” I was but a young guy with a loud mouth working at NTU’s front desk when a government affairs position opened up. John took a chance on me and gave me a promotion. He trusted me enough to hand the reins over and never succumbed to the temptation to micromanage. His lack of ego allowed me to flourish and I will never forget him for that. That was John.

John was an extraordinarily funny guy. He went to my home state of Michigan recently for a conference and sent me an email from the Detroit airport. He and I often teased one another about our geographical origins (he hailed from Connecticut), so he wrote me that, “At least 50% of the people here weigh over 230 pounds. Welcome to Detroit!” I replied with a crack about “lily-white Ivy League campuses” in his neck of the woods. He thought I was angry with him, but he was headed to one part of my home state which is truly beautiful, Mackinac Island, so I told him flippantly to bring back some pictures because I had never been. When I walked into my office this morning, I found a manila folder with six beautiful full-color photos of Mackinac Island and a note which said: “Sorry for bashing your home state. You should take the wife!” It certainly made me smile to find that in my office and it makes me smile even more to think it was one of the last things he did. That was John

My grandmother passed away recently and we were very close. As of that time, NTU’s policy on bereavement leave only covered immediate family (i.e. child, spouse, sibling, parent). I hopped on a plane and emailed John from the airport basically saying, “I don’t know whether this qualifies as bereavement leave, but if not, just take vacation days from me.” Within probably an hour, the entire staff of NTU and NTUF got an email saying, in essence, “NTU’s bereavement leave policy has changed effective immediately.” In it, he detailed how he changed the employee manual to include grandparents and other close family members. There aren’t a lot of bosses who would literally rewrite the book for an employee, but John did it and he did it out of compassion, which meant a lot. That was John.

Today, I unwillingly said goodbye to my friend. So, John, wherever you are, I end this tribute to you the way you ended so many emails: by saying “Grazie.” For everything.

Joshua Bolinger said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:13pm
There is no need to sorrow for we will see John again at the return of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
(13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
(15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
(16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
(17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
(18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Laird Maxwell said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:17pm
God blew out a candle today.

I'm so saddened about our loss with John's passing.

I have such a warm spot in my heart for him. I came to the NTU conferences from little 'ol Idaho where the RINO's tried to run free until I got excellent ideas from attending the sessions.

John helped me corral a good number of leftist Republicans.

But the best part is ... I met my lovely wife at the NTU conference in 2005.

What a shock. What a loss for all of us. I already miss him and my heart aches.

I'm kind of an old crusty political hack, and making good friends who you know will cover your back is rare. John always had our back, and I did what I could to cover his.

God speed to you John Berthoud.

Orville Seymer said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:20pm
What a shock. I met John for the first time last year at the ALG Conference in Chicago and I got a personal invitation from him to attend the NTU Conference in Washington this summer.

It was truly enjoyable to spend a few days with him. While I did not get to know him as well as many others, it was obvious that he was truly a compassionate and committed guy.

What seems odd is I just saw him a few weeks ago at the Sam Adams Leadership conference and today he is gone.

Pete Sepp said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:41pm
How much more is there to say about John Berthoud? Enough to fill volumes, as we shall see over the next several days when friends, colleagues, and others share their memories of this remarkable person. So, I hope you will indulge me when I share mine.

I first remember John from before his tenure as President of NTU. As Research Director for NTU Foundation, he sat on the staircase of our headquarters on Maryland Avenue in Washington, DC as I conducted my very first television interview with Irving R. Levine of NBC News more years ago than I wish to recall. Being only a few years apart, we could talk as colleagues about how well I did. Even then -- and this must have been more than a dozen years ago -- I appreciated his honest but diplomatic advice. He was my first “critic”.

For the years that followed, he always had the right words to inspire me toward greater things, all while keeping me down to earth with his glorious jabs. One of his favorite shticks was to scramble everyone's names as he left the building, calling me "Tasha" for the name of our receptionist, etc. The day I called him "Hannibal" after my dog, as he was leaving the office, and his response was "good one Sepp," I knew his humor was motivated from the noble virtue of making people laugh.

Upon leaving NTU for a stint at the Alexis DeTocqueville Institution, John would occasionally call me with requests for information that I knew were urgent. Yet, he always addressed me as "Brother Sepp" in the same cool and measured modulation for which he was famous. It was the most gratifying thing in the world for someone of my own low stature! No wonder his style of communicating with people won him so many plaudits.

So it was with great anticipation that I greeted John's return to NTU as President back in 1997. I wasn't disappointed as, like the true gentlemen and scholar he was, he helped everyone who came through NTU's doors achieve their personal best.

Now there is a cavernous void in our policy community, as each of us remembers John and the loss he signifies to us. Whatever your feelings, please, please put the qualities you knew in John to work in your everyday jobs. He would have wanted it that way, and so many people who never knew him will benefit that way too.

Al Aitken, Chairman VOTORS said on Sep 27 2007 at 10:59pm
I'm saddened at the loss of John Berthoud. John and the staff at NTU were very helpful as VOTORS formed to help find tax relief for Virginia property owners. We'll miss John and extend our thoughts and prayers to John's family and the NTU staff.

Drew Johnson said on Sep 27 2007 at 11:36pm
John gave me my first opportunity to make a living doing what I love—working to advance freedom—when he hired me as a policy analyst at NTU.

I will always be grateful for John’s support when I left NTU to found the Tennessee Center for Policy Research three years ago this week.

On behalf of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research’s staff, scholars and supporters, thank you, John, for your friendship, encouragement and steadfast dedication to the ideas of liberty. We will never forget that without you, there would be no Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

Brian Riedl said on Sep 27 2007 at 11:44pm
This news knocked the wind out of me.

As the federal budget guy at the Heritage Foundation, I worked with John countless times on tax and spending issues. We did panels together. We strategized together. We brainstormed conservative budget reforms together. We watched election night returns together. I considered him an intellectual giant, and one without any ego or pretense. In short, he's been one of my chief think tank role models.

The best way we can honor John's memory is to keep working together towards the policy goals he worked so hard for, and do it with the good cheer he showed.

On behalf of my colleagues at Heritage, I wish all of you at NTU the best, and hope we can all take comfort that John is in a better place (and finally one without taxes).

Lacey Holmes said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:19am
I had the great opportunity to see John in action while I was a lowly intern at NTU. He always made it a point to make me feel important. Just like he did with everyone he met. Thanks for that lesson at my first job in DC.

Jon Zahm said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:53am
I shared the stage with him at a breakout session of the Chicago Conservative Conference. He was such a knowledgable and classy guy. I met him again a couple of years later in DC and he was so gracious with his time and knowledge when I introduced a client of mine to him. I wish everyone in the conservative movement had his grace and professionalism. May God bring comfort to all who grieve his tragic passing.

Matthew Elliott said on Sep 28 2007 at 2:29am
When we started to set up the TaxPayers’ Alliance in the United Kingdom back in 2003, I visited DC to speak to the leaders of the different taxpayer groups. John was very generous with his time and I have been very grateful for his encouragement and support ever since. His emails always inspired me to work that little bit harder and, more recently, his Facebook messages always brought a smile to my face. Thank you, John, for all your help. We will miss you over here. - Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive, TaxPayers’ Alliance, UK

Rebeca Four said on Sep 28 2007 at 2:30am
Although I have to admit that I did not know anything about John, even his identity or role, I sincerely offer my condolence to all that knew him and loved him, most of all to his family, friends and colleagues.

May you all rejoice in his memory and celebrate his life rather than mourn his loss.

Best regards,

Michael Jaeger said on Sep 28 2007 at 3:27am
I the name of all European taxpayers’ colleagues, Taxpayers Association of Europe, the German and Bavarian Taxpayers Association, but especially Rolf von Hohenhau and I, we want to express that we are deeply distressed by the sudden passing of our friend and tax fighter John Berthoud.

We wish to assure his family, NTU, NTU Foundation our sincerest condolence.

We will never forget him, because he was and will be also in future part of our taxpayers’ movement.

Thank you John!

Michael Jaeger

Yoshihiko Nakanishi said on Sep 28 2007 at 3:44am
What a shock. I have no word to say.On Sep.10 I saw Mr. Berthound smiling and waving his hand. That was the first time I met him and no one knew it should be the last.
The Tokyo Research Institute of Taxation and Fiscal Policy dispatched a Study Mission of U.S. Taxation and Tax Adoministration to Washington D.C. from Sep.9 to Sep. 13, of which I was a member.
On that day my old friend Mr. Pete Sepp kindly arranged the conference and gave us good lecture. After his speech we had a chance to see the office of the NTU and saw Mr. Barthound smiling at us and said goodbye. We, members of the Tokyo Research Institute were looking forward to see him and Mr. Sepp in Tokyo, Japan.
What a loss! I really miss him and never forget his smile.

As for our mission, after visiting the NTU we met some IRS high officers and ex-IRS or ex-Treasury Department officers and heard their speech.
We got much information about the taxation and the tax administration in U.S. of now. And I have to say we were very lucky to visit the NTU at the start.

I should have thanked the NTU and people I saw in Alexandria, I'm very sorry for offering our condolences.

Kurt OKeefe said on Sep 28 2007 at 4:24am
My prayers are with family and friends.
Our loss is the greater in that our country has never needed him more.
All things in God's time.
He is at peace, we fight on, inspired by his example.

Leslie Carbone said on Sep 28 2007 at 5:20am
This is a tremendous loss. I mourn alongside John's family and all at NTU. John contributed more to the cause of freedom in 47 years than many of us ever will, however long we live. I was looking forward to seeing him at his party on Saturday. I will miss him deeply.

Audrey Mullen said on Sep 28 2007 at 5:24am
My heart goes out to everyone at NTU, as well as his family. I know people there are inconsolable, because John was such a principled, dedicated and inspiring leader as well as such a kind, honest and loyal friend to all of you. He was truly one of the best people I know and I just can't understand why he was taken from us so abruptly. I will pray for him, his family and all of you.

Jason Markowitz said on Sep 28 2007 at 5:28am
My thoughts and prayers are with John's family, friends and the entire dedicated staff at NTU.

As a former Staffer at NTU, I found John to be a great boss, a selfless man, and extremely dedicated to the advancement of the tax movement.

He will certainly be missed.

Barbara Anderson said on Sep 28 2007 at 5:50am
Massachusetts' Citizens for Limited Taxation joins all of you in our shock and sorrow at the news of John's sudden death. It reminds me of our loss when Howard Jarvis died, without the somewhat legitimizing age factor!
Richard Bach in Illusions wrote, "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't." I know that the federal government isn't under taxpayer control yet, so John's reason for going must have been personal. We shall all carry on in his honor...

Andrew Roth said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:04am
I'm still in disbelief. I had only known John for a few years, but in that time he was a reliable and good-hearted friend. Since I heard the terrible news, I've been recalling all of our conversations, and more importantly, all of the people we interacted with. HE KNEW EVERYBODY. And everybody knew him. I take solace knowing that he was, as the original blog post said, "a lover of life".

My thoughts go out to the NTU staff and all of John's family and friends.

Jacqueline Halbig said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:09am
I am so shocked and saddened by John's passing. It seems unbelievable for a man whose presence was ubiquitously seen and fealt. And then I am reminded of the biblical admonition, Be Ready! We never know the day or the hour. I first met John as a professor, and we quickly learned that we were both conservative - boy was I ever relieved to meet him. He was, as has been said by so many, a gentle, kind, humble and charitable soul -making certain to make the "unimportant" feel important and cared for. He told me, as a friend, about how he thought of his NTU family. It was obvious that he valued each employee as if they were his next of kin. It was evident by what he said. I am so sad for all of those who will feel his loss daily. May God rest his soul and may he be welcomed into His presence. My condolences to his staff and family.

Marie Schumacher said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:28am
What a huge loss for the anti-tax-and-spend community. His positive, can-do attitude was inspiring. The information provided at the Bi-Annual Conferences was a spark that has lighted countless fires of activism. Through this activism, John will live forever. My sympathy to his family, friends and co-workers. Let's make John proud and honor him by continuing and winning the fight for sensibility.

Roger Ream, Fund for American Studies said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:29am
I last saw John at the security desk of the US Capitol, as we arrived to attend a reception with the President of Estonia. I introduced John to several students from Estonia who were attending our internship program. Typical of John, he took an immediate interest in them, their country, and its flat tax policies.

On behalf of all of us at The Fund for American Studies, condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. This loss is immeasurable. Rest in peace, John.

Leslie Graves said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:29am
I am so very sorry to hear this tragic news. My thoughts and prayers are with John's family and with those who loved him and worked closely with him.

I have admired John from afar for years and counted myself lucky to meet him in person just a month ago. In person, he was kind, sensitive, and humble.

M condolences to his loved ones, co-workers and all those whose lives he touched.

joseph pericone said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:44am
Even though I did not know him except thru his work working for NTU, I was sadenned to loose such a fierce fighter for freedom. Please convey my condolescense to his family

Mark Schmidt said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:51am
I first met John about ten years ago, when he gave me (a relatively inexperienced but hungry political junkie) a chance to work at NTU. I spent several great years working side by side with John, and more importantly, getting to know him as a friend. I always felt that John genuinely cared about me as well as the other folks at NTU, which under his leadership developed the feeling of a family. John worked earnestly and tirelessly for what he believed in, and serves as a great example for all of us. He will be sorely missed.

Tom McClusky said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:53am
John took a chance on hiring me way back when (for a position I didn't even apply for!) and he gave me my first break in the public policy world. For that I'm very grateful.

He always gave his employees (though almost every "employee" I knew there John considered and treated more as a friend then an "employee") the freedom to be creative for a cause - and I always appreciated that. We kept in touch after I left and whenever news, either good or bad, reached John about me he was the first with a kind or consoling word.

To put it simply he was a good man with a good heart and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are for everyone he knew, but especially his friends at NTU and his family.

Brianna Cardiff said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:57am
I am still in disbelief. The humility, integrity and intelligence that John Berthoud demonstrated was inspirational. As others have mentioned, he truly did make you feel important and comfortable. His frequent greeting to me, by saying "My friend . . .," always made me smile.

We have lost a valient warrior for our cause. He will be greatly missed.

Amanda Carpenter said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:57am
I was shocked and saddened to hear this last night. My condolences to his family and the wonderful, kind and helpful team he led at NTU.

David Williams said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:57am
He was a true gentleman and friend. He will be greatly missed.

Gary Iverson, Sr. said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:05am
When it appears that our nation is sufferring under the strongest and heaviest attacks ever, we have lost a man with principles and vision for what is right.
He was a true gentleman's man when we needed him most.... he will be sorely missed!
May God grant that 10 more like him will arrise to take his place in the battle.

Brendan Steinhauser said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:07am
My thoughts and prayers are with John's family, friends and colleagues. He will be greatly missed.

Joe Armendariz, Exec Dir, SB County Taxpayers Assn said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:20am
I am saddened by this news. While I never met John personally, the organization he has devoted much of his life to is an instrumental partner in the mission of my group; promoting lower taxes.

NTU, your role remains vital and I hope you will carry on with your mission and with the same passion and zeal that John Berthoud personified.

Chris Kinnan said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:30am
John was a prolific defender of liberty, and a sincere and friendly person. I am grateful to have known him. His untimely passing is a great loss to our movement and our nation. My condolences to all of his friends and colleagues at NTU.

Bob Costello said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:33am
I put in a request to John early this week. He came back to me saying he would rather not go with what I proposed. My only response was "No problem, I trust your judgment." That is one of the things I will miss the most: John's judgment. I have only known John for the last 5 years but he has been a good friend and ally. All of us at Sam Adams Alliance will miss him. We need to work harder in John's memory. Rest in Peace.

Jon Henke said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:33am
Some years ago, despite the late hour and the fact that John Berthoud still had to drive from Richmond back to DC, he took the time to talk to me and to offer encouragement.

I had the chance to thank him a few months ago and to tell him how important that had been to me. I wish I'd had the chance to know him better.

He was a good man, and he made a difference. I will miss him deeply.

Ned Bushong said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:35am
I am saddened by this news. I never met John, but talked to him many times on the phone. His passing is compunded by the fact that, in our current environment, we need all the help we can get, as conservatives. Even Republicans, today, act like watered down liberals. It's a very sad day.

Ned Bushong
Bushong Capital Sytems, Inc

Ted Brennan said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:36am
I have known John for over 15 years. He was always a friend, a gentleman and a willing advisor. HE was smart, welcoming and could always make me laugh with his quick wit, great impressions and humble attitude. OUr loss is Heaven's gain. Until we meet again my friend.

steven cord said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:38am
John's sudden and unexpected demise is a great loss to the anti-tax community. He told me he favored taxing land values but not anything anybody produced. He will be missed. I hope his successor will follow in his footsteps. We don't need blind anti-taxism.

Paul Steidler said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:41am
John Berthoud was a good and loyal friend, and a very honorable and decent man. He knew how to be both strong and compassionate. Determined and yet open minded. He loved his work and was truly a topnotch professional, while also enjoying and savoring the truly good things that life had to offer.

I had the privilege to work with him for a year before he went to NTU and learned much from him, both by what he said and how he acted. Over the past year, we spent a good deal of time together. As I am going through a divorce, John was a great source of wisdom and strength, sharing much about his own experience very openly.

Earlier this year, at a Mets-Nationals game, John kept my six-year old son in laughter and broad smiles for an hour. It was typical John – he was open, engaging, relaxed and happy. And I think he did it without once mentioning the Yankee dynasty he so loved.

You are in paradise now, brother. Thank you for being there and thank you for the way you lived your life.

Richard Lorenc said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:48am
I had always admired John's work from the sidelines, and only recently became involved in the work that he and NTU did so well and with such passion. I saw him last in Chicago, about three weeks ago. I always appreciated that he, one of my idols in the field, knew me--a newbie--by name and that he was such a pleasure to talk with. My heart goes out to everyone who was touched by John's intellect and charm.

Maxim Jacobs said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:53am
I'm in complete shock. I used to work for John 12 years ago. Unfortunately we lost touch. I remember him to be such a smart great guy. He used to call his Honda Prelude a Qualude.

Rep. Scott Garrett said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:59am
It was with shock and sadness that I heard of John’s passing. John will be missed not only as a friend but as a champion of liberty. He was a scholar and a gentleman and, as has often been said, the “happy warrior of fiscal conservatism.” His intellect and wit has been the backbone of the conservative policy world for many, many years and it will be difficult to fill this void. To his mother and brothers and to all the friends and colleagues he has left behind, I offer you my most sincere condolences.

Benoite taffin said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:08am
NTU is the big brother of our french taxpayer association "Contribuables Associés"; we started in 1990 just doing what NTU was doing , and it worked ! since that time we were always in touch and asking fot advises to start new projects.
John was always ready to help as well through phone call, e-mails or when we met at the World Ttax payers Association meeting every 2 years. he also became a friend and we had lunch in Paris last July as he was traveling for hollidays.
I am so sad !

David R. Burton said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:17am
John was a man of principle, a rarity in Washington. And John was a nice and decent guy, also a rarity in Washington. The cause of liberty has lost an important and steadfast voice. And those of us who knew him have lost a dear friend.

Sam Batkins said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:19am
John was a good friend and a great boss, and he was always striving to be a good person; he succeeded admirably. He never ceased to take care of his employees and his friends. His legacy at NTU and the world over will continue to live on for generations. I'll truly miss him.

Greg Newburn said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:25am
Condolences to Mr. Berthoud's family, friends, and colleagues.

I had the privilege of working as an intern at NTU, and though it is difficult to grow close to anyone over a summer, I remember Mr. Berthoud as a kind, gentle person who cared as passionately for his staff (even the interns, whom NTU respectfully titles "associate policy analysts") as he did the cause of American liberty.

I've followed NTU closely since leaving its employ, and this news is indeed shocking and sad. The freedom movement, and everyone who was privileged enough to know Mr. Berthoud, has lost a dear friend.

Chris Edwards said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:28am
We will greatly miss John over here at the Cato Institute. John was a champion of limited government and an extremely decent person. He sent me an email a week ago because he remembered that my computer blocked Evites as spam. He cracked a joke, said his upcoming party would be a great bash, and made a special point to invite my wife. Thanks John. I know the team you built at NTU will carry on the mission you deeply believed in.

Brett Narloch & Curly Haugland said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:30am
The North Dakota Policy Council wants to let the family and friends of John Berthoud know that they are in our prayers.

The World lost a truly good human being. What a tragic event.

Libby Wright, Citizens Against Government Waste said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:33am
John was the consummate gentleman, a true intellectual, a co-patriot in the fight for a smaller government and lower taxes. It was a pleasure to work with him. I offer my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at NTU. Conservatives have lost a great friend.

Dominic Rupprecht said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:41am
John was that rare Washingtonian who was a big shot, but never once acted like it, and always made everyone he met feel like there was no one more important on the planet. I’ll always remember him as the guy who after chatting with his “brother” (John probably had more brothers than anyone on the planet) John Fund, darted straight for his interns to talk about the Yankees game (and the one time he cheered for the Red Sox; blame it on Hackettstown, NJ).

He was kind, generous, and an all-around good guy. I’ll miss him, and I’ll try to take some solace in the fact that he left us on a day when his beloved Yankees won.

Steve DelBianco said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:43am
John was true believer in his cause, and was blessed with a stellar quality that many "true believers" lack: he didn't put his cause above his personal interest in the lives of others. John, I will sorely miss your presence at ALEC and on the Hill.

Drew Nordgren said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:54am
I was privileged enough to have an office right next door to John. Although I’ve only been at NTU a few months, I’ve quickly grown to admire and greatly respect Mr. Berthoud. Things won’t be the same without him, but his humble spirit and principled leadership will help guide my life for years to come.

Darren Willcox said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:54am
John was my first boss in Washington and -- like so many others in this town and throughout the nation -- I am a better person as a result of his mentoring and friendship. His passion for work, family and friends was infectious and his great intellect was only exceeded by his great wisdom. Those of us who knew him and loved him will miss him dearly and those who never had the chance to meet John have been denied the opportunity to know a truly remarkable human being. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.

Chris Butler said on Sep 28 2007 at 8:57am
The taxpayer movement is left with a giant empty space now that will be impossible to fill. Ten years ago when I first became interested in getting into the taxpayer movement, I was taken aback when John called me personally at home in Colorado to go over the lay of the land in DC and offer advice about starting a career here. Over the years he has always been a welcome friend when we met up around the world. Everyone at ATR is in shock and is deeply saddened for everyone at NTU and John's family. You all have our thoughts and prayers.

Jon Coupal said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:17am
On behalf of the entire staff and Board of Dircectors of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, we are shocked and saddened at this tragic news. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and associates of John. Although we almost always 3,000 miles apart, John & I became good friends, striving for the same goals of protecting taxpayers. John was always quick to give credit to others for much of the work for which he himself was responsible. That is how things get done when you are a true believer, as he was.

Soft-spoken, a true gentleman with a great sense of humor, we will surely miss him.

Timothy Lee said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:22am
My condolences to all of John's family, friends, and associates. He left a very positive impact on the world around him, and will be sorely missed.

Paul Jacob said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:31am
What a terrible loss. John was smart and committed to the cause. But I'll remember him most for being a friend, someone I could talk to (even about things other than politics), someone easy to work with. We'll miss him.

Marlo Lewis said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:39am
Christie Herrera's words express my own feelings. Whenever I reached out to John for help on the regulatory side of the freedom agenda, he gave it unstintingly, and he treated me like a friend from the start. He will be much missed even by those, like me, who did not know him well.

Don Soifer said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:40am
Who do we know, who have we ever known, that stands for something as John has? And everytime you talked to him, you were reminded of what a good and admirable thing that was. I'll miss him. But what he brought to life we have not lost. In that he has succeeded unforgettably.

Charlie Berthoud said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:41am
On behalf of our family, thank you for all your kind words about my brother. Many of you knew him professionally and you've seen his passion, intelligence, and desire to make this world a better place.

As a brother and an uncle to my two sons age 6 and 4, my wife and I couldn't have asked for more. He loved his nephews and loved playing with them. His love of the world encouraged a love of geography in our boys. Our first grader knows every capital in the US and dozens around the world, places like Bolivia, Madagascar, and Turkmenistan. This morning our four year old decided to play with our USA wooden puzzle, doing a great job with all the states. And John also was a lot of fun, teaching the "ding dongs" as he lovingly called them, all sorts of things. Last spring he was here (we live in Pittsburgh) for Easter, and we all went to church. I am a pastor. From the pulpit, I look out and there is Uncle John giving and receiving wet willies to and from his nephews. And he was playing hangman on his palm pilot with them...

He was a great brother... Just about every day we emailed and/or talked, fluidly going from the profound (world politics, church, family) to the inane (Simpsons joke, sports, etc.) He and I had made plans to go to Dallas together for Thanksgiving, to see the Cowboys-Jets game. He is a big Cowboys fan (he liked them almost as much as the Yankees) and I am a lifelong Jets fan. This was my birthday present from him. We were going to have a blast...

Speaking of birthdays, he was born in 1962, making him 45, not 47, as the Washington Times reported. If I could call him today, as the liberal in the family, I would tell him that it figures that shoddy reporting would come from the W-Times. And he would laugh..

So much more I could say... We will miss him tremendously. Thanks again for your love and prayers.

Orlando said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:42am
My heart goes out to the family of John Berthoud who served this country as a patriot. Please know he was a great man and left his fingerprints on this country.

Thank you John for your service. May God be with you.

John Rieu said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:42am
Sorry for your loss. He was a kind man from all accounts and will be missed.
God Bless.

Max Pappas said on Sep 28 2007 at 9:49am
John lives on as an inspiration to those who were fortunate enough to know him. He dedicated his life to something he truly believed in. He took time to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him, regardless of stature or what they may do for him. And he did it all with sincerity. Many in Washington would do well to emulate these rare qualities that John brought to life. He was an exceptional individual and the fight for individual liberty has lost a great leader.

John, I’ll root for the Yankees for both of us this playoff season.

Demian Brady said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:06am
John Berthoud did great work for NTU and taxpayers, and he made NTU a great place to work. He was a good boss and a good friend. Although he will be sorely missed, his conviviality and his dedication to the cause of freedom will serve to inspire.

Jonathan Rick said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:18am
The e-mail arrived yesterday at 7:19 pm. It was titled, "Cancellation: September Party at John's House," and the first sentence struck me like a sharp gust of wind: "We are sorry to announce the passing of John Berthoud."

What!? I had seen John just last night, at the E Street Theater for the premier of The Call of the Entrepreneur. In fact, as we walked into the movie room along with a couple of NTU colleagues, the theater was so packed that we couldn't find a group of seats together. John's solution: he found an open seat, and instead of availing himself of it, said I should take it.

Later, at the after-party, I found myself chatting with NTU's newest employee, who had just finished her third day. As John was leaving, he stopped by, and our last exchange went like this: "You know, it's pretty cool to have a boss who not only hangs out with you after work, but who's also cool enough to be someone you want to hang out with." John's reply: "Dude, the job's already been filled."

Whenever we took a taxi somewhere, John insisted that he pay. As he once e-mailed me, "You're a poor indigent 20-something, so I'll cover the cab."

Another e-mail captures the same sentiment. "Amigo— I'm going to pop by this party on Water Street this evening. Want my Red Top [Cab] chauffeur to swing by and pick you up?" I said yes, but asked if we could leave 15 minutes earlier. His reply: "Anybody who—post-college—can swim a 200 free in two fricking minutes clearly shouldn't be left tapping his fingers.”

Similarly, at the happy hours we both frequented, it was not unusual for John, finding his drink running low, to ask whatever circle of people he was in what he could bring them back from the bar. There was no ulterior motive; there was even no expectation of reciprocity. This was unqualified generosity—a happiness to be in the company of others, to meet new people and to enjoy life as it came.

This was John: selfless and dependable, witty and fun.

I met John when I worked a few blocks away from NTU, in Old Town, Alexandria. We were just acquaintances until about six months ago, when we realized that a woman he had dated was the same one who got me my first job. After that, we became fast friends, both firmly believing in limited government and living a few minutes away from one another in the Clarendon section of Arlington.

You wouldn’t know it if you didn’t ask, but John was not only an advocate, having run NTU for the past 11 years, but also a scholar, having received a PhD from Yale and taught at George Washington University. Indeed, the fight for freedom lost a major figure yesterday, and I lost a great buddy.

Jack Archer said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:25am
I am shocked and saddened by this news. I knew John in Connecticut, where we'd worked on legislative and campaign staffs together. I had the highest regard for him, and was cheered by the success he went on to at NTU and other venues. My greatest sympathy to his family and friends. He'll be greatly missed.

Pat Callahan said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:33am
This is both sad and shocking. We all had a special admiration for John. He always had time to talk, no matter how busy he was. John was one of the good and honorable people in the movement.

Scott Pullins said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:42am
I was utterly shocked to receive this email in my inbox this morning. I worked closely with John over many years with the Ohio Taxpayers Association and the National Taxpayers Union. John was smart, funny, and just one hell of a guy to hang out with. I am blown away at his death at the young age of 45. I don't understand it and can't comprehend it. My thoughts, prayers, and sorrow goes out to his family and his many friends and colleagues.

Howard G. said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:51am
My first day of 7th grade at King Philip Junior High School I grabbed one of the last empty seats in the science class. Who knew that would be one of the luckiest days of my life. I met my new science partner with the last name the teacher couldn't pronounce.

A life long friend is gone, but he will never be forgotten. John was a true friend who would be there when you needed him most. I'm shocked and saddened by his passing but my life is better for knowing him.

Maria Berthoud said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:04am
Reading the funnny stories that some of you shared here about John made me smile (which has been hard to do for the past 24 hours) because so many of you captured his dry wit and humor perfectly, and everyone captured his passion and dedication to his work. Although John and I have been divorced for 5 years, the 10 years we spent together made me who I am today, and I will always be greatful for the time I had with John. Besides being the man I loved, and will always love, John was also my first real mentor in the work world, and there is no one I respected more as his dedication to his work was immeasurable. But as his brother Charlie mentioned, so many people didn't know the other side of John - - his family, and how much he loved his brothers and their wives and children, and his Mother and late Father. His family meant the world to him. Those in the conservative movement lost a true hero yesterday, but his family lost a beloved member. I cannot imagine what the holidays will be like this year for his family without John's presence. God Bless his wonderful family, and God Bless John, an absolutely amazing man that I was lucky enough to have had in my life for so long, and known so well. Goodbye for now JEB...

Ken Azzopardi, CEO, Canadian Taxpayers Federation said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:15am
I was just informed of this shocking news and on behalf of the Board, staff and members of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) I send our condolances to John's personal family and his NTU family for this significant loss in their lives. John was a friend of mine and the CTF and was active in the World Taxpayers movement. He will be dearly missed.

Bill Tinnerman said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:18am
I received NTU's notice of John's passing this morning and I was greatly shaken, and felt a real sense of loss. This man was too young, so much more left for him to do.

I considered John a great friend. He was a very gracious and open person, always the advocate for protecting the individual's right to be free of 'domestic' Federal regulation thru limits on it's taxing presence. He was very effective at it, too.

Such a man will be greatly missed. God bless your soul, John. I miss you already!

Myron Ebell said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:29am
John's death is a great loss to the conservative movement. He was a good friend, loyal ally, and truly dedicated to the cause of liberty and limited government. I shall miss him.

Tim Glazewski said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:38am
John’s devotion to good government and responsible spending policies made a real difference to hard-working Americans around the country. He worked to keep more money in people’s pockets for them to spend and invest, and in so doing helped create a stronger economy that has helped all Americans. He will be sorely missed.

Bobby J. Griffith said on Sep 28 2007 at 11:52am
Our Nation has lost a great Freedom fighter and protector of our rights.

"By His works you shall know Him".

While I did not know John I knew his work for many years. His work will live on. My Love and heart goes out to his friends and family. Having lost my wonderful Wife on June the 24th of 2007 I fully understand the pain that they are now going through. With God's love I pray that they will come through this terrible period.

Tom Schatz said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:09pm
We have lost a four-star general in the battle against high taxes and wasteful spending. John's unexpected and premature death is a real blow to those who knew him and worked side-by-side with him and his wonderful staff at the National Taxpayers Union for the last 11 years. His energy, devotion, and intelligence will be sorely missed. In an era when politics has become shrill and partisan, he was a true gentleman: warm, generous, and gracious.
John was loyal and dedicated to his employees, friends, family, and the conservative movement. He always had a kind word for everyone he knew. In fact, he would often greet me by saying, "How are you, my friend?"
John was one of the first to recognize the need to coordinate on a regular basis the activities of our small band of taxpayer advocates, who every day face a dizzying array of forces that are intent on wasting the taxpayers’ money. Citizens Against Government Waste and NTU have enjoyed a very close and cooperative working arrangement for many years; if organizations could be "friends," the two groups certainly qualify. While that relationship existed prior to John’s becoming president of NTU 11 years ago, it has blossomed since then. He will be sorely missed. The best tribute to John would be for all of us to redouble our efforts to protect the American taxpayer, something to which John devoted so much of his life.

David Kamioner said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:28pm
Met John about ten years ago when, as a consultant for a PA anti-tax group, I was working to defeat a planned tax on the hospitality industry.

John not only provided great counsel, but came to our area and made several media appearances on our behalf. It was obvious upon first encounter he was as gracious as he was sharp, not to mention a properly sarcastic sense of humor.

It was a distinct pleasure and honor to work with him and meet him. He will be missed.

Men like him always are.

Patty Brady said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:38pm
As so many have written, not only was John a great champion of the cause, he was also just a genuinely good guy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Chris Fasano said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:42pm
I didn't know John for long, but he was someone who made an immediate impression. He was a good-hearted man who was a joy to be around. Thank you John for all your service, humor, and friendship. You will be missed.

Jan & Mary Romanoff said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:50pm
Our condolences to John's family.

John was one of our most respected conservative leaders and always in the forefront of initiatives for a smaller and less costly federal government.

He would expect us to carry on in his tradition, and we shall.

God Bless you, John.

Rhonda Bentz said on Sep 28 2007 at 12:56pm
I am heartbroken. We lost a true gentleman and a class act. Godspeed John Berthoud.

Joyce & Charles E. Thomann said on Sep 28 2007 at 1:02pm
Heaven has been enriched. John Berthoud was a wonderful friend, a great leader and a man of enormous principle. John never considered himself above others. He was a patient teacher and mentor. John Berthoud valued money not for the money itself but -- BECAUSE he recognized and valued the lives that were spent earning that money. It was John's appreciation of this connection between the earnings and the earner that made John such an effective fighter in the battle to allow those who earn the money to keep more of their own hard earned funds as well as to direct where those funds would be spent. John Berthoud will be sorely missed -- but he will never be forgotten. His life made all of our lives better. Thank you John Berthoud for giving so much of yourself to so many.

Stacey Chamberlin said on Sep 28 2007 at 1:23pm
As a wee 22 year old in a bustling new town, John calmly became one of the few mentors that really walked with me through my start in the movement six years ago - until I ended up leaving the world of non profit... which he chided me for, but was so supportive. He is a sweet man who loved his work and passion, and a good and loyal friend to all - politics aside.

John we miss you already.

Norma Jean Sierra said on Sep 28 2007 at 1:25pm
I am in shock, and my eyes are swelled with tears.

I met John for the first time, just this year, at the national conference held in Washington, DC. He struck me as a very ethical, intelligent, unique and professional human being. He was a leader that anyone could depend one (anyone knew this instantly upon meeting him).

I feel that I was very privilaged to know him.

Via Con Dios y Los Angeles, John!

Norma Jean Sierra
Austin/San Antonio, Texas

Dee Richards & Family said on Sep 28 2007 at 2:33pm
Mr. Berthoud's efforts have been greatly appreciated by many. Our sympathies to his family, friends and co-workers.

Joel White said on Sep 28 2007 at 2:50pm
Wow. I've been crying all last night and all day today trying to think about what to say. Good bye is too hard. Farewell is contrite.

How about thanks.

Thank you John for everything you have given us. Thank you for your dedication and work. Most of all, thank you for your sense of humor and wit, and the light you seemed to ignight in many.

I worked with John for about five years. He was my mentor and friend. He first came to me to ask about the NTU job when he was at ALEC to see if I thought it was a good idea. I told him yes, so he joined and more than ten years later the organization is solid and strong. Not just because of the ideas and ideals, but because of the man himself.

My condolences to the staff of NTU and NTUF and to John's family. He was a man of integrety and honor. One to which we should all aspire.

Terry Scanlon, Capital Research Center said on Sep 28 2007 at 3:03pm
We were so sorry to hear this sad news. John was a gread advocate for the Constitution and the control of government spending. He will be sorely missed.

Heather Wilhelm said on Sep 28 2007 at 3:13pm
What a loss. John was a wonderful person with a great sense of humor, and he made a tremendous impact. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. He will be greatly missed.

Bill Berthoud said on Sep 28 2007 at 3:38pm
All of what has been said I know to be true, yet I remain so in awe of my brother's achievments and standing in the world, seeing it all laid out before me like this. Like Charlie, though, I have a different side of John that I can share with you all.

Our family - myself, wife Krissy, son Thomas (8) and son Noah (3.5 mos.) - all loved John immensely. He was always so much fun to be around and have around, even though he was a Yankee fan.

He taught Thomas many important skills on the computer, most notably the games "Jezzball" and "Toast The Ants".

He also taught Thomas all about text messaging, and Thomas now rivals his teen-age cousins in billable minutes per month.

He always brought a fun and mysterious guest with him when he came to visit - "The Knock-Knock Guy", who haunted Thomas' room for the duration of the visit.

For all his laudable accomplishments in his life, I can think of 3 recent victories that truly stand out for me:
1. Locating a place on the Internet where I could get "Brass Bonanza" (old Hartford Whalers fight song) as a ringtone.
2. Taking Thomas and me out for a proper bay crab feeding frenzy at Obrycki's in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend.
3. Admitting that he really does have a favorite player on the Red Sox. I've been sworn to secrecy about who it is. But I don't have to keep secret the fact that he was a World Series co-MVP in 2001 and sported a bloody sock in the 2004 postseason.

We will miss you my brother!

Winford Nettles & Family said on Sep 28 2007 at 6:40pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with John's family and friends in this time of loss. John has given us a marvelous gift, that of freedom and liberty, and, has left more work to be done by those of us who he has touched with his wit, wisdom, and leadership.

Doug Kagan, NE Taxpayers for Freedom said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:23pm
The taxpayers rights movement has lost a noble hero. John Berthoud was resolute and fearless in confronting government waste and fraud. We taxpayers rights activists in Nebraska owe much to his keen insights on controlling government taxing and spending and to his courage in taking on entrenched special interests both nationally and at the state level. His leadership abilities and personal selflessness will be an example to not only current activists but also to future ones as well.

Jodi Bridges said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:44pm
John and I met earlier this year and became very close in the last month. I was really looking forward to seeing him again next week. I am truly heart broken over this loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many, many friends.

John was like no one I have ever met before. The best thing for me was that there was so much more to him than met the eye. He really surprised me in so many ways. As so many people have said, he was amazingly intelligent and incredibly funny - I think he memorized the urban dictionary and used slang like a 15 year old. But he was also caring, sincere, open and honest and I know that only scratches the surface. He really just blew me away.

Reading all of these posts makes me realize how much John was loved by so many. I feel privileged to have known him and to have called him a friend. I miss him and I hope somehow he knows that.

said on Sep 28 2007 at 7:47pm
Steve & Rose Martinez
We will remember him for all the good things he has done for humanity through
The National Taxpayers Union. God called him home to heaven, he will be missed!

M. Kevin McLaughlin, Iowans for Discounted Taxes said on Sep 28 2007 at 10:22pm
Shock and utter disbelief: what else can be said about the passing of John Berthoud? How about this? John understood that life on this planet has been nearly guaranteed for mankind, but not for any nation or individual. He understood that for individuals to have the highest standard of living, each individual had to have control, or take control of their own lives and benefit from the fruits of their labor. To John , that meant fighting big and wasteful government. It also meant bringing groups like IDT together with other tax reformers to accomplish as much as possible: far more than any of us could achieve on our own. And it means that he will be badly missed at this critical time in America.

God bless John Berthoud and his family at this difficult time, and let's carry on with a determination that will maintain Americans and America, making John proud and marking the example he set for all of us.

Jeremiah Kiwoi said on Sep 29 2007 at 6:37am
I have learnt with deep sorrow the passing on of a dear friend,colleague,mentor and a fighrter to making this world a better place.
We in taxpayers Kenya wish to express our sincere condolences to the family and all friends of John.
He was a kind and compassionate friend who shared his vision and willingness to strengthen the taxpayers movement on Africa.
We will miss him but will carry his vision along.His legacy lives forever.

Brian Darling said on Sep 29 2007 at 11:41am
I was saddened and shocked to hear the news this week of John's passing. I have just read all of the postings paying honor to John's life and it can be said that he has so many good friends and a wonderful reputation. I thought he was a great guy and will miss him.

Anastasia Uglova said on Sep 29 2007 at 1:51pm
It took me a little while before I could sit down and write anything intelligible on John's passing. I stayed home from work on Friday just to walk around DC and come to terms with things.

I met John at a Reason event a while ago. We got on very well right away and became fast friends. He would email me these daily links about what-have-you: Russia, communism, social media, Facebook -- and always with a witty remark to make me laugh. I feel cheated out of a great friendship, but also grateful for the time I was afforded. How could this have happened? We had plans, John!

A great many people will miss you.

Virgil S. Sy said on Sep 29 2007 at 3:32pm
The movement has lost a great man whose life long wish was to impart information to all of us who needed help and guidance. It will be hard to replace him. He was truly the greatest.

Jonny Slemrod said on Sep 29 2007 at 4:32pm
A true loss for liberty...R.I.P.

Jim Blasingame said on Sep 29 2007 at 9:02pm
John's passing at such a young age -- with so much important work left to do -- is a harsh reminder that life is short and death is no respecter of persons.

We all admired John's work and leadership. With so many friends and admirers, he knew he was valued and loved.

God speed, John. We miss you, but are taking some solace in knowing that tax reform now has a guardian angel.

Jay Edelstein said on Sep 29 2007 at 11:39pm
I met John 33 years ago after moving to West Hartford Connecticut. I am privileged to have attended school with John for next 6 years. Even in 7th grade you could tell John was destined to do special things. I remember as we approached our 18th birthdays, John making me promise to register as a Republican.

John was a great, great, friend to many of us over the past decades. I am so proud to have known John and cannot believe he is gone. Every time I saw John interviewed on TV or read something he had written I felt like a proud papa.

John, we all love you and will miss you terrribly. But we are also better people for having had the opportunity know you and to be a friend of yours. Cheers John!

Nicki Kurokawa said on Sep 30 2007 at 1:04am
John was one of the happiest, most fun-loving guys I've ever known. I met John a year ago at an NTU hospitality suite at the european resource bank. He bought a ton of beer but couldn't find ice to keep it cold... so we drank warm beer all night. But that was John -- nothing would get him down. He was a real friend. His support and encouragement, both personally and professionally, have enriched my life. I miss you, John. Thank you for everything.

michael lewan said on Sep 30 2007 at 7:32am
My dad always said,"you can trust a man who knows the value of a dollar!"
John was that kind of man---a trillion times over.
He was the first "real" compassionate conservative. A man of values and vision.
His passing leaves us a great void, but his work leaves us a treasure map. If we follow his path America will never lose its greatness.
Michael Lewan

Lynn Gibson said on Sep 30 2007 at 3:55pm
I met John a little over a year and a half ago. Even though I knew who he was long before we ever met, we never really had occasion to meet until a rather humorous incident brought us together at the Heritage Resource Bank event in Colorado. He instantly became a friend.

Over the last eighteen months, I feel like I got to know John quite well - as a man of principle, a lover of freedom, and a mentor to his staff and other colleagues. These qualities have all been chronicled.

To me, he was also a good friend. As a friend, he ministered to me in his own special way. When I was struggling with a job that I didn't like, he offered to make me dinner and "figure out what Gibson was going to do with the rest of her life."

He also offered to serve as a party co-host with several friends, allowing both friends and virtual strangers to descend upon his home in droves - he wanted his house to be a place where people could meet and build community.

He led an ordered life. And, though I poked fun at it at times, I was always rather envious that he was so disciplined. He actually did what he said he would do. A rarity in Washington. You never had to wait long to get a response by email, phone or in person. I think this, coupled with his keen intellect, allowed him to accomplish so much and to serve others so selflessly.

John was a kind, sensitive and loving friend, and it is evident that he inspired this same devotion in others. I hope that he knew how much I appreciated his many kindnesses - and the joy that he brought into my life (and that of so many others).

I will miss him dearly.

American Legislative Exchange Council said on Oct 01 2007 at 6:46am
The board of directors, staff, and members of the American Legislative Exchange Council share in the tragic and immeasurable loss of John Berthoud, president of National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

From 1991-1994, John served ALEC well as its legislative director for tax and fiscal policy. Since that time, John has been a trusted advisor, intellectual confidante, and personal friend to the ALEC family.

John dedicated his life to the principles that ALEC and NTU hold dear—limited government, free markets, and rugged individualism. During his journey, John inspired countless others to do the same. John never met a stranger—he had an uncanny knack of bringing friends together with his good cheer, humility, and a passion for life and liberty. John’s intellectual and personal legacy will live on in the memories of his friends and in the future of our movement.

Goodbye, friend. You will be missed.

Randy Tompson said on Oct 01 2007 at 7:18am
May I please express my heartfelt condolences to the Berthoud family, the NTU family, and to the many others who knew and loved John Berthoud.

I met John through ALEC, and then through his years at NTU. He was of course a tireless defender of the taxpayer.

But he was also an indefatigable friend. John and I travelled through our divorces at the same time.. He was a great source of strength and comfort to me. He was above all an objective and conscious man, aware of what his divorce was doing to him, and determined to make it into something positive. He never lost his caring spirit; each conversation with him had to open with a very sincere "How are you doing?"

Thank you NTU for making this blog available to us. I hope his family draws some comfort from the outpouring of love and admiration I see in the notes above mine.

Rest in peace John. May God be with you.

Adam Bromberg said on Oct 01 2007 at 8:08am
It's been a pleasure to know John over the years and to work with him on issues that mattered to taxpayers and to this country. He was a tireless warrior for freedom, and most importantly, a great person. His passing is a great loss that has shocked so many of us. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his colleagues at NTU.
John, you will be missed.

Karen Bailey said on Oct 01 2007 at 9:09am
I'm not sure what I will miss more about John, the quick call to seek his advice on a policy issue, his stories about his travel, or the ever so familiar greeting to me ("Mzzz. Bailey, what's the word?") at dinners and cocktail receptions.

His friendship and guidance earned him a special place in all our hearts. We'll miss you John.

Amy Menefee, Business & Media Institute said on Oct 01 2007 at 9:28am
I am struck reading these comments that there are so many friends and colleagues of ours represented here. In the small conservative policy world, one person's impact is so great. We couldn't do our work without all of you doing yours -- I'm thankful for that friendly interdependence and for John's embodiment of it.

John was a member of the Business & Media Institute's board of advisers. Though he was quite busy, he was always available to help us out, explain something or comment for an article. He was someone we could count on. We enjoyed having him over for lunch and hearing his dry, witty take on things.

Thanks, prayers and condolences from me, the BMI staff, and the rest of the Media Research Center.

Jim Tyrell said on Oct 01 2007 at 9:36am
Like many others on this list, John provided me with my first opportunity in DC as one of the longest serving interns ever to pass through NTU. Though it was a running joke in the office, I think it's easy to see why someone would stay and learn from what John and the NTU staff had to offer. John’s humor, sincerity, intellect and passion was an inspiration to a confused kid fresh out of college. Thank you, John. My deepest condolences to John’s family and the NTU staff.

Eric O'Keefe said on Oct 01 2007 at 12:11pm
John was a great ally. Principled and effective. I am very sorry for the extreme loss to his family and those who worked most often with him.

The rest of us cannot fill that void. We can only try to learn from his fine example.

Neha J Paul said on Oct 01 2007 at 1:10pm
I had known John for two years and in that short period of time he had earned my respect with his compassion, intellect, witty conversation and leadership. He was a great boss who was always there to listen and appreciate the hardwork of NTU and NTUF staff. I have learnt a lot from him and I hope I can apply this knowledge in the future.

John will be truly missed and I sincerely offer my condolence to all that knew him and loved him.

Dariel Colella said on Oct 01 2007 at 2:36pm
I am so surprised and sorry to hear the news of John's death. As with so many others, John was kind enough to offer me his support and encouragement. His warmth and genuine concern will be sorely missed by many. My condolences to his family and all of his friends at the NTU.

Tim Wise said on Oct 02 2007 at 7:40am
In reading the many tributes to John, I can add that I, too, am indebted to John Berthoud.

Let me first note that I am the president of the county taxpayers association where John lived. It's not just any county, though. Some call it Berkeley on the Potomac. Its spending for public schools is among the hgihest in the nation. Unfortunately, there are many who think it should spend more, not just for its schools but for all those so-called 'unmet needs.'

Even though John's primary focus was a 'national' one, I always felt the Arlington County Taxpayers Association held a special fascination for John. That somehow if the 'tax-and-spend' dragon could be slain in Arlington, then perhaps it could be slain elsewhere.

I also owe John a special debt for introducing me to the larger world of freedom and limited government. Thanks to John, I attended my first taxpayers conference in St. Louis in 2001, and learned there are others not only in America, but also in the world, fighting for freedom and limited government.

Like so many others, I am still shocked by John's death. However, like virtually all others who knew him, I can say that I have been enriched by having known John Berthoud.

Lew Uhler said on Oct 02 2007 at 8:06pm
Prior commitments in California prevent me from joining to honor the
memory of our good and dear friend, John Berthoud. I have known and
worked with John since the early days of his involvement with the NTU
Foundation and ALEC. As NTU's President - and a guiding light in the
World Taxpayers Association - John always kept focused on the salient
issues and pulled no punches on the performances of Congress and its
individual Members. As recently as NTU's biennial conference in June,
and on July 20th when John participated in our conference on the optimal
size of government, he told it like it is with honesty and courage. We
will sorely miss John's leadership in the conservative movement.

Regards ... Lew Uhler, President

The National Tax Limitation Committee

Michael J. New said on Oct 02 2007 at 8:31pm
John was always very good to me and took a real interest in my research about budget rules and fiscal limits. He did his Ph.D. dissertation on the effects of Gramm Rudman Hollings Act back in the 1980s. This summer while I was working on a book project, I sent him an email asking how I could get ahold of his dissertation, thinking I would have to spend a significant amount of time tracking it down at the Library of Congress. To my surprise, John emailed me his entire dissertation minutes later. It is a small example of the kindness and thoughtfulness he demonstrated to countless people during his tenure as President of National Taxpayers Union.

Penn Pfiffner, President of Co Union of Taxpayers said on Oct 03 2007 at 8:07pm
The following was sent on the evening of John's death, along with the NTU memorial, to all Friends of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers:

Dear Friends of CUT,
This news of Dr. Berthoud's death is a terrible shock. He was still a young man, barely into middle age and we would have thought him to have long life still ahead.

He was a key fighter for Liberty in our days, and this country and defenders of freedom in every corner will quickly realize just how much John meant to the movement.

Beyond his work, I knew him to be one of the friendliest, genuine and modest of men, a really decent person. He also personified hard work. Any number of times, working two hours behind him in time zones, I would receive an immediate response to a late-night email.

We have all lost a truly dedicated friend, and I grieve for the loss of those who were privileged to work alongside him and to be led by him.

Penn Pfiffner

Rhys Southan said on Oct 03 2007 at 11:43pm
When I was an intern at NTU, I didn't know John Berthoud was known as the "Happy warrior of fiscal conservatism," but it's an apt description. Whenever I saw John, he usually had a slightly wry, gently amused look on his face. We were there to work, but John's ever-present smile was a reminder that calling politicians out for over-spending isn't just a duty - it's fun. John seemed to love his job and love life, and just knowing he was there made NTU that much better. NTU, fiscal conservatism, and the world were all lucky to have John Berthoud. Anyone who so much as met him will miss him.

Charlie Berthoud said on Oct 04 2007 at 4:48pm
On behalf of our family, we thank the staff of NTU for all their help at this time. And we thank all those who have posted tributes and remembrances. It is very helpful to read through these...

For those who might be interested, I've uploaded some pictures of John. The first file is more recent. The second is from our childhood.



Thanks for the memories, brother. We love you and we miss you.

Bill Berthoud said on Oct 05 2007 at 8:03am
Here are some more photos from the past 6 years:


Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us this past week, both emotionally and logistically. The service and reception on Wednesday were beautiful.

Robert Gordon said on Oct 06 2007 at 2:57pm
I have know John Berthoud over the course of the last decade. I never knew someone as dedicated to the cause of fighting for the taxpayers as John has. I will truly miss the friendship I had with him, and I extend my condolences to his entire family. Maybe we ought to rename the NTU headquarters after John. After all, with all that he did to stand up tirelessly for the taxpayers, even here in Illinois, this will be a great way to pay tribute to a real champion of freedom.

Jeff Dircksen said on Oct 07 2007 at 9:37pm
Our condolences on the passing away of John Berthoud, champion of the taxpayers cause, a brilliant, compassionate and courageous man. May his example shine brightly throughout the world to enlighten taxpayers especially in the less developed countries of the world.

Veredigno Atienza
Philippine Taxpayers Union

Jeff Dircksen said on Oct 10 2007 at 7:20am
Professor, and NTU Board Member, Rich Vedder has a remembrance of John here, http://collegeaffordability.blogspot.com/2007/09/john-berthoud-rip.html

HT: Tim Wise

Larissa Apasova, Ukraine said on Dec 21 2007 at 3:44am
I am so sad to hear about such terrible loss to the all taxpayers networking! I remember John as a great, friendly and sun man, as a very professional and strong
tax fighter

I the name of all Ukrainian taxpayers’ colleagues, International Taxpayers Committee, want to express that we are deeply distressed by the sudden passing of our friend and tax fighter John Berthoud.

We wish to assure his family, NTU, NTU Foundation our sincerest condolence.

We will remember you, John!

Larissa Apasova

International Committee for the protection of Taxpayers rights in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Marc Kevin Wilkerson said on Jun 30 2008 at 12:27pm
I was devistated to read of the passing of my good friend John Berthoud. We were undergraduates together at Georgetown University. We stayed in contact until I move to California in 1996. Itseemed as if we were discussing politics and government waste from the first day we met as Freshman in 1980. A bunch of us attended President Reagan's Inauguration. Not to be out done, even then John used his contacts on the Hill to score tickets to one of the private celebrations. He was indeed an intellectual. He loved to have fun and to hang out with friends and family. He was a loyal friend. He use to call me among other things the "(explative deleted) libral". John was just light years ahead of me, because one of my friends recently called me a "neo con". So I guess John will never know the impact that he had on me. Smile