To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Those who knew him might say that what Josh Billings is to Lanesborough, recently departed John Stritch is to Hinsdale (Eagle obituary, June 15). In addition to his much celebrated artistry, John Stritch was known to all Hinsdale folk as a humorist. Shady Villa, John and Jeanne’s beautiful historic home in Hinsdale, provided fertile ground for John’s tongue-in-cheek observations.

When asked to speak at a town function, he liked to poke fun at his beloved Hinsdale. "Whenever someone asks me what’s going on in Hinsdale," John would say, "I tell them, nothing -- and that’s just the way we like it."

One of his favorite haunts was the local transfer station. John was always on the lookout for material other people might call junk that he could transform in his backyard studio into fascinating sculpture, some of which adorned his property in Hinsdale and the lawn at DeSisto School in Stockbridge where he taught for many years. Two of John’s sculptures enhanced the facade of the Hinsdale Town Hall for many years.

When townsfolk rose up in outrage against the possibility of the town becoming a regional landfill, John created a limited-edition silk screen poster of one of Hinsdale’s many scenic vistas and donated all the proceeds from the sale of the poster to the citizens’ campaign against the landfill.

Having John Stritch in our midst here in Hinsdale often lightened and brightened the atmosphere. His towering presence, sparkling intellect and mischievous smile invited discourse and encouraged banter, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously. You will always be a part of Hinsdale, John. Rest in peace.

MARGARET ROUSSIN

Hinsdale