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Memoriam: The Passing of John Pearsall

11-19-2021 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 118

Drawing by Dan Zimmerman

Very sad news today.

I received a phone call from Mike Spurlock, of the olden days of the Oregon Triode Society, notifying me that our dear friend and colleague, John Pearsall, has passed away, aged somewhere in the 80s.

He didn't have many details, but said that he had been told that John had collapsed while doing some banking, and apparently died on the spot. The date was unclear, too...maybe sometime in August, or perhaps in September. He didn't know, and the family didn't mention that detail. (Apparently John's brother died within a few months of John...a car crash. That's a lot of death.)

I knew John from about 1989, in the gestational days before the Oregon Triode Society (and Positive Feedback) was launched in January of 1990. He was part of the gang that had gotten hooked on high-end audio at Hawthorne Stereo over the years. John was an urbane, well-spoken, and incisive thinker with curmudgeonly tendencies, a very long history in audio, and an infectious sense of humor. That laugh of his!

Drawing by Bruce Walker

John worked closely with me for a number of years in the 1990s, getting Positive Feedback well and truly established for its long journey. He wrote some exceptionally fine essays over the years, including this one from Issue 4 that I bring to your attention as being representative of John's voice in writing. This is a reprint of an article that had appeared back in our paper 'n ink days. Read it and learn...


By the early 2000s, John's contact with high-end audio and Positive Feedback began to fade. I heard from him less and less often, until I wasn't hearing from him at all. I heard a rumor that he had moved some distance away, and so I chalked it up to retirement and a move to the hinterlands.

Turned out that John was still living in Portland when he died, and that he didn't live too far from where I am now. He knew where I lived and how to reach me; I am saddened that he never did so. It would have been good to have talked with him again.

Time passes, and, over time, so do family and friends. John was a special person, one that I shall never forget.

I write this so that you'll know just a bit about him, and why his memory is a blessing to me....

Dr. David

Drawing by Bruce Walker