In November 1964, I was in the 11th grade, beyond high school biology, when I transferred to Corona del Mar High. There I met John Warren Johnson ("Former teacher was sharp to the end," Sept. 1), who devoted time to a Biology Club, unheard of at Hollywood High School. We became friends, and I last spoke to him on the telephone several months ago. He was as sharp as ever.

Johnson was a special man. As a nature lover myself, one could feel his love of nature and educating high school students to appreciate nature. It was not a political "thing" then, but more like art appreciation.

When I was facing my S.A.T. tests I feared that my strength in the sciences was weakened by my dislike for botany. I shared with him my dislike and ignorance of botany, as the S.A.T. date approached.

I vividly remember him saying, "That is because few really know how to teach an appreciation [of it] . . ." or something to that effect.

We sat for hours one afternoon and he gave me a cram course in botany. I recognized some of the questions on the S.A.T. I would not have known except for his gift.

He was a special person and friend in my life.

Although I always felt I would be an M.D. and practice as a G.P. and biologist often accused of being holistic, Mr. Johnson produced many finer biologists. I remember one of his stories about a student who pressed his plant collection with his car overnight before the day it was due (not the proper procedure), and who became a horticulturist.

John Warren Johnson was a special man. If all our public school teachers had the boundless love for their field and the practice of teaching — wow!

I will miss our talks, John.

Roger M. Farel, M.D.

Newport Beach

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Big money will choose the big airport

As the public face for El Toro in the letters column, I must thank Irvine resident Stephen Stewart for his kudos to me for finally writing a letter without my trademark "turn on the lights at El Toro," while I observe the incredible shrinking John Wayne Airport, ("El Toro airport would have been a loser," Sept. 2.) He shows little compassion for Newport Beach residents in the noise zone of JWA, and mixes apples and oranges with Bambi and Godzilla.

Stewart moves to campaign mode by claiming El Toro would have to be built, but it is there. The civilian flight demonstration showed how much we need that international airport with fuel-saving cross runways and jumbo jets loaded up to a million pounds. Nobody is in the noise zone. It's approved by the FAA.

Perhaps Stewart doesn't know, or does not wish to acknowledge, that Irvine and Laguna Beach, two old hotbeds of anti-El Toro International Airport rhetoric, have joined the Corridor Cities Group opposed to expansion of John Wayne Airport, along with Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Tustin, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and the Foothill Community Assn. and Dover Shores Community Assn.. Yes, John Wayne is shrinking while a third terminal is being built, Terminal C.

Irvine, and therefore El Toro, is controlled by millionaires and billionaires where Stewart lives. Sooner or later I believe that the big money will opt for the big airport, rather than succumb to the Southern California Assn. of Governments' mandate to build 90,000 cheap affordable housing units on the buffer zone. If we close John Wayne Airport, the Irvine Co. will get the land back for a shopping center. Thank you, Stewart, for mentioning me in your letter.

Donald Nyre

Newport Beach