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How to encapsulate two, three or maybe four years into two paragraphs? Most likely they will be long paragraphs for which I apologize. Hi this is John, I had planned on retiring from the School of Dentistry on my 70th birthday in September of 2012–but the plan was delayed when old man Myeloma raised his crazy head during the spring. With consultation from four prominent Myeloma specialists across the country we decided to do a second autologous transplant (even though the maintenance medications had put me back into remission) at the time that my body was the strongest it had been in many years. I had the second transplant in early October 2012. The treatments seemed to be less intense, my recovery more rapid and the response was complete remission at 100 days. Thanks to the generous support of our Dean Marsha Pyle, I was able to maintain my employment and insurance through December. Retirement is wonderful!! I have been able to retain the opportunity of working in the Office of Student Programs with a group of students from Kuwait one day each week when I am in Kansas City.

Retirement Highlights:

  • I get to spend large portions of the months of January through March in Arizona keeping warm and interacting with my brother Norm and his family. Thanks to Norm’s hard work we have just finished restoring a 1959 Chevy Panel delivery truck.
  • While traveling to Stuttgart to spend time with Whitney and her family I have become friends with members of a Fasching / Fasnet celebration club (the German form of Mardi Gras). I have carved a mask and developed an Uncle Sam character who will march in the 2016 parade.
  • In March of 2013, I was recognized with the American Dental Education Association Distinguished Service Award. We had a great Killip family gathering in Seattle to share the occasion.
  • In July 2013, I spent a month taking an intensive woodworking workshop at the Maplewood School for the Common Craft in Greenwich New York. Using all hand tools I came home with a toolbox, coffee table and a rocking chair.
  • Kathy and I traveled to Japan with the Sister City program from Independence to visit our friends the Nomura family in Higashimuryama. We extended to spend time to see rural Japan with Marty and Kyoko Peters and in Yokohama where I gave a CE program for the Naval dentists at the Fleet Activities at Yokosuka and faculty at the Kanagawa Dental College. We then traveled to Kyoto with Masa Furuki to visit temples and see a historic festival parade.
  • In 2014 Kathy and I joined a group of Overseas Adventure Travelers to visit China, and Lahsa Tibet. The walk through the Patiala Place the former residence of the Dali Lamas’ was the high point of the trip for me. Literally the highest geographic point and the most emotional moving portion of our trip.
  • Wyeth and I got to talk with Tom Brokaw on the Today Show Plaza in NYC and I am mentioned on page twenty five of his book A lucky Life Interrupted.
  • In 2015 Kathy, Norm, his wife Val, and I spent the month of May in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and rode the Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town in South Africa.
  • Wyeth and I spent a week in June at the Wooden Boat School in Brookline Maine, stopping through NYC to visit with he and Sarah I arrived home with a beautiful wooden Kayak on the top of the car.
  • I created a day of the Dead Altar for the Mattie Rhodes Dia De Los Muertos celebration out of an old bed head board, chair and 716 bottle caps.
  • I rotate off of the Board of Trustees of the Bodhi Manda Zen at the end of the year. I have had to opportunity to help develop a Zen Meditation and Healing garden adjacent to the Sutra Hall.  It is rewarding to watch our gravel and rocks mature into a very calm setting.
  • I have been privileged to personally mentor Myeloma patients through our Kansas City Support Group and Scott Hamilton’s 4th Angle Mentor program at the Cleveland Clinic. I have gotten to meet and interact with Scott; he recognizes me as the Myeloma man,   and to be a Multiple Myeloma Journey Partner speaker sharing my Myeloma journey with support groups across the nation in a program sponsored by Sanofi Pharmaceuticals.
  • November 24th I got the news from my incredible team of Doctors at the Kansas University Hospital bone and Marrow Transplant Unit that I remain in complete remission three years after the transplant. This is a truly a holiday season to share the love of my family and friends.


Mattie Rhodes Dia De Los Muertos Alter (download video)