Asked to write a bio of myself

John Fonner joined the Columbus General Office of New York Life in July, 2013 after a long career in commercial real estate and economic development throughout Ohio and Kentucky. John is successfully leveraging his extensive professional and personal network to bring New York Life’s portfolio of employee insurance benefits and retirement products into school districts, county and municipal governments, non-profits and small businesses. 

Fonner grew up in West Virginia and graduated from the Ohio State University. He served as an officer in the US Army before beginning his civilian career in Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked for Duke Realty, BHDP Architecture and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.  He moved to Columbus in 2009 to work for the State of Ohio at the PUCO and the Department of Transportation before joining New York Life.  John says, “I’ve been a networker and a problem solver my entire career. The insurance industry is a perfect fit for me and New York Life is a great company to work for. I’m glad we found each other.”

John is active in the community as a Vestry member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and enjoys baking bread for communion and for his own table. He hosts a monthly ukulele meet-up and plays traditional country and old-time music on ukulele and tenor guitar with friends and at jams throughout Columbus. He collects, repairs and resells vintage ukuleles and other fine things through his small company, Bud Whitley’s Garage. John frequently wears bow ties because they make people smile; reportedly, John will go to great lengths to make his friends and clients smile.



John Fonner

I am preparing for Sunday’s bible study session; the lesson for this week contains the phrase, “abide in my love.”

“Abide” is one of those words we think we know. One of those comfortable, pretty, old-fashioned, church words that we’re sure we understand when we hear it. We never question it. We let it slide in our own self-confidence. We’ve heard it before. We’re sure we understand it because we understand the context in which it’s used. No need to look it up.

Well, I looked it up. Here’s what Webster’s has to say:

Abide v.  1. To wait patiently for.  2. To persevere under.  3. To accept or submit to.  4. To put up with.

I’ll save the theology for Sunday. Right now I wonder if I have what it takes to use the word “abide” in describing the earthly relationships in which I might venture to use the…

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Where were we?

Seems I find myself in the same old place in a different town.

When the wheels fell off

Last post was in May. Now it’s clear that’s when the wheels fell off.

Back on now. Beginning to roll. Forward. Slowly, forward.

Reject Tyranny

By assigning half of their respective state populations to each of the forty-one Republican Senators, we see that collectively, they represent only 37% of the total US population. Why, in a “representative democracy,” do we accept that politicians representing little more than 1/3 of the total population should control government policy for the remainder?

I thought the original Tea Party was about rejecting tyranny not endorsing it.

The Ten Commandments of Marriage

I. Heterosexual atheists may marry.

II. Heterosexual idol worshipers may marry.

III. Heterosexuals who use the Lord’s name in vain may marry.

IV. Heterosexuals who ignore the Sabbath and do not keep it holy may marry.

V. Heterosexuals who disrespect their parents may marry.

VI. Heterosexual murderers may marry.

VII. Heterosexual adulterers may marry.

VIII. Heterosexual thieves may marry.

IX. Heterosexuals who bear false witness may marry.

X. Heterosexuals who covet their neighbor’s spouse and possessions may marry.

Let’s see, have we left anybody out?

My Christmas Letter

At this time last year, I was three months into what turned out to be ten months of unemployment and recovering from a cardiac stent insertion. As I like to say, it was not a lifestyle that I would recommend very highly. So things are definitely merrier this Christmas. Seeing the turmoil and tough decisions that so many people are still facing makes me realize that I dodged more than a few bullets over the past year.

In July, I moved 100 miles north to Columbus and began work at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) supervising the work of Ohio’s railroad inspectors statewide. I’ve always been an infrastructure geek and railroads have been a particular interest for the past few years. Warren Buffett is buying one of the country’s biggest railroads (BNSF) and he seems to be a pretty smart guy so there must be a future in rail, right? Mostly, I’m glad to have a paycheck, health insurance and meaningful work to do.

Charlie & Claire were both in marching band this fall (drum & tuba, respectively) and are now playing in the school jazz bands and orchestra through the winter. Charlie is in the winter drum line again, continues with his piano studies and is learning to drive (yikes!) Claire is starting to take trombone lessons – I think she plans to boss the boys in the bass brass section when she gets to high school next year. They are smart, happy kids and I love that they both love music.

We’ve all seen tremendous change during the first decade of the 21st Century. I suspect that the pace of change is only going to increase in the coming years. I’m sure we’ll face challenges and opportunities we can barely imagine today.  It’s clear to me that my most important job in the coming decade is to help Charlie & Claire successfully make the leap from bright, happy, talented teens to confident, independent and responsible adults.

Being in a position to do this is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

Love to you all and happy new year!