John Cullen Obituary, Death – It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of John Cullen, a beloved friend, coworker, and union brother. John, aged 51, succumbed to failing health after a period of illness, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, expertise, and lasting memories in the hearts of those who knew him.
John’s journey intertwined with that of his longtime friend and coworker, Josh Karpoff, and their shared experiences began at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Working during the day at the ProMix rental shop in Mt. Vernon, John showcased his technical prowess by skillfully fixing consoles. But his passion for the world of entertainment went beyond his day job. In the evenings, he would contribute as an associate designer for their mutual friend, Jonathan Edward Hatton, at WBT.
Josh and John’s friendship blossomed during the time Josh was working as an over-hire tech for the WBT sound department while home on college breaks. Their shared interests and love for the industry brought them closer, and they continued to hang out whenever Josh visited home or passed through the city while working for NYS.
Life took a pivotal turn when Josh found himself laid off from NYS, leading to a chance encounter with John in the city. Over a meal, John spoke about his new role at Sound Associates, where he faced the challenge of a heavy workload due to the head tech’s intermittent health issues.
It was during this conversation that Josh suggested himself for the role, surprising John with his willingness to step up to the challenge. A few weeks later, Josh found himself working alongside John, commencing a professional journey that would span almost 12 years. Throughout their years of working side by side, John proved to be an invaluable mentor to Josh, providing him with a wealth of knowledge about the business and serving as a remarkable technical resource.
Despite being entirely self-taught, John possessed an innate ability to learn and adapt, consistently astonishing Josh with his eagerness to acquire new skills. Beyond their shared passion for work, Josh and John bonded over their love for 80’s GM muscle cars, frequently engaging in lively discussions about John’s ambitious plans for his cherished El Camino.
Which seemed forever stuck in the repair shop. Their friendship also extended to their families, with John’s young son, Tony, often joining them at the shop during school holidays, just as Josh had done with his own father during his youth. John’s presence was a constant source of comfort and support for Josh.
Whether it was providing a listening ear during moments of frustration with broken equipment or being a sounding board for design ideas, John was there with unwavering support and wisdom. As life carried on, both Josh and John faced their own health challenges, and their interactions became less frequent in the last few months. The regret of not having more time together weighed heavily on Josh’s heart, but he found solace in the gratitude he felt for John’s mentorship and friendship, acknowledging that he could never truly repay the debt he owed him.