Remembering John Valiante (With A Very Powerful Video)

The obituary is straightforward, sad and spare.

John Valiante died January 17 in Greenbrae, California. The lifelong Westporter was a singer, songwriter, passionate musician, fisherman, carpenter and a licensed mechanic — “a jack of all trades.”

He was just 28 years old.

“He had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back,” the obituary continues. “He made a special connection to everyone he touched, especially in his bond with animals.”

John Valiante

John Valiante

He is survived by his parents Bart and Anne Valiante; his brothers Buddy and Donny; his sister Jennifer, and his paternal grandparents, Bart and Dorothy Valiante.

The family will receive friends today (Wednesday, January 25, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East). Click here to leave a condolence message.

John’s obituary included a link to a YouTube video. It should be seen by everyone.

In it, John’s former girlfriend Ada Pasternak speaks with raw emotion, 45 minutes after hearing of his death. She mourns his “sweet, gentle, beautiful soul” — and in anguish describes the role drug addiction played in his life.

Drugs had a powerful effect on others she loved too.

“There is an overwhelming drug epidemic happening in the world right now, and I’d like to do something about it,” Ada writes on YouTube.

“I would greatly appreciate your help in sharing this message and raising awareness together to create a change.”

(Click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.)

7 responses to “Remembering John Valiante (With A Very Powerful Video)

  1. A gentle and kind soul indeed. John reached out to WASA a few years ago in regard to a husky he had rescued from a very abusive situation after an acquaintance had “found” the dog roaming. Even with the addiction that was plaguing John’s life and his own personal battles, he recognized the dog’s suffering and chose to help. His kind actions resulted in a joyful reunion with the dog’s real owner who had been frantically searching for him for over a year since he went missing. The dog was terribly underweight with several broken teeth – but he was safe thanks to the intervention of John. He has been in my thoughts and prayers since then and, on behalf of WASA and myself, our sincere condolences to his family.

  2. Vanessa Bradford

    John and Ada’s brother singing together in rehab really brings it home. Such loss for John’s family and friends

  3. I have shared this in the hope it can help another family. So sad for everyone.

  4. Barbara Greenspan

    Thank you for sharing this. The video is very powerful and should be shared with as many people as possible.

  5. Michelle Titlebaum

    Thanks for sharing Dan. Super powerful.

  6. Agree, Ada Pasternak is the role model we all need, you are brave and honest. Thank you, Ada, and thank you, Dan.

  7. This is a heartbreaking story, and I commend Ms. Pasternak for avoiding the euphemisms that often accompany these tragedies. (E.g. so-and-so “died suddenly” or “was found unresponsive.”)

    What we all need to know is:
    – 33,092 opioid deaths in 2015… and still rising.
    – This is up from just 8,280 in 1999
    – Many scientists believe aggressive marketing of prescription pain pills set off this unprecedented wave of drug deaths.

    At the very least, big pharma should be funding a massive public awareness and drug treatment campaign, but does anyone see this happening?

    For an excellent summary of the stats see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/08/heroin-deaths-surpass-gun-homicides-for-the-first-time-cdc-data-show/?utm_term=.ddeaf39af3ca.

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