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John Berthoud
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, September 28, 2007

This is very painful to hear...
We are sorry to announce the passing of John Berthoud. As you may know, he has led both the National Taxpayers Union and National Taxpayers Union Foundation over the last 11 years. We have looked to him as a strong leader, compassionate friend, and a fierce fighter for freedom.
The Washington Times has more here and here. Robert Bluey has written a tribute here. Mike Krempasky remembers his friend here. As David Keating writes at the NTU blog, "John [Berthoud] was a friend and a true friend of freedom. No one worked harder but always with grace and compassion. He was both a man of integrity and a wonderful teacher."

I can attest to that.

I met John Berthoud twice. Once, about 3-4 years ago in Richmond, he gave a speech on taxes and NTU’s work and I’d asked him how I could find work at a Think Tank or activist organization. It was growing late and he had to drive back to DC, yet he took all the time I asked to give me advice and encouragement. I’ve always remembered him fondly for that kindness, for his encouragement, for the encouraging emails he sent afterward and for the time he took to talk to some kid with more desire than knowledge.

The second time I met him was a few months ago at a dinner party at the home of Mike Krempasky. There, I had the chance to thank him for his encouragement and to let him know that, small though it may have been for him, he had been important to me.

He was a good man, and he made a difference. I regret that I didn’t know him as well as I could have, and I will miss him deeply.
 
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Why would the head of a nationwide organization with some 330,000 members take the time to help get a puny, local effort off the ground?

Even before I started the Greene County, Virginia Taxpayers Association (some 100 miles Southwest of D. C.) , back in 2003 when said county was still considered rural John Berthoud was there helping get taxpayers informed and energized.

It was a small conference on land rights, school choice, and controlling taxation but John’s talk on how taxes hurt home ownership and families helped spark a revolution that has brought accountability to local government.

Out of it came a new organization that has changed the political landscape in that county.

This was, according to other commentators, one of John’s passions—- create local and state groups all over the country.

Observing John at his last NTUF conference in D. C. just last June one could see his genuine concern for all participants and attention to the smallest detail.

John, you are already sorely missed. Requiescat in pacem.
 
Written By: Mike Smith
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