The following story was submitted by James Hill on November 21, 2013.
I first met John in 7th grade at Westgate, we were both 13. John had just come home from Military School Linsley I believe. His hair was cut in a high and tight, he cut corners as if he were still in Military School. He addressed everyone as Sir or Mam. As the years pasted his hair grew longer and his love of the guitar grew even longer. He often gigged with the rest of the hippies at ELHS. He also frequently played with his Father at Naples on third street. His favorite song was Rocky Raccoon, his favorite group Aqualung, and the most entertaining and politically incorrect thing in the world today, was John’s 1974 imitation of Steven Wonder doing Superstition. John always had a sad quality about him that gave his music a soul and depth, I haven’t heard in a long time. The summer he died I had crashed my Mountain Bike and broke both of my arms, precluding me playing at his jam in Thompson Park. I would have played “Shooting Star” truly John’s story. Johnny’s life passed him by like awarm summer day, If you listen to the wind you can still hear him play.
We are looking for more information on John that can be included here. If you have any information you can contribute, including photos or stories, please email them to Amy Hissom-Daugherty.
Thank you for sharing about my very talented brother, Johnny. His first garage band, “The New Generation,” is my first memory of how talented my brother was. I will be send a video very soon so you call can listen to him sign and play guitar. He plays everything from Eric Clapton to Elvis on this tape. You may not know this, but Johnny was also very athletic. He had 8 trophies in basketball. He stuttered as a young boy, but when he sang, you would never know it. His memorial service at Thompson Park truly touched my heart. At least 50 people came out, many of them musicians, who brought their instruments and played in the same pavilion where Johnny played as a teenager. He is jamming up in heaven now with his Brother, Paul, my Dad, John, and his two uncles, Phillip and Alfred. I always said he could have truly made it in the music business. He was a big fish in a small pond…but his music lives on…….
His sister, Cathy
Cathy, thank you so much for posting your message. I remember your brother well. He played music in my childhood home when I was a young girl. I still live in that house today. I am so looking forward to seeing your video. With your permission, I’d love to add it to his page here on our website. We have a page for Paul as well. Any video, pictures, articles you have of either of them, please send them if you can get them digitized so we can add them to the site. Did your dad play music as well? I can’t remember. If so, I would create a page for him as well. I just need information for the pages. And anything you would like us to add on these pages (your stories of them, etc.) please don’t hesitate to share them with us. We will definitely add anything you send with your permission. You can send your stuff by email directly to me at email@example.com. God Bless You!
Being from Midland I knew the Celli family pretty well. I went to school with Paul until he left Midland. John, I got to know through music. He was a beautiful, tortured soul with the voice of an angel! He and Paul were incredible musicians. They were not big talkers but when it came to music…you could see and hear anything you needed to know. John once sang Let it Be, by the Beatles for me at a rehearsal. I don’t think I will ever forget those moments. I will always grieve Johnny’s death…he was truly beautiful to me.