EXPIRED: 04/17/10 – John Warnecke, 91, followed his first love, football, all the way to the 1941 Rose Ball – of which he was a member of the winning team.
Unfortunately, an injury he had on the gridiron kept out of the U.S. military during World War II so he begrudgingly followed his second love, architecture, as a concentration of study at Stanford University. There he met young John F. Kennedy, who was auditing courses at the university.
Warnecke, in some kind of a rush, received his master’s degree in architecture from Harvard in 1942, completing the 3-year course in a single year. He then went to work for his father’s architecture firm back in California before starting his own practice and winning notice for spectacular buildings at his alma mater, Stanford, as well as at the University of California at Berkeley.
He became an internationally recognized for designing the U.S. embassy in Thailand in the mid-1950s. But is probably best known for his work with his old friend, JFK, and helping his save historic buildings of Lafayette Square in Washington, DC.
Interestingly, Warnecke also worked on designing the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. During this project he also kept the flame alive with Jackie Kennedy and the two became an item.
That is, until Aristotle came along.
Supposedly he rekindled a platonic friendshipwith Jackie after Onassis died.
After he retired, he moved to the family estate in Northern California, started a vineyard and wrote his memoir – a book that was unsold at the time of his death called “The Right Place: Life, Love and Architecture.”
A little wine and a lot of memories. Not a bad way to go.