Hundreds of people gathered at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, January 12, to celebrate the life of John Konrad, Vice President and General Manager of Washington’s contemporary Christian music station, WGTS 91.9. Konrad, 43, died at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, January 2, after a short illness.
Pastor Al Konrad, John’s father, spoke in loving memory of a son whom he said approached life with a special kind off exuberance.
“He was special, unique, one-of-a –kind and sometimes exasperating individual. There were times when we asked God, why he had blessed us with this boy, but mostly, we were glad he did,” he said.
Pastor Konrad said he does not understand nor is he able to explain why a young man in the prime of his life with so much more to do, so many things to accomplish, so much life to live, died.
“He was so young. He just lived a little more than half of the promised three scores and ten which the Bible speaks about, he said. “I know there will come a time in the New Earth when I will be able to sit down with Jesus and have him explain it, and I know he will but until then, my heart is empty and I cannot explain it. “
In a powerful tribute to his son and an exhibition of his own faith, the Elder Konrad noted God’s promise to “wipe away all tears from our eyes.” “So goodbye sorrow, goodnight sickness, heartache and pain. Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning.”
Washington Adventist University Vice President for Information Technology, Gregory Ingram, said John was his best friend since seventh grade.
“John taught me how important life is and to stay focused on one's beliefs.” Ingram said. He showed me that one person can make a difference. He did this by the lives he touched and the people he helped. He did this by, staying focused on his beliefs and the way he lived his life. I know this because he made a difference in my life.”
John’s humility and kindness, his talented leadership and love of radio, gadgets and dogs were common themes among those who paid tribute to him, including Washington Adventist University Professor of Theology Michael Kulakov; President of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Dave Weigley; WGTS Program Director Ty McFarland and Assistant Program Director Becky Alignay; student Kevin Hippolyte; Positive Life Radio General Manager, Kevin Krueger and John’s “brother of the heart,” Pastor Terry Johnsson.
Founded in 1957, WGTS is owned and operated by Washington Adventist University, a higher education institution of the Columbia Union Conference.
Konrad, who became WGTS General Manager in 1996, led the station through a transition from classical music to a contemporary Christian format in the late 1990s and doubled the station’s coverage area. Under his leadership, the station grew from 10,000 weekly listeners to over 600,000. The station ranks among the top 10 in the Washington D.C. market.
Those who would like to support and organization that John was passionate about, the family asks that donations be made to All Shepherd Rescue, P.O. Box 23231, Baltimore, MD 21203, or online at www.allshepherdrescue.com.