Johan at Pennsic 34, August 2005


Master Johan von Traubenberg, aka John Kasper, died on October 24, 2005.  He had been working at a construction site on October 11 when he fell about 25 feet to a gravel surface.  As anyone who knew him would expect, the fall broke about 10-12 bones but did not kill him or even seem to cause life-threatening injuries.  There was no damage to his spine, and only minimal bruising to a couple of internal organs, so a radiologist friend who looked at the x-rays and CT scans figured he'd make a full recovery  As Johan said while recuperating in the hospital "It's all mechanical stuff.  That will heal."

On Saturday, October 15 his blood oxygenation levels plummeted and they found some small blood clots in his lungs, but they inserted a filter into his vena cava (the vein that returns blood from the legs to the heart) and he improved. Less than a week later they were talking about discharging him to a nursing facility where he could heal for a while before beginning rehab.

On Monday, October 24 around 3:00 pm, I was in his hospital room, helping a physical therapist get him into a sitting position and rubbing his back with lotion, when he became dizzy and keeled back over onto the bed.  A team of doctors rushed in and I was sent to the waiting area.  About 20 minutes later his doctor came out and found me.  Before he said a word, I knew by the expression on his face that my adoring husband, love of my life and best friend was gone.

The preliminary diagnosis for cause of death was multiple large blood clots blocking the arteries in his lungs.  I'm told a full report may not be available until early 2006.

Both  Pittsburgh newspapers ran news obituaries on Johan.  Both have minor inaccuracies, but they're not bad.  Here are the links if you would like to read them:

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 27, 2005

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 28, 2005

Johan's funeral in Pittsburgh was held on Friday, October 28th.  Click on the link to see the program that I created for the service.  When I showed a draft copy to his mother, I was afraid she wouldn't like the photo because of the smart-aleck expression on his face.  She looked at it for a moment and said "He sure looks ornery, doesn't he?"  I said yeah, and she said "Well, that's alright."  Everyone at the funeral who spoke to me said they liked it - they all said "That's him."

Funeral Program

At the funeral there were speakers from each area of Johan's life - the engineering community; Kentucky Avenue School, where our children are students and which he worked so hard to renovate for the past three summers, and the Society for Creative Anachronism.  You can click on a link below to read each of these eulogies.

Rasheed Tunde, Engineer II, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.  John hired Tunde, who is originally from Nigeria, when he was heading up the PWSA Engineering Department.

Eugene Mazza, P.E., Mazza Engineering.  Gene worked with John on various projects for the PWSA and mentored him when he started his own business.  Gene also read a message from Rulison Evans of the engineering firm Gannett-Fleming, who worked with John on design and construction of the Highland #1 Membrane Filtration plant.

Bill Scattaregia, upper school teacher, Kentucky Avenue School.  Bill worked side by side with us on renovations to the school, and taught our older son math last year.

Judy Gruseck, kindergarten teacher, Kentucky Avenue School.  Judy also helped with renovations.  She had both of our children in her kindergarten class and currently teaches our older son piano.

Steven Jensen, aka THL Leifr Hjalmsson.  Leifr was Johan's protege in the SCA.  He and his lady, THL Hrefna in Heppna Thorgrimsdottir, live just down the block from us and are some of our closest friends. They stayed with me through the terrible days right after Johan died and I know they will always be there for me. 

Marion Kee, aka Mistress Marian Greenleaf.  Marian lives in Seattle now but used to live in Pittsburgh / the Debatable Lands.  She's been a friend to both of us for about 25 years.  Marian also read a remembrance by Johan's college roommate, Andrew Kobayashi, aka Master Kobayashi Yutaka.

Click here to see pictures of some projects John worked on, as well as links to newspaper articles about some of them:

John/Johan's projects

Marysville, Ohio

John's family also held a funeral for him in his home town of Marysville, OH, where he is buried in the cemetery of St. John's Lutheran Church. 

A high school friend, Scott Underwood, read Andrew Kobayashi's remembrance, and Scoutmaster John Eufinger reminisced about John's days as an Eagle Scout in Troop 101. John's cousin Dale Scheiderer played organ during the funeral, with trumpet accompaniment by Derrick and Darin Hurst, sons of friends Keith and Patty Hurst.  Derrick and Darin played Taps at the burial while members of a local scout troop stood as honor guard.  Pallbearers included high school friends Jeff Spencer and Danny Daum, nephew Christopher Lake, John Eufinger and Dale Scheiderer.

If you would like to honor Johan's memory, please send a donation to the school that he worked so hard on:  Kentucky Avenue School, 5701 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232.

Her Highness, Tessa, Princess of AEthelmearc, has promised to hold a wake for Johan in the AEthelmearc Royal Camp at Pennsic 35.  I'll post the date and time here once they're determined, and I assume it will appear in the Pennsic schedule at the appropriate time.

And just because everyone keeps asking, the kids and I are doing ok.  Johan had life insurance, and a vast horde of friends who have made sure that I have every kind of help I might need.

Except, of course, for his loving arms around me... and I know they would give me that, too, if only they could.


Last updated 11/02/2005

These pages were created by Master Johan's wife Baroness Arianna of Wynthrope and mirrored with her permission. The original can be found here.