December 24, 2012

Remembering John Pohlen

I am saddened to hear that John Pohlen, Jeanette's dad, died yesterday after a two-year battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

My husband and I first met John and Cindy Pohlen in 2007 when we shared a taxi in the Virgin Islands en route to Jeanette's fourth game as a Stanford freshman in the Paradise Jam. We were delighted to meet Cardinal parents and they were delighted that we knew their daughter and admired her game.

They told us that their two older sons had finished their collegiate sports careers and that they were finding great joy in devoting their leisure time to following Jeanette's career.

It didn't take them long to become key members of the Cardinal family. John's business obligations occasionally interfered, but he and Cindy attended almost all of Jeanette's home games and many away games in the next four yours.

I remember John as a very gregarious person — always friendly and cheerful — who went off and sat by himself at Maples so that he wouldn't be distracted from his intense interest in the game.

I remember that John, who was once a basketball coach, guided the off-season training that helped Jeanette develop into an outstanding basketball player.

I remember John, so proud of Jeanette's fabulous performance when Stanford won the conference title in her sophomore year.

John taking over the role of pink-clad Cardinal dad from John Appel in Jeanette's senior year.

John taking the mike from Jeanette at the postgame meeting after Stanford won its 11th consecutive conference championship in 2011. He spoke of his admiration for the Cardinal basketball program and of how far Jeanette had progressed in her career. "Her first basket was for the wrong team," he said.

I remember Cindy and John ushering Jeanette into Maples on Senior Day.

I so admired John for his devotion to his family and to Stanford Women's Basketball. My very best wishes and sympathy are with Cindy and Jeanette and all their family.


Anonymous said...

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful person.

André said...

A wonderful man and father. Thanks for this Marian. Good to see the photos...

Judy Richter said...


What a wonderful tribute to a very special man and a very special family. My deepest sympathies are with Jeanette, Cindy and the rest of the Pohlen family.

Anonymous said...

We are so incredibly saddened to hear of this loss. Mr. Pohlen was a devoted family man and a die-hard, card-carrying Stanford man fan of the amazing women's basketball team. His spirit will always live on in the hearts of those who had the good fortune to know him. What a delightful, loving and kind-hearted man. Thank you, Marian, for your lovely tribute. Our most sincere prayers are with the entire Pohlen family.

Mo said...


I'm still in shock hearing of John's untimely death. We spent many hours chatting hoops at pubs in the team hotels after games. The Final Four in Tampa was most memorable after being UConn, we stayed up way too late enjoying ourselves. After the A&M loss in Indy, John smiled to me and said it was okay. A truly great man, father and husband. My deepest condolences to Cindy, Jeanette the rest of their family. R.I.P. John

Laura said...

Thanks, Marian. I am still in shock. Such a great family. Always so warm and open and supportive. So much love going to the Pohlen family from the Mantheys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing... and so sorry to hear the sad news. Jeanette was our favorite while she was on the Farm and we always enjoyed talking with her parents and seeing and hearing their enthusiasm for Jeanette and the team.

His business gave the team the "nail" connection which has become such an important part of the Stanford team experience.

Our prayers and best wishes for the family.

Otis Watson said...

Thanks Marian,

John Pohlen was a great Father, Husband, and Stanford Fan. I enjoyed our conversations at past Final Fours and team banquets. My prayers are with Jeanette and the rest of the family.

Otis Watson

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers to the Pohlen family. John had an incredible smile and infectious laugh. He left too soon. Glad that he was able to see his children grow. He looks so proud.

OLPH / Pius X

Anonymous said...

John was a great influence in my life always gave great advice always so optimistic my heart goes out to all those people that had their life influenced by this man. Rest in peace.