John was Professor Emeritus at George Mason University and the author of "Johnson and Boswell: A Biography of Friendship," winner of the Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize in 2015. John, an English major, graduated from Harvard College in 1960 where he was a member of Winthrop House. He continued his education at Trinity College at Cambridge University in England. John received his PhD in English from Harvard in 1966. He was Head Tutor in English at Harvard from 1966 to 1971 and then taught at Georgetown University from 1971 to 1975 before moving to George Mason University, from which he retired in 2007. In the last few years, John was an avid study group leader with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
A celebration of John's life was held at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Sunday, May 21. In lieu of flowers, contributions in John's name may be made to Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health or Save the Children.