I had intended my first blog for beijingkids to be a light-hearted piece, but tragic events have intervened. Instead I want to pay a personal tribute to Dan Sandifer-Stech, who passed away unexpectedly on January 11, 2016. I only had the privilege of knowing Dan for a few months, but like the rest of the YCIS Beijing family I am still stunned that he is no longer with us. Dan and his family were the first friends we made on arriving in Beijing, and their kindness and humor helped us through those first difficult weeks of jet lag and culture shock.
Dan was a wonderfully warm and courteous man, who expressed his Christian faith through his compassion and sense of justice. He was also great company, a witty raconteur who loved to spin yarns in his soft southern drawl. My children adored him, and so did all those he helped and supported in his role as school counselor and university guidance consultant. His sudden and shocking passing lends weight to the bitter truth behind the cliché, that the best are taken before their time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gwen, Lily, Chloe, and Emmie.
About the Author
Andrew Killeen is a novelist and creative writing teacher. He was born and brought up in Birmingham, England, studied English Literature at Cambridge University and now lives in Beijing with his wife and two sons, aged 10 and 6. In the UK he ran a weekly writers’ group, founded a literary festival and lectured in creative writing at Coventry University. He is also a qualified positive parenting practitioner. In his spare time he is a musician and DJ, and enjoys watching soccer and cricket, playing poker, and pontificating on social media. His critically acclaimed historical novels are available from Dedalus Books.