John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC


My brother Danny allowed me take these photos of his last months on earth at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. I told him I would never show them to anyone and probably destroy them and he said “No, show them. If it keeps one kid from smoking, it’s worth it”

Danny served 27 years in the military before succumbing to throat cancer in October of 2015. He smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 45 of his 58 years.  

He put up a noble fight, I must say, no small thing considering the toll cancer takes on those that it steals and he fought back by never losing his sense of humor. When cancer reduced him to less than a hundred pounds. I came into his room one day and he was reading the newspaper want ads.

“I’m considering selling grave sites” he said “or maybe Jenny Craig modeling, who ever makes the best offer"

Maybe because he came from a time and place where a man took his pain and dealt with it or maybe because or was just one of the last true tough guys, I never heard him complain about having cancer or about what a bad break it was or ask “Why me?”

As the months went by and the pain increased and things became worse and time ran out he grew closer to his faith and wondered aloud if God would hold it against him that he only came back to the church when he was in trouble. I told him God was lucky that he came back at all. I wish I had said something better than that but it made him feel better and I think God understand a Celts bravado.