When something tickled him he seemed to laugh with his whole body.
Four days before the explosion, John K. Van Ess, 67, and his entire family – including children and grandchildren – gathered for a family portrait. It was the first time the family had done that, a friend said. Van Ess attended Oklahoma A&M on a basketball scholarship and in his first year there, played on a national championship team coached by the legendary Henry Iba. Van Ess would have retired from his longtime job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development at year’s end. He is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.