JOHN DENVER
I feel as if I have lost a precious friend. With his music, John Denver taught me to love the earth, to work for peace and against injustice. He was with me at my wedding. He lulled my children to sleep. His message has pulled me through good times and bad. I am fortunate to have had John Denver in my life as long as I did. And, as he told us, "though the singer is silent, there still is the truth of the song."
SARA J. KECKEISEN, Topeka, Kans.

Although many people dismissed Denver and his music as simplistic and unsophisticated, to many others his music spoke of hope and joy in living. Your article reveals a complex man who struggled with life while trying to remain true to the ideals he believed in. He will be missed by thousands of people, and his music will stand on its own merits in the years to come.
LINDA ACKNER NEWMAN Clifton Park, N.Y.

Seeing John Denver in concerts over the years, you could tell he really cared about people and the planet we live on. He was a good and decent person.
CATHY YOUNG, Manassas, Va.

I overheard someone comment to the person sitting next to them, "So John Denver died, the one-note wonder king." I was ready to come back with a quick rebuttal when the companion replied, "Yeah, maybe, but boy could he sing that one note." I couldn't have said it better.
JILL RAMBO, Whitewater, Wis.

I grew up on John Denver, compliments of my dad. He and I spent hours singing and playing John's music on our guitars. Although our relationship was turbulent at times, the music always provided a truce for my father and me, a safe place to set aside our differences and come together. My father died almost 10 years ago, and over the years, when I have wanted to feel closer to him, I have played John's music. When John Denver died, it was like losing my father all over again. I found it hard to explain why a 35-year-old man was crying over the death of someone he never met. But I will never, ever feel I have to apologize for loving John Denver's music.
JAN DAVID FULLER, Houston

Your cover story about John Denver really touched my heart. It is a shame his music seems no longer to be appreciated. It angers me that his clean image and sentimental music were so viciously ridiculed. John sang of the beauty of nature, but today's youth would rather idolize celebrities such as Madonna and Kurt Cobain, whose lyrics glorify sex, drugs and despair.
SUSAN CUVA-STRATTON Stamford, Conn.

I grew up in an abusive home and as a teenager in the early '70s decided that my only way out was suicide. Over several months I stockpiled pills from my parents' medicine bottles. I made plans to take them one night when I knew my parents would be gone and would not find me until the next day. That afternoon, while watching television, I saw John Denver perform for the first time. Two lines from one song hit me like a brick—"Oh, I love the life within me, I feel a part of everything I see/ And oh, I love the life around me, a part of everything is here in me." For some reason, those words made me realize I could survive my situation. I'm now in my 40s, with a loving husband, two great kids and a busy and rewarding life. I know unequivocally that I would not be alive today had I not seen John that dark afternoon many years ago. He may be gone, but a part of him will always be here in me. And I will be eternally grateful.
NAME WITHHELD

DANIEL HUFFMAN
Kudos to Daniel Huffman for donating one of his healthy kidneys to his grandmother. Our granddaughter Dawn was also only 17 when she gave a kidney to her mother, Lorraine, and saved her life. So much negative publicity has been generated about teenagers of the '90s. The public should be aware of how many good kids are out there.
VIOLET MAZZOLA, Cleveland

If Daniel didn't already have such a super grandma, I'd adopt him in a heartbeat.
SHARON ERNSTROM San Luis Obispo, Calif.

DONATELLA VERSACE
Linda Evangelista's gown may have been "thigh-baring," but that ain't no thigh that had us staring. Shame on y'all for pretending not to notice!
LINDA YEALOCK, Beechgrove, Term.