John C. Loring – Legend in the Pipe Collecting World Dies

John C. Loring
John C. Loring - September 8, 1944 - October 7, 2009

It is with deep sadness and great regret that we must report the passing of John C. Loring. Many people in the pipe collecting world knew him well for his encyclopedic knowledge of Dunhill Pipes and other tobacciana. Word came to in an email from Les Sechler, another well-known and established pipe collector.

Les’ email stated:


Subsequent to my inquiry I have heard from a source close to John that he went into the hospital for a chronic leg infection and the problem could not be controlled, resulting in his passing. There will be a memorial service held tonight in Chicago.

When shall such a one come again? One by one the old guard, the ones who made our hobby what it is today, are leaving us. Guess we might as well admit to ourselves that we are the last real generation of tobacco lovers, or at least we are here in the US. John left a body of work behind that will endure as the most reliable source for information on old Dunhill pipes. He will be missed.


John Loring’s website can be found at:

His Death Notice Reads:

John C. Loring
Loring, John C., Esq. left us too soon the evening of October 7th at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. John was born on September 8, 1944 in Madison, WI to Louise Loring and the late Herbert Loring. He will be missed every moment by his beautiful wife of 40 years, Elizabeth, his daughter Katherine Meredith and his son, Michael Douglas, he will also be missed by his younger brother Bruce, his soon to be son-in-law, Adam, and so many special friends. Our dear John left us with the gift of love, courage, strength and the lesson that the glass is always half full. He will be remembered for his beautiful mind, his unique sense of humor, his devotion to the University of Wisconsin Badgers football team and most importantly, his enormous heart. John’s memory may be made in a donation to the Northwestern Memorial Foundation to honor the nursing staff of the Medical Intensive Care Unit who cared so compassionately for him and his family- 676 N. St. Clair Street, Chicago, IL 60611. A private memorial will take place at a later time and will be announced to friends and family. Arrangements by LAKESHORE JEWISH FUNERAL, GREGORY J. LINDEMAN, DIRECTOR ( 773 ) 435-1558.


I met John for the first and only time at the "Chicago Pipe Show" last May. I attended the seminar he did along with Rich Esserman.

Rich had this to say, "John passed away on October 8th, 2009. He was a pretty private person so we do not have exact details on his passing. About 3 weeks ago John was admitted in the hospital for a leg infection. There was no public funeral.

John was well known for his Dunhill dating guide and his many articles in the Ephemeris. John had developed great knowledge about old Dunhill pipes from the teens, ’20’s and ’30’s and related tobaccos. John had a terrific collection of rare Dunhills including many in his favorite shape, the Dunhill LC (large curve).

I talked to John a month ago or so and he sounded fine. His last pipe was a rare Dunhill quaint shape that I never heard of and prior to that was 1924 Dunhill mag with cracked shank – John just loved these damaged pieces which he would refurbish and smoke.

Frankly, it has not quite set in that he is no longer with us. I enjoyed working him on many of his articles on old Dunhills and ‘debating’ with him on various topics and in particular, when we used to met in Chicagoland." – Rich Esserman


Here are pictures of John Loring taken by the author during his seminar on Dunhill Pipes in Chicago, May 2009. May he rest in peace.

9 Responses

  • Sometimes, it is almost too much to bear to suffer yet another loss of a treasured friend and respected collector. So many pipe smokers I’ve known have lived into their 80s and 90s. Others have been taken from us far too soon, for no reasons related to their enjoyment of tobacco. I suppose I could only be satisfied if everyone lived to a ripe old age of 110!
    Yet I would not trade a moment with the years I’ve enjoyed with my older (and younger) pipe compadres, even if the sadness of inevitable death overtakes us all at some point. Yes, there are times I wish I had become involved in skateboarding rather than pipe smoking, only because I have made and lost so many dear friends over the years as a pipe smoker. But, dude, it wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun.
    John Loring was a loveable grouch, and a consummate collector who left behind a legacy of erudite knowledge about pipes (and Dunhills in particular) that will stay with us in his research, writings, and joy of collecting and puffing. All I can say is that I never took a moment’s conversation with him for granted. I always celebrated his displays of rare and unusual Dunhills. He was a unique character and a respected friend, who I had the pleasure of knowing for 20 plus years.
    I already miss John, but my life is far richer with him having been in it.

  • Thanks for your moving words Tad.
    I only met John for the first time at the 2009 Chicago Show. So my “history” with him is short to null, but my memory is recent and clear. I sat in on his Dunhill seminar, and that is what the pictures above are from.
    I met with him later the next day in the hallway and introduced myself. He was very kind, friendly and accommodating. Even though I just met him, I too am saddened by his passing.

  • I am John’s daughter, Katherine, and I wanted to thank you all for your kind words. My father enjoyed his collections so much and I know that he met so many interesting people and great friends through this fraternity. Unfortunately I will not be carrying on John’s pipe legacy – I am more of a handbag and shoe collector. But have no fear – John did leave behind a son, my brother, MIchael, and while he is a bit of jock, he also has a lot of ‘dad’ in him – don’t be surprised if he appears in your fraternity at some point. After all it, it was my dad’s late father, Herbert, who gifted him his first Dunhill pipe and so his love affair began. If you would like to reach me, my email is – PLEASE NOTE (and I only say this because we have received phone calls and I would like to protect my mother) – as for my father’s collections – they are not available at this moment, but I do promise that when we learn enough, get to it and are advised by the proper people, we will not hoard these goodies from people who would appreciate them even more than us. To us, they are reminders of daddy, to you, we know that dad would want people to continue to collect and come across his great findings and continue enjoying his passion. And to Les Sechler – thank you for posting a note on dad’s passing. Unfortunately, his case became complicated in the three weeks that he was in the hospital. But I will tell you all that my mother, Elizabeth, whom I’m sure many of you have met, my brother and I were there with him when his time came and he did go in peace. Health and Happiness – Katherine Loring

  • John Loring was a prince, and I miss him very much. We traded pipes a few times, and I asked his advice about old tobaccos more times than I can remember. He was incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to answer my questions.
    It seems like yesterday when John, Rich Esserman and I sat down with members of the late Ed Lehman’s family, helping them place a value on Ed’s collection. At that time, John turned to one of Ed’s daughters and said, “You can’t believe how much pleasure and satisfaction these pipes gave your father,” and she replied, “Yes, he really did love his pipes.”
    It is almost inconceivable to think that only a few years later John is gone. I consider myself fortunate for having known him. He made my pipe collecting, and my life, richer and more rewarding.

  • I knew him only by reputation and his musings on Dunhill pipes.
    I am saddened that a giant has departed from our midst.
    I wish to express my condolences to his family, and all those friends he has left behind.

  • Today would have been John’s 66th birthday.
    What a sweet coincidence that a note was posted today.
    Thank you for your kind words and for your heartfelt thoughts.
    Health and Happiness,
    Elizabeth, Katherine and Michael Loring

  • RIP John C. Loring! The “THE DUNHILL BRIAR PIPE – THE PATENT YEARS AND AFTER” has become my bible on dating Dunhill pipes. Some later corrections can be accessed at: Johns’ book, by the way, is much more authoritative than the Dunhill dating guide given in Richard Carleton Hackers’ “RARE SMOKE – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PIPE COLLECTING”. John C. Loring addressed a number of discrepancies in Hacker’s book on his website which can be accessed at: I understand with Johns’ passing, his estate is selling a number of his pipes, a collection that needs to be seen to be believed! I only wish I could afford them, but such is life. Long will there be another collector and scholar of Dunhill Pipes to replace John C. Loring