In memory of John Soars
1951 – 2012
We are saddened to announce that John Soars died on Friday 24th August. John was diagnosed with cancer last October and had been undergoing treatment. Co-author of Headway, one of the most successful and influential ELT course books in history; he was an inspiration to generations of teachers and students. John was passionate about education and language teaching. He was hard-working and committed, putting his heart and soul into his writing, driven by a need to give his best in everything he did. John Soars leaves an indelible legacy that will continue to inspire and touch the lives of many.
John was wise and thoughtful, and had a profound understanding of human nature. He had a passion for life and learning. Devoted to his family, John also built many friendships over his 28-year writing career with Oxford University Press, and will be much missed. The contribution to ELT which John made with his wife and co-author, Liz, remains unparalleled.
Our thoughts are now with his family, wishing them peace and love at a difficult time.
If you would like to leave a message of condolence please do so in the form below. All messages will be passed on to John's family.
You can read the latest messages that have been left below the form.
A message from Liz Soars
Dear Teachers, friends, and colleagues,
I would like to thank everybody for the many kind messages and tributes on John’s recent death. I have drawn great comfort from knowing so many people appreciate the hard work that has gone into Headway over the years, and the difference it has made to so many lives. My family and I have been truly touched and helped by your words.
Together John and I have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for 26 years on Headway. We have always regarded it as our fifth child! Needless to say, my life has undergone great change recently, and that change is still ongoing. However, I am still wholeheartedly engaged in the creation and development of Headway and its fourth editions – at present the forthcoming Headway Upper-Intermediate. There is a familiarity in the writing process, with the team at OUP, which is giving a much-needed structure to my life.
I very much look forward to our continued collaboration in the teaching and learning of ELT.
With heartfelt thanks and best wishes,
Leave a message of condolence
I was really shocked by this tragical event.I am very sorry. Peace for him and strength for Liz.
Katalin Krompaczki, Hungary
Dear Liz, I'm really sorry for losing John. I truly think that Headway is the best choice for everyone who's going to learn English perfectly. Thank you for your appreciable work.
Fahimeh Mostafavi, Iran
I am sad to read about his death. Thank you for great contribution to the teaching and learning of ELT.
Dory Tran, Vietnam
Belated condolences. Headway is legendary among EFL teachers. A great legacy.
Robert Jackson, Spain
I really enjoy all the books that you wrote. Peace for you and yor family from the bottom of my heart.
Nelson Gomez, Brazil
I am really sorry. I would like to express my condolence to your family. Thanks Mr Soars.
Lesinska Ibanez, Bolivia
I'm so sorry. It's very sad news. I want to thank for sharing experience and knowledge with me.
Katarzyna Perkowska, Poland
The teachers of our school sympathise you in your sorrow. His books are really valuable for our students and we appreciate your common work. On behalf of the group of teachers of English of school # 9 in Fastiv, Ukraine
Stepan Germanyuk, Ukraine
Dear Liz, thanks a lot for your wonderful work "Headway" I'm so sad to hear such knews. This year I lost my mum and elder sister in one month. Wish you the best in everything.
Vera Paley, Russia
It's really very sad indeed, my spiritaul condolence to his family
Mahadi Edi, Sudan
I'm so sorry... may he rest in peace
Gabriele Fusato, Italy
Sad news. Teachers and students alike have enjoyed and benefited from this inspirational series. A marvellous legacy.
Bernie Collins, United Kingdom
Dear John's family, Headway helped me a lot to improve my English. Really speaking Headway has been my English teacher. I was really saddened to hear the news. Please accept our heartfelt sympathies. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Hewage Ravindranath Tharanga, Sri Lanka
Dear Liz, I am very sorry to know about John's passing. He is now with God in a place where he may watch over all of us. Thank you very much for all your hard work. God bless you, your home and everyone around you.
Jose Antonio Vidal, Peru
It is really a very sad news and my condolence to his family. I would like to thank Mr John for his great work because I have been using Headway for more than ten years. He will be always with us.
Ragupalan Poopalasingam, Italy
Very sad to learn of John's death. The whole series of books has been of GREAT support to me in my career : useful to my students and enjoyable to use for the teachers. Many thanks to the two of you and thinking of you Liz.
Anna Asperti, Réunion
It has been a very sad news to know (only today) that John is no more with us. The only thing we can do now is to pray God for his soul, may he have all the peace. Thank you John for all your fantastic books.
Venerando Finocchiaro, Italy
I was really saddened by the news of such a loss, and would like to express my deepest sympathy to his family. Thanks for your precious contribution to the teaching of English!
Marina Leandri, Italy
It is heart breaking to see the flames of John's soul left his earthly body. In my heart he will live as long as I live. Please accept my condolences, and all my students'. God bless his family.
Mehdi Mousavi, Iran
My gratitude for your invaluable contribution to the ELT, and my condolence for the irreparable lost of your beloved husband.
Maria Nava, Mexico
I was sad to learn of this man's death. It comes to us all, but he will be remembered by all the teachers who have had the privilege of using his book. I know from personal experience that my students love Headway.
Deborah Metwalli, Saudi Arabia
God rest his soul. We are deeply grateful to him and Mrs Liz Soars for their invaluable pedagogical contribution to ELT and morals.
Demetrios Hadjinicolaou, Greece
I am very sorry for his death. His work will be living forever in the people who have learnt to love English . Thanks a lot for everything John Soars
Mohsen Saeidinia, Iran
Dear Soars family, it is sad news to hear the loss of such a great teacher. Accept my sincere condolences.
Annayeva Guncha, Turkmenistan
My condolences to his family. And I say thank you for all he did to me and my students through Headway editions which have been part of our lives for almost 20 years throughout my newborn country Republic of Kosovo. RIP Mr John Soars!
Naser Himaj, Albania
I respect Soars contribution to human knowledge. I'm also very attached by the sympathy feeling that every one showed, even they didn't meet him.
Abdulaziz Marshoud, Saudi Arabia
Very sad to hear of John's recent death. Headway has brought English learning to so many learners of different ages in a pleasant, interesting and fun way.
Sandra Hofer, Switzerland
Very sorry to hear about John. I have been using the Headway series for the last 17 years and still is find it to be the most complete set for ELT. Please receive my most sincere condolencies.
Linda Marks De Bazarra, Spain
Dear members of the family, it is so sorry to hear such sad news! I teach English and John's materials have always been so helpful, due to them teaching and learning become so interesting. We pray and send our condolescence to family members!
Umid Porsaev, Uzbekistan
It's indeed a true loss. He has touched our life with the gift of his talent and hard work. He's known as a true professional in Iran among EFL teachers. May he rest in peace.
Amir Shokouhi, Iran
I am sad to read about his death and hope that the Soars family overcome his loss according to God's will.
Luis Ãngel Lozano Zabala, Colombia
I'm sad to know about John's death. I've been studying and teaching with his books for a long time and I feel like I lost a teacher and a friend.
Maria Rita Paluzzi, Italy
I would like to express my sincere condolences on the death of Mr Soars. His books have enriched my teaching life. Thank you very much.
Michela Lo Campo, Italy
My deepest sympathies for your loss. We are forever grateful for the impact that he has made and will continue to make on our lives through his work. May God grant you peace and give you succor.
Claire Romney, Aruba
My deepest sympathy to John's family. Headway has been with me throughout my teaching career. Thank you
Adriana Vilarino, Argentina
I started with Elementary New Headway...and now I am a teacher of English. Many Thanks!
Susan Delprato, Italy
I hope it is never too late to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH! For the textbook, which I do consider the best one in its category. It is a great loss. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Zuzana Kudzejova, Slovakia
I'm sorry for this missing. I'm a teacher and his works have helped me and my students very much. We are near his family and say them our condolence.
Omid Keshavarz, Iran
Thank you for sharing your wonderful work and knowledge with us. You've inspired me to teach with your books. I am sure thousands of teachers around the world will continue to share it with their learners.
Sabia Sezen, United Kingdom
I am very sad to hear this news. Please accept my condolences. John and Liz will be remembered as a great couple and for their contribution to ELT.
Bocola Luigia, Italy
Ever since I started my teaching career, hundreds of my students have easily learned to speak English through the Headway series and I have been able to improve my teaching techniques more and more. It's a great loss for a whole generation.
Maurice Molle, Italy
I'm very sorry to know that he is no longer here to help us in our job! His Headway books are one of the best support in teaching. Thanks for all John Soars did for us and our students.
Tuong Dinh, Vietnam
Thank you, John for your support. The quality of your job will keep you present in our classes through your books. The best tribute we, English teachers could do to John Soars is implementing his ideas and helping our students the way he always did.
Manuel Peralta, Dominican Republic
I'm very sorry to hear about John Soars' departure from this world; he was always my favourite guide and his books always inspired my lessons. Now he will help us from Heaven.
Elisabetta Cavallo, Italy
I was really shocked when I heard. Thank you very much for all your efforts. I will pray for you, I will never forget you. Thank you again and again.
Walid Khalid, Syria
Dear members of the family,
Our thoughts are with you. we are really obliged to you for such perfect job as your Headways. We wish you peace and love.
Sepan Germanyuk, Ukraine
Sad to hear the news. John Soars and his wife Liz inspired many teachers and students with the books. My condolences to the family.
Ron Evans, Czech Republic
I respect Soars contribution to human knowledge. I'm also very attached by the sympathy feeling that every one showed, even they didn't meet him.
Wed Ofie, Saudi Arabia
It's sad read about his death. I learned English studying on Headway and I still use the series... I just have to thank him and send my condolence to his family.
Nanci Silva, Brazil
I'm very sorry to know that he is no longer here to help us in our job! As an English teacher I have found his books one of the best support in teaching. Thanks for all you did for us and our students.
Isabella Maria Rosaria, Italy
It was really sad to hear news of John passing away. As a nonnative english language teacher, John and Liz have been guiding stars in my 13-year experience with their interesting series of books, Headway. May his soul rest in peace!
Jabr Rizg, Sudan
We, ALMutiry family, are terribly sorry to hear the sad news of the death of John to whom we are immeasurably indebted for the help we got from his interesting series of books. Rest in peace, John!
Khalid Mutiry, Saudi Arabia
I am really sorry for John's deeparture from this world, but the memory for what he did for the teaching of English all over the world will last long in our hearts.
Tiziana Corazza, Italy
My heart felt deep condolences to the bereaved family. I am one of the teachers who are using Headway.
Ashajyothi Kokkilagadda, Oman
I express condolence to John's family and thank John for his help to me in English studing. Let the Lord will accept John's soul. With respect and gratitude to John his pupil from Russia!
Andrey Yurchenko, Russia
I attended one of the talks John gave in Mexico some years ago, there I could understand why Headway is the best book I ever worked with. My sympathy to his family and friends.
Idalia Morales, Mexico
My deepest condolence and sympathy to John's family and OUP, and all teachers of English language, the language of civilized and cultivated societies. May this loss bring all the English speaking communities closer together.
Nasrin McGuire, Canada
I am truly sorry for this lost, rest in peace john, a big hug for his family and for everyone who knew him.
Nelson Gomez, Brazil
Personally, I didn't meet the super great late John, but I do realy feel sorry for leaving us because we are accustomed to his writing and his methodology the brilliant one. Please accept my sympathy and my humble condolence.
Khaled Racheed, Syria
Soars and his Headway has been a close friend and teacher during my whole teaching career. He will live for ever with me and my students.
My deepest condolence and sympathy to Soars's family.
Faik Balla, Albania
I've just come across this news and would like to pass on my condolencences. For many like me, who have been involved in EFL for 20 years, the Headway series was a groundbreaking coursebook series and I have always held its authors in deep respect.
Damien Mackey, Spain
Of course for me, John Soars was just a name. But with this name associated with his wife's, I learned to love English and to continue learning it. I wish his family the best for the long and difficult days following their loss.
Vale Le Meur, France
I nerver met John in person but his work has acompanied us in our EFL classrooms for about 15 years. Thanks a lot for such a legacy! My deepest condolence and sympathy to John's family.
Marisol Cortez, Bolivia
Please accept my sympathy, family and co-workers. Mr. Soars has followed me since I started teaching English and was a fundamental support. Thank you Mr. John
Sandra Ferrantino, Italy
Deepest condolences for your loss. Headway has been part of my teaching life for many years and has made a lasting impression on a countless number of students. Thank you, and I will remember him.
Helen Monk, Italy
I am very sorry for his death. His work will be living forever in the people who have learnt to love English thanks to his commitment and his pleasant way of transmitting his knowledge
Isa Ravera, Italy
My deepest sympathy to John's wife and family. I was very sorry to read the sad news.Headway will always go together with the name of John Soars! The family may be proud of the work he left.
Mara Radzina, Latvia
My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved one. The Headway series have been part of my classes for the past 20 years. Thank you John.
Colette Kelly, Italy
My heartfelt and deepest condolences to Mr. Soars' family. His books have had a great effect on me as an EFL language learner and then continued to inspire my students as well. His books will be remembered.
Vera Dugartsyrenova, Russia
How sad to read about this loss. Deepest sympathy to John's family and co-workers.
Freia Haleyt, Belgium
Hi, I'm a teacher from Italy and I have been using Headway for many years. I'm so sad for what happened to John and so to his family. His work will always be a memory of him. R.I.P.
Manuela Arminio, Italy
I'd like to express my deepest condolence to Mr. Soars' family. As kid I began learning English with Headway. Now as a teacher I'm teaching the same book. About 10 years of life with Headway and a great man named "John".
Samir Hassanvandi, Iran
I would like to express to all his family. Thanks Mr Soars for all your contribution in ESL.
Javier Arguedas, Peru
I would like to express my sincere condolences to Mr. Soars' family. Headway has been my trustworthy companion in my teaching career for over fifteen years. Thank you for all that you have done.
Hong Ha Vo, Vietnam
My deepest condolences to your family John. You really wrote a marvellous serious of Headway which I have enjoyed working with my students. I admire your work and your course books and through them you will stay with us for a long time. Rest in peace.
Ljubica Zukovic-Petrovic, Serbia
My deepest sympathy is with John Soars' family. I have used Headway series for many years, and we both students and I enjoyed them. I feel sorry for the great loss.
Melita Parcinska, Latvia
The news of your bereavement has only just reached us. It saddened us both greatly, and we should like to convey our deep and sincere condolences to you and the family.
Jitka and Stephen Finn, ILC Czechoslovakia
My deepest sympathy is with your family. I have just started teaching with your fine course books and enjoy working with it so much. Your legacy will remain. Thank you for all that you have done and making Headway such an interesting program to work with.
Rosi Burgmayer, Germany
On behalf of IATEFL I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to all of you at this difficult time. While I never had the privilege to meet John I feel like I know him a little bit through using Headway for many years and with hundreds of students. I hope you find strength at this time.
Eric Baber, President of IATEFL
The Headway Series has been a great teaching resource of mine. Thank you, John, for this very legacy for the ESL/EFL world. My students and I mourn for your passing. You will always remain in our hearts.
Bophan Khan, Cambodia
John will remain forever in our hearts and minds, his legacy will stay for generations to come. My heart is with you in this time of sorrow.
Magali Trapero Turrent, Mexico
I was heartbroken when I read this sad news. John's contribution to the teaching of English has been invaluable. My thoughts and my prayers are with his family.
Susana Dichiera, Argentina
Deepest Condolences to Mr. Soars' family and friends. The Headway material has been so helpful to the hundreds of students I have taught from all over the world. Thank you. RIP.
Nadia Pack, United Kingdom
Thanks for all the hard work. It has been a pleasure teaching your books.
Deepest condolances to the family, RIP Mr Soars...
Agata Stopa, Poland
Thank you so much for the great material and excellent ideas!!!! Huge loss... :(
Rafaela Krieger, Brazil
ELT has lost a great man. May we continue to learn from his insights into language teaching and learning that made Headway the byword for coursebook quality. Condolences to Liz and family.
Tony Penston, Ireland
John Soars, braces and blue shirts, wearer of fancy ties, with a fancy handmade woollen suit for special occasions – of which there were many – 10 years of Headway, 20 years, 25 years, MBEs, new edition celebrations, teetotal toasts – he always knew what to say ...
John Soars humbled and astounded by Headway's amazing success, proud thank you's to his wife and co-author, her amazing gift for writing, respect and care for those he worked with.
'Anna Rianne!' on the other end of a weekly phone call, 'How are things? How's the family?' Take a look , tell me what you think', 'Lots of love' ... 'Don't work too hard', John Soars, co-author of Headway, lover of dark chocolate and OUP flapjack, and the strongest tea in the universe – no one could make it but him.
John, Liz, and the OUP team ... a zillion emails, draft on draft, many long creative days, many pages, many, many discussions, many editions, a barrage of emotions , highs and lows, a battlefield, a labour of love. John Soars tolerating back pain, standing through meetings, leaning on the back of a chair while we cast and recast words and exercises, glide over the already word-perfect effortlessly, working towards true excellence – each book a special journey.
John Soars – teacher, author, grammarian, researcher extraordinaire with a special flair for reading texts - Romeo and Juliet, St Pancras, Sixty years of flight, The world and universe, Jekyll and Hyde ... how long have you got...? Expert John, 'No, drop quotes don't work like that', 'There are conventions for headings that have to be followed', and following our first, second, third stab at artwork - 'I'm sorry, but no – try again'. John Soars leaping over the intermediate plateau.
John Soars in despair 'It's like you are criticising my children! I'll take it away, I need to look again', John, delighted: 'This is a page that teachers will use again and again!' a proud hand on Liz's shoulder, great satisfaction when things go just right. John Soars – lunching on Panini and fruit, or bizarre Catermasters sandwich fillings, followed by a jaunt round the quad for him and Liz for some air, 5 minutes time out before the afternoon onslaught. 3pm sugar lows followed quick disappearing acts at 4 - 'Where's John? '– momentarily snuck off to seek out someone he wanted to say hi to.
John Soars chivalrous gentleman, door opener, bag carrier, baker of the lightest Somerset apple cake served with frothy coffee offerings - the perfect host. Oxford, One Day Farm, Heavenly Devon, and Downshire Hill. John Soars, explorer of London, with more short cuts to Paddington Station at the end of a busy day than you could dream up!
John Soars, proud dad mobile phone ping-pinging with children's text messages, followed by the drip drip of the keys typing out careful replies. His joy at births, marriages, achievements. Proud husband – true love. His close knit and formidable family ... And John Soars, so very lucky for me, great friend and colleague, who taught me so much, so many memories, conversations, moments, captured and finely bound together between the Headway covers.
Anna Rianne, United Kingdom
What a tragic loss. Please accept my deepest condolances. I hope that in time his family will be able to take some solace from his truly magnificent legacy. He and Liz will be forever remembered for their contribution to ELT Coursebooks.
Diana Freeman, United Kingdom
A huge "thank you!" for all the work, the ideas and energy, interest and commitment to language teaching and learning.
Marina Herbst, Ireland
Headway is the best ever ELT courses. I am sorry, but I am at a loss for words. I would like to express my sincere condolences to John's family.
Omar Chikh Aissa, Algeria
Just starting on an ELT adventure after 20 years of Engineering. Headway will be my trustworthy companion. Thanks for the hours and hours John (and Liz) must have devoted to make this possible. I wish the family courage to face the future.
Rachel Salvi, France
I am very very disappointed with the sad news. I have been using Headway, one of his best accomplishments, since 1991.
Chinzo Tserendorj, Mongolia
Headway was one of the first coursebooks I used when I started out, and in many ways it taught me how to teach. Very sad news about John. Deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
Sandra Kohls, United Kingdom
I'm sure the beloved John will be missed by you, his family, and also by an uncountable number of people who had and have the privilege of learning and teaching with Headway. The legacy of his work is invaluable. May God comfort your hearts and minds. My heartfelt condolences.
Eneias Magalhaes, Brazil
Please accept my condolences, John was an excellent author. My wife learned from Headway and I use the series to teach from. His work willl live on. I am of similar age and have gone through cancer treatment over two of the last three years so I understand your situation. God Bless and strengthen you all. With love...
With Headway I learned how to express feelings, but not these kinds of feelings. It's beyond expression, I wish his soul peace.
Abu Hasan, Bangladesh
My deepest sympathy goes to John's family. A man who with his wife transformed ELT into something much more than vocabulary and rules
Vanessa Hartson Walker, Italy
Very sad. We've lost a prominent author of an outstanding level. My condolences go to his wife and family.
Raycho Ivanov, Bulgaria
I am priveleged to have Mr Soars's autograph on my New Headway Intermediate. I remember his kindness and willingness to understand our needs and concerns. Shall his legacy keep on influencing good English teaching for many generations to come.
Airton Pretini, Jr, Brazil
Headway was always unbeatable, and as such, annoying for the competitors, but much admired by everybody. John's name will be remembered every time anybody talks about the history of ELT. My condolences to the family.
Riitta da Costa, Finland
I was very sorry to read that John Soars passed away this month. Thank you very much, John, for all those great books you wrote together with your wife. You'll never be forgotten. RIP. Thinking of you and your family.
Regina Anders, Germany
I've just taught a two year long course based on Headway and was very shocked to find out about it's co-author's sad demise. Rest In Peace John, and I wish his family patience and strength. You'll always be living with us.
Azhar Hussain, Pakistan
Too sad when some great people who have offered so much and still had a lot more to offer have to leave so soon... My sympathy is with the family.
Georgia Gyftonikolou, Greece
My condolences to his family, friends, co-workers. We as a teachers have lost an extraordinary person too. Headway was a very great book, I still use it with my students. RIP Mr. Soars.
Rocio Aspillaga, Peru
Thank you John for contributing to the ELT world and inspiring many learners and teachers all around the world. Rest in peace.
Esen Metin, Turkey
Liz, my thoughts are with you and the girls. Still remember with such clarity the years at IH London with your gem of a partner in life. Bye bye John, and thank you.
Judy Boyle, Greece
Headway changed the way I taught and made my students adore English. John's books inspired the whole generation of teachers and students and made our "English world" a better place. RIP, John Soars.
Elina Shevchenko, Ukraine
On behalf of BEBC and all specialist ELT booksellers, I just want to stress the immeasurable contribution John (and Liz) made to the field of ELT. Our thoughts go to you, Liz (and the children) - we have all lost a great friend and a good man.
John Walsh, United Kingdom
Thank you very much for your work dear colleague. You helped thousands of English teachers around the world. Rest in peace John.
Alexander Goman, Russia
Headway was one of the first textbooks I used to teach from. My deepest sympathies to family and friends of Mr Soars.
A very sad day for the English teaching world. My condolences go out to his family and friends. RIP Mr Soars.
Torrie Gruber, Switzerland
Headway Plus is an unmatchable series and has excelled in the world of ELT. The author's death is definitely an irreparable loss to the world of English language teaching. We wish his family patience, strength and peace of mind.
Sohrab Khan, Saudi Arabia
Headway helped me learn and improve my English. Thank you so very much, John and Liz!!! I wish his family peace and strength.
Marcelo Camargos, Brazil
I'm very sorry. Headway was like fresh air in English teaching books, so natural , so real... My condolences.
Maria Riera Lavilla, Spain
I started studying English with Headway and I use this book to teach my students. What a sad loss. All my sympathies go to John's family. Thank you for contributing to my learning experience and to my teaching career! RIP, John Soars.
Aurelio Araujo, Brazil
Headway was one of the first series I ever taught with and two decades later I still use it. Liz and John's books have given me so much inspiration in teaching and writing. I'm saddened to hear this news. RIP John.
Andreas Grundtvig, Germany
Headway revolutionized ELT publishing and set a standard across the industry. You touched and improved the lives of millions of people through your work. Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.
Kelly Jennings-Robinson, United Kingdom