ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, volunteer and worker, Jack Gress. We will remember him forever and will be grateful of the beautiful life he could share with us. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite veterans organization. 

Visitation:  Sunday, 3/22/2020 Funeral Home Brewster, NY 10509 3-7 PM
Memorial Service: 

John (Jack) G. Gress Jr. of Brewster NY, a patriot, hard-working, well-loved husband, and father, passed away peacefully at home on March 22, 2020.  He was 77 yrs old.

Jack Gress, born on November 23, 1942, in the Bronx, NY, son of the late Beatrice Byrne and John G. Gress Sr. He grew up in the Bronx and went to St. Helena's high school.   

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Josephine Gress and his four children; Michael Gress, Karen Merritt, Lorraine (Andrew) Chastant, and Barbara (Dave) O’Hara, his six grandchildren; Michael Chastant, Patrick Chastant, Abigail Merritt, Ryan O’Hara, Lindsay O’Hara, and Ashley O’Hara, and his sister Carol Connolly, his brother Kenneth (Gerry) Gress from the Bronx NY along with many loving nieces and nephews.

His beloved wife, Jo, was always by his side.  Fiercely devoted to one another, they raised four children in North Salem NY, where they lived for 48 years.  To his six grandchildren, he was always “grandpa”, lighthearted and proud. His children would all say that dad taught them a strong work ethic, good morals, and the importance of community.

Jack grew up in the trades working with his dad from childhood as a builder. A self-starter Jack began a successful business, WR Repair Service, now owned and managed by his son Mike Gress.  Upon his retirement, he intensified his efforts as owner-operator of the Someday Retirement Community, Brewster, NY.  

Jack had many interests and it is an understatement to say he enjoyed helping others. He was a true jack of all trades and loved any project large or small.   His commitment to the community was endless. It would be impossible to list all of the organizations that he supported and where he volunteered his time. Jack was most proud of his work with the veterans and honoring of 9/11/2001. If you knew him, you would call him a friend. He will be sadly missed by all.  









Posted by Christine Sellecchia on March 25, 2020
Karen, My sincere condolences go out to you and your family. You are in my thoughts and prays and may your happy memories bring you comfort.
Posted by Phil Masi on March 24, 2020
Karen, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
May he rest in peace knowing the love you and your family had for him.
Phil
Posted by Jason Klatsky on March 24, 2020
Karen, I have been thinking about you the past couple days and thank you for sharing the Linda Ellis poem. It sounds from the comments from Jack's friends and family that he fully lived between the numbers. During this tough time it is a good reminder to think about our dash and the dashes of our families. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and working with you and I can see that the apple didn't fall far from the tree. RIP
Posted by Karen Merritt on March 24, 2020
My father was a hardworking man with the utmost values I will keep with me forever.

This is a poem I have always treasured and still stands true today.
The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning... to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars... the house... the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard; are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile... remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life's actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

My father truly lived an amazing and beautiful “dash”
Posted by Bill Puckhaber on March 23, 2020
Karen, Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
       Roni & Bill
Posted by Gary Forbes on March 23, 2020
So sorry for your loss. Gary & Melissa Forbes
Posted by Judi McAnaw on March 23, 2020
Karen, Abigail and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. May your memories of happier times bring you peace and comfort. Much love, Judi
Posted by Richie Cooperman on March 23, 2020
May Jack rest in peace and bask in the beauty of heaven.
I hope better times are ahead for each and every member of the family.
Posted by Glen Karoglanian on March 23, 2020
Karen, Deepest sympathy to you and your family.
All our thoughts and prayers.
Glen and Maureen Karoglanian
Posted by Heidi Lieb on March 23, 2020
Condolences to whole Gress family, especially to Karen and Mike. Prayers sent to all.
Posted by Denise DAgostino on March 23, 2020
Karen, My deepest sympathies to you and your family for the loss of your dad. Jack seemed like a compassionate, caring person. I pray memories comfort you all. Denise
Posted by P R on March 22, 2020
I did not ever meet Jack. I heard lots about him from his daughter Karen. He was a loving father and grandfather and he will be missed. 

Pam
Posted by Lisa Douglas on March 22, 2020
'Forever Missed' sums it up. Jack truly was a one of a kind man who lit up a room with such a sincerity, interest and passion. He will be sorely missed for numerous reasons by many. Jack had an uncanny view about life that was inspirational...as an example he once told me he never asked 'why'... I will never forget that. Thank you for your friendship. Rest in Peace.
Posted by Terry Yurkowski on March 22, 2020
What a great man!  It was an honor to know him, to have learned so much from him and to have been friends with him. 

I have no doubt he is up in heaven sitting near Jesus and being honored for all he did in this world.
Posted by Dennis Sant on March 22, 2020
….And the word became flesh, love was the word and Jack Gress was the flesh, he dwelt among us, rendering kindness, Generosity, and respect. Jack taught us about love by how he interacted and treated all he met on his journey. The Village of Brewster, Town of Southeast and Putnam County has lost a great Patriarch!
Jack served, respected and gave all of himself for our Veterans, His God, family, and extended family (SOMEDAY COMMUNITY) HE will be greatly missed.
TILL WE ALL MEET AGAIN UNDER THE WINGS OF A Cherubim, please take our love with you, as Jimmy and Denis greet you entering the KINGDOM OF GOD! RIP
Posted by Gene Tullio on March 22, 2020
Dear Jack,

The battle is 'oer, the race is run. May you rest with God the Father, Holy Ghost and the Son.

You were a great influence on my life and so many others as you led by example, stayed humble, worked for our Republic with tireless dedication and devotion and always ready and able to serve. You remain a prince of a man. I was honored to know you.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let the perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Posted by Rosalie Cicogna on March 22, 2020
Our Dear Lord has a very special place in heaven for Jack. He was truly a man dedicated to his family and community. He will Rest In Peace in the arms of our Dear Lord. Sleep in heavenly peace my friend.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Christine Sellecchia on March 25, 2020
Karen, My sincere condolences go out to you and your family. You are in my thoughts and prays and may your happy memories bring you comfort.
Posted by Phil Masi on March 24, 2020
Karen, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
May he rest in peace knowing the love you and your family had for him.
Phil
Posted by Jason Klatsky on March 24, 2020
Karen, I have been thinking about you the past couple days and thank you for sharing the Linda Ellis poem. It sounds from the comments from Jack's friends and family that he fully lived between the numbers. During this tough time it is a good reminder to think about our dash and the dashes of our families. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and working with you and I can see that the apple didn't fall far from the tree. RIP
his Life

Family

He was always strong for his family. You would rarely see him without his wife, Josephine by his side. Jack made it his top priority to take good care of Jo, as she did the same. The two worked well together at home and in business, they had a connection like no other. They raised four children together born within six years of each other. Jack’s actions spoke loudly, especially to his family. There was never a time when they were not taken care of. Growing up with Jack as a father came with an expectation of high moral values, a strong work ethic, and a drive for a better world. His children continue his legacy of motivation and giving to the community, each in their own way. To his six grandchildren, he was always “grandpa”, lighthearted and proud. His grandchildren will always remember him helping them with school projects, especially involving anything mechanical or historical. Jack taught them much and to them, he could do anything. The spirit of high moral ethics will continue to flow through every one of his family members. 

Community Work

Jack was a man of service for all who asked or needed it. He was more than just a volunteer, he made a community out of everywhere he served. Jack devoted thousands of hours to many different organizations. He volunteered with the Lions Club, Southeast Seniors, Elks, Brewster Zoning Board, VFW, North Salem and Brewster Planning Boards, and other groups. Although there are too many to name, he supported and did work for, Coalition for a Better Brewster, Salem Acres, Southeast Museum, Southeast GOP, Team Brewster, New York Riders, Brewster Library and Garden Club, Village of Brewster Highway and Police Departments. Veterans park, Walter Brewster house, Putnam county land trust, founders day and his 9/11 Ceremony were among his favorite projects and events.

Career

Jack learned trade work at a young age by his father, John G Gress Sr. who was a builder. From that foundation, Jack’s success is largely accredited to his drive to pursue the American dream.  As a self-starter, Jack could learn anything he put his mind to. Jack was a Brewster business owner since the early 1970s with his welding rental and repair business, W.R. Repair Service Inc. The business is now owned and managed by Jack’s son, Michael Gress. 


In the mid-1980s, Jack and his wife Josephine saw much potential in buying the retirement community that is now: Someday, in Brewster, NY.  Jack continued to give the residents a proper welcome, continuous up keeping on the property and in the homes and most importantly gave the residents a sense of true community and friendship.  There were hosted events for the residents and he was always “just a call away”. The annual 9/11 memorial in the community was an event that Jack was most proud to host.   

Recent stories

Too many stories to share

Shared by Kevin Byrne on March 29, 2020
I have far too many stories to share.

Instead, I thought it may be simpler to just jot down a relatively small list of examples how Jack helped me and the people I care about:

* Jack volunteered for years to support one of the largest community events in Brewster, formerly known as Brewster Founders Day.

* Jack volunteered, tirelessly, for our military heroes; our active men and women in uniform as well as our volunteers. There are countless examples... That's one reason why he was designated as a honorary veteran by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council.

* Jack volunteered for the Vietnam Traveling Wall in Putnam County, the Wall of Honor in Brewster, the Veterans' Home in Putnam County, as well as dozens of other nonprofits supporting our veterans.

* Jack held an annual 9/11 memorial service at his mobile home park. A ceremony I was blessed to participate in and play the bagpipes at for many years.  Last year, he continued the tradition even though he could barely speak.

* Jack loaned my wife and me a car when my vehicle was in the shop for over a week... He never asked for any kind of compensation. He just wanted to help.

* When a mutual friend of ours, ran for U.S. Congress, Jack provided one of his mobile home units to help give volunteers a place to stay.

* On more occasions than I can count, Jack went out of his way to help charitable causes, both financially and as a volunteer, but I never once witnessed him asking for recognition.

* When I made the decision to run for public office myself, Jack was one of my very first supporters.  There is no way I would be where I am without his friendship and support.

* After an awful car accident, the day after I received the nomination to run for public office, I was partially immobilized. Jack wouldn't let that get me down. He visited me at home and when push came to shove, Jack made sure I had a way to get out in the community and meet with people. He put his personal life on pause and literally drove me around the entire county for months. 

* I can't tell you how many times I called on Jack for advice. At times, we're all forced to make some very difficult decisions in life. In these difficult times, many of us have a person to go to for guidance. Jack was always one of my most reliable sources for wisdom.

Again, this is just a small sample of some of the things I've witnessed from Jack. He was the kind of person who would literally give you the shirt of his back if you needed it.

As I try to wrap this up, all I can think of is that if the world was filled with more people like Jack Gress, the world would be much better off.  R.I.P. Jack. We love you.

-KB

My 16th birthday with my father

Shared by Karen Merritt on March 29, 2020
I have many stories to tell about my father... from helping me start my own insurance agency, reconstruct my first home, second home and my commercial building to always being there when we needed him, he did it all. One of the most memorable stories of him was on my sixteenth birthday. As most teenage girls on their 16th birthday, I was excited to get dressed up and have a nice dinner with my family. My father had a different idea for me... which I now am forever grateful for. He decided to teach me how to change the oil and tune up my 1974 Chevy Impala. I thought to myself "Is he kidding?, I am a girl" and no he was not. To this day, I will never forget that the drain plug size was 1/2 inch and the spark plug gap was .035. Because of this lesson and many others, I was able to show my daughter, Abigail that we could do anything around the house on our own... and with the help of grandpa. I was also able to shock many people thoughout my life about my knowledge of construction, engineering, and the many other traits he past on to me and my siblings. 

Fate

Shared by Abigail Merritt on March 23, 2020
Mom tells a story about when dad was on the road in the early years of the business.  Dad was on his way to a service call. He would stop at payphones from time to time to call the office.   The days before cell phones were like that. You had to call the office to see if anyone had called and made changes to the schedule of work for that day.

On this particular day, dad had accidentally driven past his usual phone booth.  In a decision that would later prove to be fateful, he decided not to turn back but to find the next phone booth to make the call.   

Dad later came across an accident.  A tractor-trailer had come off the road and slid into a diner.  Without a thought of danger to himself, he stopped to help. Dad was like that.  He often put others first, strangers and family alike. The people at the scene were in shock and the electric wires were sparking.  Dad, as he was practical and always logical, first turned off the power to the electric. He then helped the people out of the building.  After making sure there was no one left in the building, and hearing the sirens knowing the emergency workers were on their way, Dad continued on to the job he had.  He was like that. Even in the most distressing times, dad would work. Do something. Get something done. 

On his way back from the job, passing the scene of the accident, dad stopped to ask if everyone was safe.  There was one death that day. The person in the phone booth in the front of the diner. As providence would have it, dad meant to stop at that phone booth at that time but he drove past by mistake.   

A perfect story that represents the person he truly was is this; He was driving past a bar in New Jersey when he saw a tractor-trailer crash into the bar. He stopped and turned off the power to the building and got everyone to exit out of the building safely. He then got back into his car and drove back away. This story represented the person my father was on so many levels. He was the man to stop on the road to help random people even if it may have been dangerous for himself. His instincts were always right, even in dire situations. My dad was humble in the fact that he drove right away without a need for a thank you or recognition. He always put others first. It did not matter if you were a family or a stranger. 

Lorraine Chastant