His Life

A Brief Summary

John was born in Billerica, MA on September 22, 1937, he always loved the proximity of this day to the autumn equinox, when the length of day and night are exactly equal.  He graduated Maynard High School in 1955, as a founding member of the vaunted Trolls (and the rest of you know who you are!).  Excelling in Math all his life, he was accepted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but instead chose to enlist in the US Air Force, serving as an electronics technician primarily in Vermont during the Korean War era.  From there he pursued an Engineering degree at (then) Lowell Tech and went on to lead the design of microwave and millimeter radars for such companies as NEICO and MA/COM in Burlington, MA.  Many of his colleagues during his career remained life-long friends, and he has offered many a story from this time of his life that he loved so much.

John retired in 2000 at a nice young age, shortly after acquiring “Synergy”, a Cape Dory 330 sailing sloop.  We’ve not encountered a sailor that has gleaned more enjoyment from his boat, and he got nearly 20 years of adventure sailing the waters of the southern Massachusetts coast, the ENTIRE coast of Maine, and then increasingly the waters of Synergy’s home port in Biddeford Pool, Maine – a place that has been the spiritual home of this family for seven decades.  Synergy will remain on her mooring this summer, with still the best view of Wood Island Light and surrounding areas.

John also became an active member of the US Power Squadron, having originally joined back in 1983.  He enjoyed many exciting sailing adventures within this community before owning his own boat, none more so than the harrowing voyage to Nova Scotia complete with a fiery rescue at sea (he, of course, did the rescuing!).  He enjoyed teaching very much, and in particular his most treasured topic of celestial navigation.  John served in many positions up to and  including Commander of the local Minute Man squadron.

John met Betty Tompkins of Maynard in 1961 and after a spirited two-year courtship they were married in 1963.  They welcomed their first child, Shelby, in 1966, followed by Steven in 1969 and Samantha in 1973.  They bought their first (and last) home in 1969 in the neighborhood of Indian Village in Acton, MA, where they enjoyed numerous lifelong friends.  In addition to sailing and “anything Maine”, John and Betty enjoyed traveling to other beautiful coastlines in places such as Bermuda, Maui, California, North Carolina, and Key West.

John enjoyed extremely close relationships with each of his children throughout their lives, teaching them everything from card playing to clam digging to home management, and sailing of course.  They are each now successful, independent adults, and they owe so much of their strength to their father.  In return, they provided him six beautiful grandchildren, John William (18), Isabelle (16), Sydney (14), Nathaniel (9), and the wonderful twins Liliana and Allycia (4).  John was the best Grampy these children could imagine, and he loved nothing more than playing with their toys, explaining “how things work” by showing them his toys, and of course, keeping on the family traditions of lobsters, cards, and knot skills.

John will always be remembered for his sharp wit, big smile, and many, many people’s “go-to-guy” for a solution to any problem large or small.  He loved to engage on challenging problems and would often be found in his spare time designing sundials, customizing magnetic levitation train sets, or designing custom nomographs to quick-index someone’s math problem.  As such, he most certainly will leave a void in all the lives he touched, but we also know he would want us all to carry on his traditions in his memory rather than dwell on his passing.