John "Jay" Schwartz

Obituary of John "Jay" Schwartz

John Joseph "Jay" Schwartz, 61, of Fort Myers, FL and 6 Champlin Terrace, Middletown, RI, died peacefully Friday, August 22, 2008, surrounded by his loving family at Newport Hospital, after a courageous 11 year battle with cancer. He was the husband of Roberta (Hoskins) Schwartz. They celebrated 40 years of marriage on July 20, 2008. He always said his wife deserved a medal for her patience and endurance. Born and raised in the Fifth Ward, Newport, RI, he was the son of the late Charles and Edna (Shea) Schwartz. His childhood was filled with laughter and mischief, something that never changed throughout his life. He spent many childhood days playing at Murphy Field and had fond memories of the big 4th of July field day and of the many friends of his youth. There was an infamous incident captured by the Newport Daily News with a picture showing Jay, 'the hero', who had killed a fox. This was big news at the time. Little did everyone know he had 'slain' a dead fox! Graduating from Rogers High School in 1965, he joined the Marine Corps, volunteering to go to Viet Nam, where he was a cannoneer. He later was stationed in Camp LeJuene, NC, Quantico, VA, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He defended the Capital during the riots that occurred after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. He was honorably discharged in October of 1969 attaining the rank of Sergeant. Upon his return home he began work at the Newport Electric Company where he remained until his retirement in 2002. During his 33 years he saw the company go through many changes. He started out working with "Harp" Donnelly as a Utility Man. Jay then went on to work in the Power House and then became a Substation Foreman. He enjoyed the lasting friendship of many of his co-workers. He was always very active in his union - the Brotherhood of Utility Workers of New England, Inc. - Local #335 - and was President from 1988-1991 and 1993-1996. He enjoyed long days fishing with his father and the laughter and talks they shared. Jay spent countless hours around the Ocean Drive, usually getting into some sort of trouble! Jay had a passion for golf. He loved going to a golf course, any course, and meeting new people with whom he could enjoy the game. In 1980 he became a member of Wanumetonomy Country Club, which became his second home. There he met so many people who became his good friends and he was proud to be one of the "Funny Swingers". He was President of the Club in 1998 and 1999 and was on the Board of Governors 1997-1999 and 2002-2004. Jay treasured golf trips with his friends, especially the many trips to the Algarve and Azores. He became a proud member of the Vasco da Gama Society. In 2004 he surprised his wife by buying a condominium unit, sight unseen, in Fort Myers, Florida. They spent several happy winters there enjoying the warm weather. Jay would golf while his wife would shop. It was a perfect arrangement for both. He loved to have his friends and family visit him there. Jay was always proud of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, providing them a fine example to follow in their lives. His grandchildren were amazed by their "Ga-Ga's" magic tricks and had fun playing golf with him in the backyard. Jay was a first rate raconteur and always had a story or joke to share. He had a unique gift for making people laugh and never hesitated to make a new friend. He lived life to the fullest and always found the good in a person or situation, even during his battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during his time in Viet Nam, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Jay leaves his daughters Amy Schwartz Mullen and her husband Dennis, of Portsmouth, RI, and Susan Schwartz of Newport, RI and two cherished grandchildren Molly Catherine Mullen and Connor Shea Mullen. He also leaves two sisters; Margaret "Peggy" O'Brien and her husband Jimmy, of Newport and MaryEllen Williamson and her husband Jack, of Stratford CT, and two brothers Robert "Bobby" Schwartz of East Hampton, MA and Jerold Schwartz and his wife Elaine, of Portsmouth, a sister-in-law, Alice Hoskins, of Portsmouth, as well as many nieces and nephews and countless friends. As Jay said while in the hospital, "Hello, HelloGoodbye." His funeral will be held on August 27, 2008 from the O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. in Saint Barnabas Church, East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI. A service of Military Honors will follow at the chapel at St. Columba Cemetery, Brown's Ln, Middletown. Calling hours will be 4-8 Tuesday, August 26 at the O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport. Donations may be made to the Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties, 1184 East Main Road, PO Box 690, Portsmouth, RI 02871.
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