Q: How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
A: I was born in Jersey City, N.J., and currently live in Sterling House of Spring Hill, an assisted living facility. I've been here almost nine years now. My late wife and I moved to Spring Hill in 1987 from Garwood, N.J. Doris passed away 13 years ago. We had been married for 55 years.
Q: Who are the members of your family?
A: I have four children. Son John "Jack" Jr. and his wife, Fran, and son Steven and his wife, Mary Beth, all live in New Jersey with their families; daughter Ruthann and her husband, Richard, live in Carlsbad, Calif., with their family, and son Rick and his wife, Fran, live here in Spring Hill, along with their family. I have 18 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Q: Tell us about your career.
A: I served in the Coast Guard during World War II. Afterward, I began working for a lumber/fuel company in New Jersey as an oil driver. I moved into sales, then management and eventually became president of the company, serving for more than 12 years.
Q: What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
A: I volunteer my time here at Sterling House. I help call bingo games, and also play cards and other games with fellow residents. I love to read! I finish a book every week and read the St. Petersburg Times each day. I love watching sports on television, especially baseball. My favorite teams are the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. I also like to watch football. My favorite football teams are the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Until just a few months ago, I was running the "money room" for the Knights of Columbus St. Jude Council's bingo games each Sunday. Running the money room meant collecting the admission receipts and distributing the payments for each of the games/jackpots. I also handled disbursements for services such as police. In general, I balanced the books for that day.
Overall, volunteering has been a big part of my life.
Speaking of volunteering, earlier this year, Terry Harrell, the activities director here at Sterling House, nominated me for state's Resident Volunteer of the Year with the Florida Health Care Activity Coordinator Association — and I won.
The association's goal is "To better serve the needs of residents in health care facilities," and its motto, "Helping Residents Live Life," is at the forefront of all the association's business transactions and day-to-day operations.
Last month, Terry and I traveled to Daytona Beach for the association's annual conference and awards ceremony. I was presented with a nice plaque, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner. It wouldn't have happened without Terry's nomination. I rather enjoyed teasing Terry about our "date" and tell everyone I meet about it. She's a good sport and a good friend. Everyone knows I love to joke around.
Q: Do you have any special hobbies?
A: I was an avid bowler until the age of 82, when I had a hip replacement. The surgery sidetracked me. Now the only bowling I do is using the Wii game.
Q: What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
A: I still enjoy my bus rides to the Seminole casino in Tampa, and occasionally I go on the SunCruz. When the Wellington at Seven Hills (the subdivision across the street from Sterling House) hosts a trip, I'm usually in line to go. When I was still driving (before the hip surgery), after my wife passed away, I was the neighborhood driver/errand runner. Anyone who needed to go to the doctor or take their animals to the vet, or just needed a ride somewhere, they would call me. I was happy to offer the ride.
Q: What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
A: Without a doubt, if it were heavenly possible, I'd love to have my wife back, and the ability to drive again. Since that's not possible, I'll just deal with what comes my way.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
A: Well they know now, but most folks didn't know that I started as an entry driver and worked my way up to president of a company with hard work and dedication.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1438.