John “Jack” Bleakley, age 85, beloved father and grandfather, finished his work on earth on November 2, 2018. He was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey, son of James and Rose (nee Divers) Bleakley.
After graduating from Bayonne High School, Jack served in the US Navy from 1953 to 1957 as a Boiler Technician aboard the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Hickox (DD-673). He worked as a machinist for several years before going into business for himself.
Jack married the love of his life, Myrtle Shoop, also of Bayonne, on May 15, 1955. They moved to “the country” in 1960 to raise their daughters, Laurie and Jackie, building a home in Spotswood, New Jersey. It was also in Spotswood that Jack opened his custom cabinetry business, Combined Craftsmen, where he made his living until he closed the business and retired in 2008.
Jack was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. He worked hard at his business, but perhaps even harder to carve out time with Myrt and the girls. He converted a Chevy step van into a camper for weekend family trips. He loved his grandchildren, Josh and Shannon, and shared many hours of laughter and love with them.
His experience in the Navy led Jack to volunteer with the Tin Can Sailors, the National Association of Destroyer Veterans, an organization dedicated to the education and preservation of destroyer history. He was always willing to help out as he was able, often sharing his woodworking and home improvement skills with others, including the church.
Jack nearly always shared his home with a canine companion: Lady, Laddie, Tippy, Casey, Rachel, and most recently Ally. He enjoyed dancing, and hosted many family get-togethers in the backyard. He had a passion for meticulously landscaping his yard and created a wild bird sanctuary there in his retirement.
He was predeceased by his wife Myrtle, his parents, brother Jim and sisters Rose Ellen and Mary. Jack is survived by his daughters, Laurie Ann (Gary) Johnson of Williamstown, NJ, and Jaqueline (Michael) Weber of Jamesburg, NJ, grandson Joshua (Lisa) Weber of Marlton, NJ, and granddaughter Shannon (Mark) Mattera of Clifton, NJ, as well as nieces and a nephew.
A private interment was held at Holy Cross Burial Park in Monroe Township. A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 24, 2018, at 11:30 am at Nativity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 552 Ryders Lane in East Brunswick. Arrangements were entrusted to M. David DeMarco Funeral Home of Jamesburg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Tin Can Sailors, PO Box 100, Somerset, MA 02726 (www.destroyers.org)