Today we are saying our official goodbye to the 41 year old only child of two very dear friends. Jay passed away unexpectedly on June 9 at his home, just one day before his 42nd birthday.
I have known Jay since he was a twinkle in his parents' eyes. In his early years there were many weekend days when we packed him up and went yard saling or went to Misquamicut Beach on the Rhode Island shore. He spent many hours after school playing with (and teasing) his pet beagle, Starry. In high school he really came into his own and became a master woodworker. Throughout his short life he created many pieces of wonderfully inventive and outstanding pieces of furniture for his parents, himself, and even for me. (I have a bookcase he made me in my stamp cave.) Late high school is also when he developed a love for working with metals, diamond plating, and stainless steel. His skills in all these mediums grew, and eventually led him to his life's work.
Jay most recently worked for a Boston based company which did work all over the United States. For this work, Jay was the creative genius behind the scenes. He imagined, planned, and created robots to do work using the power of water. He then supervised the use of the robotics at nuclear power plants, at the local submarine base, on barges. along with many other locales all around the United States. He was well liked and admired by so many in his field AND by his family and friends who marveled at his creations. Even when he 'lost me' in the description of his work (I am not very mechanically inclined), his enthusiasm and attention to detail amazed me.
However, it was his role as a father where Jay truly excelled. His son, Brayden, was truly the apple of Jay's eye and the weekends and vacation weeks they spent together were such special times for both of them. They had many traditions they shared, including a love of the outdoors, eating out at their favorite restaurants, mini golfing, bowling, and the exploration of nearby museums. Brayden was truly the center of Jay's existence.
Jay was willing to share time and stories with anyone. He was a loyal friend and a loving son. His integrity was admirable. He also took joy in the accomplishments of others. He used to marvel at my cards and was even pleased to receive a few of my Ukrainian decorated eggs which he proudly displayed in his home. He probably had no idea how his compliments warmed my heart. I am blessed to have received some of Jay's handwork for holiday gifts. These I will always treasure.
His early passing is such a loss for those near and dear, but also for the extended community touched by his personality, warmth, and interests.
My heart breaks for my friends and their grandson. I hope that they, and all of the rest of us too, are able to find comfort in an overwhelming treasure trove of happy memories.
Rest in peace, Jay.