John Leary was a man committed to living his life. No matter what he chose to do, he did it his own way. Because of this, he had the respect of everyone around him.
On January 25, John died in his home, after a long and courageous battle with GIST, surrounded by a family that was as devoted to him as he was to them.
“John created a world of love and happiness that he enveloped his friends and family within. That world orbited around his irresistible charisma, his sense of adventure, and his witty insightfulness,” said his wife, Janice.
This “sense of adventure” brought John to places others might only dream of, “from the summit of a 12,000-foot mountain, to cliff diving into the Caribbean Sea.” His passions included hiking with his wife, gardening, dancing to live music, kayaking, boating, fishing with his dad, and setting out on a new adventure every day. For John, life was about what you could do with it. He “believed we are all here to enjoy life and all it has to offer, while honoring our responsibility to care and give back to the beautiful earth we call home.”
And give back he did. John was adamant about protecting the environment and infused it into everything he did. Besides inspiring his family to keep environmentally- friendly homes, John managed to change an entire school. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy (from which John graduated in 2006) didn’t recycle until John went to school there. Through sheer determination and passion, John managed to make recycling at the academy a permanent rule.
It was this passion that lead him through his life. He entered Massachusetts Maritime right out of high school and spent time going to school, traveling around the country and working carpentry and landscaping jobs. Twelve years later he received an honorary degree from the school. Because of GIST, he was unable to fulfill the degree requirement of shipping out to sea but the President of Academy knew how important this was to John and granted him his degree anyway. Also, this spring Maritime Academy will be making a presentation and dedicating their newest shell (boat for the sport of crew) to John’s memory. John made an impact on that school and it on him. It was not just a sense of accomplishment that fueled John’s need for a degree, it was his son Christopher John, who turned one in September 2006. He wanted to show his son how important an education is in life. According to his sister, Kristen, “He was why John hung out as long as he did. His passion was taking care of that baby. He liked to stay at home and take care of his child.”
“He was the strongest, bravest person I ever met; I’m proud to be his sister and I love him.”
John is survived and loved by many family and friends including his wife Janice and their son Christopher John of Buzzards Bay; his parents, John and Judy Leary; his sister, Kristen Lofstrom and her husband, Ray; his nieces, Olivia and Anna; nephew, Raymond Lofstrom of Bridgewater; his paternal grandmother, Marjorie B. Leary of Bridgewater; his in-laws, Rick and Helen Duffy; and his brother-in-law, R.J. Duffy, all of South Plymouth. Donations can be made in his memory to the Christopher John Leary Scholarship Fund, c/o TD Banknorth, 121 Main St., Buzzards Bay, MA 02532.