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John Francis Carey
February 20, 1931 - August 14, 2020
Loved his Family and his Country
In Lieu of Flowers: The family asks that donations be made in Jack's memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Warrior Canine Connection, or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation
Obituaries » John Francis Carey
John “Jack” Francis Carey wore many shoes in his 89 years. He first stepped into his infant booties on February 20, 1931, growing up in Newark, NJ, with his parents, Harry and Rosalie, and his two younger brothers. Trading next to running shoes, he entered East Side High School, where he met the love of his life, Aline Zuczek. The pair were later married on August 2, 1952, after which John traded his sneakers for combat boots when he was called up in the draft. He served as an Army Corporal in Europe during the Korean War, at which time his first child—a son—and his love for the military were born. But as proud as he was to serve, he ultimately returned home and traded his army boots for business wingtips to support and grow his family. He worked at Western Electric in Kearny and attended night school at Rutgers in Newark, all while raising his son and adding three daughters to the Carey family. After eight years he graduated and changed his career path to AT&T, working in Basking Ridge, New York City, and Morristown, and steadily climbed the ranks to become pension coordinator for the entire company.
Through it all, Jack continued to serve his country in any way he could. One of his favorite pairs of shoes was worn serving the VFW in Parsippany for over three decades, where he acted as post commander, county commander, district commander, and quartermaster. He ran the Voice of Democracy contest for local high school students each year, and he was a regular fixture selling poppies around town, and organizing and marching in the annual Memorial Day celebration. He made constant trips to the VA Hospital in Lyons, NJ, to help the wounded veterans there. And in 1995, the township of Parsippany recognized his service for veterans and the community by naming a street after him and holding a dedication ceremony—one of the only times he didn’t want to put on his shoes (as he humbly said he “didn’t deserve” the honor).
Perhaps the most surprising pair of shoes Jack wore were those of an artist and designer. What began as a hobby of oil painting and sketching later turned into Jack’s biggest community venture, designing (as well as overseeing fundraising and construction for) the Veterans Memorial Park and Monument on Rt. 46 in Parsippany. The monument, opened in 2003, is dedicated to all branches of the US military.
But without a doubt, Jack was proudest and happiest to fill the shoes of husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Family and faith were extremely important to him, and he was an active member of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church.
Jack took off his well-worn shoes for the last time when he entered Morristown Memorial Hospital in late July. After a short illness, the Lord called upon him and said, “Jack, let’s go meet your late family, friends, and all the veterans you helped over your many years.” John F. Carey passed away peacefully on August 14, 2020. As he passed into heaven, the very big shoes he left to fill seemed to smile and say “Mission Accomplished.”
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Aline; brothers, Charlie and Tom; children, John his wife Gloria, Dianne her husband Michael, Donna, Lisa her husband Ray; cherished grandchildren, Ryan, Jill, Jennifer, Sean, Danny, Lauren and Brandon; three great grandchildren and beloved granddogs.
There will be a private funeral service for immediate family members. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Jack’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Warrior Canine Connection, or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.