WILMINGTON — John Pilkington Kay III passed away on September 26, 2022 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Just like he dealt with all experiences in life, John managed his illness with strength and grace.
John was born in Kearny, New Jersey on October 14, 1937 to John and Anna Kay; he was the oldest of eight children. John graduated Kearny High in 1955 and was immediately accepted to Kings Point, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He graduated from Kings Point in 1959 with a BS in Marine Engineering, a US Coast Guard License as a 3rd Engineer and as a commissioned Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served for a year as an officer in the U.S. Navy and two as an officer in the Merchant Marine.
John made his sweetheart, Barbara (Bobbi) Rose Kutch, his wife on October 6, 1962 and they welcomed a son and a daughter in Montville, New Jersey while John worked for Drew Chemical and Ameroid Corporations. The family transferred to Atlanta, Georgia and joyfully completed their family with their third child, a daughter.
Over the next 25 years, John worked tirelessly in private industry and ultimately retired as a Vice President of Drew Chemical. John managed and motivated large groups of personnel, receiving numerous performance awards. He retired in 1985.
John then pursued his dream of owning his own family-run business as an owner/operator of two McDonald’s restaurants in East Hampton and Colchester, Connecticut. John and Bobbi managed over 140 managers and employees while they ran their AAA awarded restaurants until they retired in 1989.
Upon business retirement, John, Bobbi and their children all moved to the Big Island of Hawaii, where they remained for 4 years. During that time, John and Bobbi joined the Civil Air Patrol. John became the Deputy Cadet Commander of Seniors and Cadets of the Kona Composite Squadron in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Drew Ameroid sought John out and they relocated back to New Jersey, where John and Bobbi once again became involved with Civil Air Patrol. John retired from CAP as Interim Wing Commander. He also received an Exceptional Service Award, two Meritorious Service Awards and a Commander’s Commendation Award.
In his free time, he enjoyed golfing, travel, reading and cruising with Bobbi. John will be remembered for his unwavering devotion and guidance to family, a great sense of humor and his many acts of service and love for our country.
John leaves behind his loving wife of over 60 years and children, son John and wife, Debora Rector; daughter Debra and husband Christopher Beschler; and daughter Dawn and husband Michael Hudson. Also, his three sisters Marie Daigle, Alice and husband Mark Foster, Dolores and husband Donald Tomace. His brothers-in-law Charles Kutch, Robert Kutch and wife Paula. Five grandchildren, two great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who will miss him terribly.
God steer thee well, John.
A visitation will be held at Andrews Valley Chapel, 4108 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC 28412 on Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. His family will be present to welcome loved ones.
Please send memorial donations to USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation, 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024 or Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.