John J. Desilets

The compassionate and giving soul of John J. “Jack” Desilets, 76, affectionately known as “Gentleman Jack,” of Ormond Beach, Fla., and formerly of Keene, will be greatly missed with his sudden passing at his home in Ormond Beach on Nov. 9, 2020.

His parents, Joseph R. and Alberta (Schmelzle) Desilets, welcomed their son into the world on Oct. 12, 1944, in Buffalo, N.Y., while his father was serving overseas during World War II. Jack grew up in Keene, attending St. Joseph Regional School, and was a 1962 graduate of Keene High School. Growing up, Jack loved spending his summers and school vacations on his grandparents’ farm in Cowlesville, N.Y.

Jack went on to attend Maine Maritime Academy, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1966. Following graduation, Jack then sailed in the Merchant Marines for almost three years, enjoying many wonderful times and memories created during this time.

Jack married Lorinda Murphy on June 20, 1970, raising two daughters, Melina and Maegan. Tragically, their daughter, Melina, died in a car accident in 1984.

He began his work career in 1970 as a nuclear engineer at the Vermont Nuclear Power Station, now Entergy, retiring in 1996. Wanting to continue to help others, Jack volunteered for 10 years with Meals on Wheels before moving to Ormond Beach, Fla.

Jack will be greatly missed by many here and back in Florida, but more so by his daughter, Maegan Cerra, and her husband, Eric Bay, of Weston, Vt.; his grandchildren, who fondly called him “Papa Jack”: Melina Dosch of Anchorage, Alaska; Erica Cerra of Stowe, Vt.; and Eric Cerra of Weston, Vt.; a great-granddaughter, Athena Dosch; his brother, Mark Desilets, of Swanzey; his sister, Andrea Payne, of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and his two nieces: Hannah Payne of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Molly Desilets of Keene; and his former wife, Lorinda Desilets, of Ormond Beach, Fla. Jack was predeceased by a brother, Gary Desilets; and a brother-in-law, Bradley Payne.

A celebration of life and calling hours will be held for Jack on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court St., Keene. Family and friends are welcome to attend and are requested to please wear facemasks and to maintain the physical distancing requirements. Funeral services and burial in St. Joseph Cemetery, Keene, will be held privately by the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jack’s memory to the Wheels on Meals Program or to Patient Care Needs of Hospice, both in care of Home Healthcare Hospice and Community Services, P.O. Box 564, Keene NH 03431-0564.

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