John H. "Johnny D" DeRespiris
AGE: 80 • Oakhurst
John H. DeRespiris, "Johnny D", 80, of Oakhurst, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. Born on Aug. 3, 1932 to John J. and Irene DeRespiris in Fairview, the youngest of four children. He graduated from Cliffside Park High School, Bergen County Technical School as a bricklayer, and served in the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War
. He resided in Fairview until 1959 when he moved his family to Long Branch. In 1964, he moved to Oakhurst where he resided until his death. "Johnny D", was either family or friend, as anyone who met him quickly discovered. No one remained a stranger. Although a bricklayer, he and his brother-in-law, Neil also owned and operated the Trotters Club Bar and Restaurant in West New York until he moved to the shore area. He then changed careers and entered the field of retail. Working his way up from manager of John's Bargain Stores in Long Branch to district manager, regional manager opening stores throughout the east coast and Puerto Rico and landing an office and showroom on NYC's 5th Avenue as Vice President of Licensing and Franchisers for Steven Brechner Group until the business closed. He partnered with Tony, a friend and former co-worker, to open Village Variety in the newly opened Peddler's Village, Manasquan. After the shopping mall was sold, he joined Krauszer's Dairy Stores, where his hard work and people skills quickly moved him up the ranks until his retirement. In "retirement", he became actively involved in his community. No longer having only time to simply be a member, "Johnny D" as he was affectionately known, became very involved. He took on leadership roles such as President, Commander, Secretary, Sgt. At Arms, and support roles such as Ad Journal Chairman, Festival Organizer, Vendor Coordinator, Parade Marshall. Whether he was selling raffle tickets to raise money for scholarships, selling poppies in front of Shop-Rite in West Long Branch, collecting glasses and donations for the blind or organizing his annual Pilgrimage to The Shrine of Padre Pio in Barto, PA, he did it with dedication, commitment and a smile. A former fireman
in his hometown of Fairview, he was a strong advocate of community service. He worked tirelessly with his fellow club members in the Oceanport Lion's Club, I.A.A.T.O., Amerigo Vespucci Societiy, Figlio di Colombo, Catholic War Veterans, V.F.W
., Son's of Italy, Columbus Day Parade Committee, Celebration Committee, and Young At Heart Club on projects and activities with a goal of making a positive difference. Following a hit and run accident in 1992 in which he lost both of his legs and remained critically ill for several months, it was the love and support of his family, his extended family-the members of these clubs and organizations, and the many people who's lives he'd touched that made a difference in his life. He regained his independence and his physical disability never slowed him down. He will be missed, but John and his wonderful sense of humor will long be remembered. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Kate (Cancio); his children, Janice Martin (John Bartlett), Cheryl Graham, John J. DeRespiris (Christina), Laurie DeRespiris; his grandchildren Dennis (Elle), Kathryn, and Matthew Graham, Jeremy Martin, Nicholas and Danielle DeRespiris; his great-grandchild, Raoul Graham; his sisters, Victoria Breakfield and Marion Fiore, many nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be from 12 noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4 at the Fiore Funeral Home, 236 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst, Ocean Township. Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4 at St. Anselm's Roman Catholic Church, Wayside Road, Tinton Falls. Burial will follow at the Brig. Gen. Wm. C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 350 Provence Line Rd., Wrightstown. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in John's name may be made to the National Center for Padrio Pio, 111 Barto Road, Barto, PA 19504. For condolences, please visit www.fiorefuneralhomes.com