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Jay G. Widdoes

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Jay G. Widdoes Obituary
Jay G. Widdoes

Jay Gordon Widdoes, 90 years, of Wilmington, DE, joyously passed into the eternal grip of his Saviour and God on August 16, 2016. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, and was raised on the farm of his beloved Uncles, James and Charles Postles in Milford, DE. He was the son of Richard Widdoes and Emma Postles Widdoes, the half-brother to Wendy Widdoes McNicol, the wonderful husband of 62 years to his college sweetie wife, Margie, and Paw-Dad to his little dog 'Mayday', all of whom pre-deceased him.

He is survived by his four treasured children; sons Jim, Steve, and Rick, and a daughter, Mary Ann Redman (Herb). Also surviving are his wonderful grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a host of terrific cousins and extended family members whom he particularly enjoyed seeing during the Clark/Postles reunions. Jay graduated from Milford High School, received his BS in Physical Education from Springfield College, and his Master's plus 30 in Education from The University of Delaware. Jay embodied kindness, humility, patriotism, charity, a never-ceasing mental and physical fortitude, and a contagious upbeat attitude. He embraced traditional Thanksgiving, traditional hymns, and traditional conservatism.

He was fondly referred to as 'Coach', 'Jaybird', and 'Gordon', and possessed a strong zest for life, a hearty laugh, and an affirming hand shake, hug, and smile. He touched the lives of countless people over the years while teaching Phys Ed. and Health at Richardson Park Junior High School, Brandywine High School, and Concord High School, and also served as Athletic Director while at Concord.

Former students recall Coach Widdoes encouraging them to play a sport regardless of their skill level. He saw potential in every student and felt joy in nurturing the non-athlete as much as the state champion. He also relished the opportunity to have had some small part in grooming future college inductees into their respective sports halls of fame. He fully supported his students and kept them challenged. No student received preferential treatment. No student passed his class without a sound attendance record, a proper attitude, a proper dress code, and without having demonstrated a solid grasp of the course fundamentals.

He took students skiing, golfing, and bowling. Class periods were short thus time management on the road was imperative. Mr. Widdoes was skilled in safely driving a school bus at warp speed. Always the dutiful teacher, he made sure such trips weren't just for recreation. Students had to prove their competency through quizzes and exams. He was tough but fair, and he was fun. One former student had him for Phys. Ed. and liked it so much she later became part of the family! Jay regarded Dee Baraba Widdoes like a daughter.

Jay coached, played, and refereed soccer, wrestling, baseball, basketball, and football. During a 1978 Brandywine School District strike, Jay and a few fellow teachers taught classes at Concord in order that seniors could graduate on time. During that time Jay filled in as a substitute coach and took the girls field hockey team to a state win. He attributed that state title to the exemplary work of coach Wingate and the team. Jay helped to produce multiple Brandywine and Concord High School state champions in various sports. In the absence of after-school transportation he drove inner city kids home from sports practices. During his teaching years he moonlighted at Brandywine Raceway and Delaware Park. After retiring from teaching Jay enjoyed part-time work with his son at RS Widdoes and Son Concrete, and also served as a helper with the former Penny Hill Florist and with the former Heatwoles gift store.

Along his life journey there were some interesting and varied experiences: He had two holes in one (one of which was witnessed by his grandson). In a Wilmington News Journal article Jay was named as being responsible for starting high school soccer in Delaware. He was presented with the award for outstanding contribution to Delaware soccer by the Delaware Association for High School Soccer Coaches. A former Richardson Park student and a former Concord student credit Jay with saving their lives. Jay once fell 30 ft. from a tree, and as a child on the farm, suffered a plow horse kick to the head. Some years ago Jay and fellow veterans were honored to receive a state and county police motorcade escort to the D.C. WWII Memorial. During Jay's last couple of months, he was lovingly cared for around the clock by his devoted family.

Prior to his physical decline, Jay was very active. He appreciated all sorts of physical activity. He liked outdoor adventure and enjoyed the thrill of the human hunt. During Mischief Nights in the 1960's and 70's Jay dressed in dark clothing for optimal stealth, and ascended to his porch roof with the garden hose. He unleashed water onto unsuspecting neighborhood mischief-makers intent on soaping his car windows.

While at Brandywine and Concord Jay encountered more outdoor adventure when he happened upon class-cutting students. "Where ya headed fellas?", was a customary Widdoes inquiry heard on the school grounds, along with a Cheshire cat grin and twinkle in his eye. On one occasion he chased a couple of Brandywine students up to Shipley Rd. and the students were so exhausted they asked to be sent to the principal rather than have to do push-ups. Jay was also known to climb atop the Concord pool roof to have a better view of school grounds and of potential students who might need some assistance in 'finding their way back to class'.

Additionally, Jay liked to find his way to the golf course whether in DE or Myrtle Beach. On one particular perfect golf weather day, Jay's car was in the shop. That didn't stop him. He embarked 5 miles on foot along Rt. 202 to Dupont Rd. with his golf clubs and pull cart in tow, and made his tee time. Along the way a few motorists cheered him on. One suggested he get a psychiatric evaluation. Jay had a love of the game and would play any chance he could.

Jay was considerate of others. He declined repeated requests to be considered for the DE Sports Hall of Fame as he felt there were others more deserving. He passed on sundry medical procedures as he felt there were other people in greater need and he didn't want to use medicare funds excessively. He playfully referred to himself as 'the ole goat', yet was forever young in body and mind. Upon honorable discharge from the Navy, he kept his trademark no-fuss military crew cut haircut, and wore it for life. He valued the importance of American History, the military, and veterans. He proudly served in the Navy during WWII, in the Pacific Theatre aboard the Acontius and Varuna. He was a member of PT Boats WWII. He cherished his loving family and many wonderful friends, his pastors, church family and Bible Study group, his Rock golf friends, and his neighbors.

His most important relationship of all was with God, and Jay knelt on his knees nightly for bedtime devotions. He reflected Godly principles in every aspect of his life. He encouraged others to uphold high standards of conduct, embrace a strong work ethic, practice charity, and to support intelligent, patriotic, ethical, accountable leaders.

Jay possessed many wonderful traits and was endeared by many. Former students of his from the 50's, 60's, and 70's corresponded with, and/or visited him over the years. Many students and fellow teachers would develop and maintain strong lasting friendships with him. A few students dedicated their careers and/or life successes to him. Others attributed Jay's strong values and faith as being responsible for influencing their own values, and passed those values on to their own children. One former student (and close friend), recently asked if he could have Jay's Bible when God calls Jay home. Jay felt honored that his high-mileage, beat-up, faded, duct-taped bound Bible would be treasured by his former student and friend. And another former student (and close friend) lovingly told Jay, "Coach Widdoes, I wish I could trade legacies with you."

Such an impact Jay Widdoes will forever have on all who were so privileged to be part of his life. Jay looks forward to seeing his family and friends again when all are re-united.

At the family's request, please wear casual clothing for the visitation on Tuesday August 23 from 9-11am followed by a service at 11am at Brandywine Valley Baptist Church, 7 Mt. Lebanon Rd, Wilmington 19803. Burial will be held privately in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery Bear, DE. Jay requested in lieu of flowers to please make contributions in his memory to Brandywine Valley Baptist Church or To send messages of condolence visit
Published in The News Journal from Aug. 18 to Aug. 22, 2016
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