John W. "Jack" Vandervort
1933 - 2021
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John W. "Jack" Vandervort

Naples - On Saturday January 16, 2021, Jack Vandervort of Naples, FL peacefully passed at the age of 87, after a valiant two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, surrounded by his loving family. Jack, a man loved by so many, genuinely enjoyed sharing stories and making connections. One of his favorite ways to make connections with others included asking the question "So, where are you from?" Now, let us share with you Jack's journey. On July 7, 1933, in State College, PA, he was born to John Vandervort and Helen Manning Bull Vandervort. When he was a teenager, Jack's family moved to Ithaca, NY, where he graduated from Ithaca High School. Jack then attended Wake Forest and Cornell Universities. Jack moved to Albany, NY at the young age of 26 to work for the New York Republican State Committee. It was there that he met his wife, Gayle Brandow Vandervort, of 60 years. They were introduced by Gayle's mother, Jane, a Republican State Committee staff member. Thus, began their loving journey together, and later, the creation of their beautiful family. Jack was a true icon in New York's political world going back to the 1950's. He worked on numerous political campaigns over the years, beginning with Dwight Eisenhower's re-election campaign in 1956. He was Nelson A. Rockefeller's only advance man in his first election campaign and served as Executive Director of the NY Republican State Committee under six State Chairs. Jack built many personal connections throughout these political endeavors, which impacted the lives of many across the Empire State and beyond. In May of 1973, Jack moved his family to Manlius to work for Carrier Corporation, where he served as Corporate Vice President of Public and Government Relations from 1977 to 1986. Jack was very proud of the many successful projects and accomplishments he worked on over the years. Most notably, Jack was instrumental in securing state funding for the High-Tech Center in Syracuse and the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University. Jack also served on various boards of directors and committees including Clarkson University's School of Management Advisory Council, Regent of Le Moyne College, Siena College's Board of Associate Trustees, the NYS Trooper Foundation, and the Board of Governors of the Child's Hospital. He was very involved in the formation of the Business Council of New York State, and sat on several of their key committees. Jack was the co-chair of the inaugural Carrier Senior Golf Classic, a signature PGA senior tour event, held at Lafayette Country Club, Syracuse, NY. His involvement with the Carrier Classic resulted in him forming lifelong friendships with many of the Senior PGA tour players. This is another example of Jack's innate ability to form friendships that last a lifetime. In 1986, he and Gayle moved back to Albany where Jack started his own lobbying firm, John W. Vandervort Consultants. After taking early retirement from Carrier, Jack parlayed his 30+ years of political experience into building his new venture with his sons, Jay and Todd. Together they built a lucrative family business that is still in existence today, run by his son, Todd and daughter-in-law, Margaret. When Jack wasn't working, he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his loving family and friends at his vacation home in Manchester, VT. He also loved his time in Naples, FL, where he and Gayle moved full-time in 2014. His favorite retirement hobby was playing golf at Royal Wood Golf & Country Club. Golf...well that's another story. His style was the same as his character, straight and right down the middle. And what about those ten-foot gimmies? Nobody enjoyed playing golf more than Jack. Golf for Jack was more about spending time with family and friends, than about his score. Jack, a class act from start to finish, had a charismatic personality unlike any other. He had a remarkable capacity for instilling calm and balance into every situation. Jack, and his wife Gayle, also had an innate and endearing ability to open their hearts and their homes to anyone and everyone. All who crossed paths with them quickly became dear friends. Jack is survived by his wife Gayle, who resides in Naples, FL; four children, Jay (Christine), Todd (Margaret), Holly (Jeff Johns), and Amy (Celeste Foley); and four grandchildren, Jake, Morgan (Kevin Crowley), John "Jack" II, and Jane. He was predeceased by his sister Phebe Goldstein. No evening was complete without Jack's favorite cocktail- Vodka on the rocks, filled to the rim with ice, and a splash, (or as he would say a "tiny little pinch") of Rose's lime juice. So please join us in raising a glass in honor of our Giant of a Man named Jack and a life well lived. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date in both Albany, NY and Naples, FL. In Lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the following charities: Avow Hospice, Naples FL (; Capital District YMCA Circle of Champs, Albany, NY (

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Published in Naples Daily News from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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14 entries
February 7, 2021
Please accept my sympathy. Jack did it all and got it done. He was devoted to his family while at the same time making good things happen benefitting others. Knowing Jack was a lifetime learning experience. Once he was a friend, he was a loyal friend. It was an honor to be his friend Bob Moses
Robert Moses
January 29, 2021
I have known the Vandervort's for almost 50 years. Many fond memories at their home in Manlius, New York. Mr. Vandervort was a "gentle giant". Mr. and Mrs. Vandervort raised an incredible family. My heart goes out to the family. May his incredible memories help you all through this difficult time. Love you, XO
Lisa Keuker
January 22, 2021
In the short time I was able to meet him I can tell you this. I’ve met his family and they are all super people
So Jack you can Rest In Peace knowing you’re children are polite respectful people. You must have been very proud! Syracuse thanks you for all the hard work making the Carrier Dome a reality!
You were a class act!
James Payne
January 21, 2021
Our most heartfelt condolences to the Vandervort family through this difficult time. We met Jack at one of the many picnics thrown by Jay and Christine. He had some great stories and was an extremely interesting and warm person to talk to. May he Rest In Peace. Our prayers are going out to the entire family. God Bless.
Dan & Joyce Leto
January 20, 2021
I have very fond memories Of my years working in the public relations department at Carrier Tower downtown when we reported to Jack. I remember him as a very kind and considerate boss.
Selma Salmons
January 20, 2021
My deepest sympathy to the family. Jack was the kindest man and a pleasure to work along side. Another great loss for the “Carrier” family.
Christine Wierzbicki
January 19, 2021
As coworkers at Carrier Corporation we came to know and love Jack, in fact, jack and my husband Bob were born on the same day 10 years apart. We enjoyed the many adventures with Jack and his staff. He will be missed and remembered as the days go by.

Bob and Ruth Johnson
Bob Johnson
January 19, 2021
Speaking for my parents, Tom and Elsie Todd and all of our family, we extend our warmest condolences to Gayle and all the Vandervort family. We were all blessed to have been touched by Jack, a wonderful and good man. May he rest in peace.
John Todd
January 19, 2021
Sending love and sympathy. So very sorry to hear this sad news.
Sue Jacobsen
January 19, 2021
It's hard to imagine Albany without Jack being around to ease into warm conversation and political thought. He was a master and he has a wonderful family continuing to back him up. I think I worked at State Committee for months before finally getting to say hello to the man in the front-window office who lived behind mountains of patronage paperwork and was continually negotiating on the phone with county and national committee hierarchy. His juggling was key to the success of Govs. Rockefeller and Wilson and all those who served their administrations. RIP Jack and my best wishes to your family.
Ray Hull
January 19, 2021
A father to be extremely proud of, what a list of accomplishments! We are privileged and honored to have known him.
Joe & Sandra Nardoci
January 18, 2021
Jack was a great person who always seemed to have time for everyone. He was always interested in what you had to say and was just as good at listening as he was at talking. You'll be missed. My thoughts and prayers for all the Vandervort family. Joe
Joe Grasso
January 18, 2021
To all of the Vandervorts, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Jack. What a wonderful tribute to a very special man. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Heather Holm Waite
January 18, 2021
Holding the entire Vandervort family in my thoughts and prayers.
Judy Wood
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