John E. MacElwee ’47

John Emery (“Jack”) MacElwee passed away on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at the age of 93. He was a resident of Essex Meadows in Essex, Connecticut.
Jack was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who continued to share his love of sailing and fine art with family and friends after his retirement to Essex. He previously lived in Norwalk and commuted to New York City during a successful 40-year career in commercial art. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Army as a tank commander on Korea’s front lines.
Born and raised in Babylon, New York, Jack went on to attend the Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and the New England School of Art in Boston. After his service in the
U.S. Army, he started his career in New York City at the Biow Company. When the company closed due to a tax scandal, Jack made a decision that would change the course of his life. He decided to explore the West Coast, moved to San Francisco, and met Carol, his wife of 64 years. They married at Grace Cathedral two years after they met. Because New York City offered more career opportunities in advertising, Jack and Carol moved east after four years and settled in Norwalk, Connecticut. Commuting to New York, Jack specialized in point-of-sale design. Among his displays were the Uniroyal Tiger Paws, the Fleetwood Mac “Rumors” album, the Florida Lottery, Chiquita Banana, Almaden Wines, and Schaefer Beer. In the mid-1970s, he moved to the other side of the business, selecting displays for Revlon.
Jack’s life was filled with activity. He hiked, biked, camped, and sailed. At the age of 50, and before running had skyrocketed in popularity, Jack began doing laps at the local track in his
work boots before moving on to running sneakers and joining the local Lightfoot running club. He went on to complete 17 marathons, which included running the famed New York City Marathon ten times. Living in Norwalk at the time, he served the community by sitting on Norwalk’s Planning & Zoning Commission for five years, and serving as Chair his last year.
When Jack retired in 1994, he and Carol moved to Essex, prompting the purchase of a Pierson 28’ sailboat, which they cruised for 15 years. They sailed as members of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, the Baldwin Yacht Club, and the Pettipaug Yacht Club. Jack became a steward of the Essex Land Trust, and he pursued his natural talent in painting and drawing. He attended classes at the Lyme Art Academy and the Lyme Art Association, and exhibited frequently as a member of the Essex Art Association.
In addition to his wife, Carol, Jack is survived by his son, John Alexander MacElwee, his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Bill Jones, and his grandson, Banning Jones. He also leaves his brother, Thomas Hart MacElwee, who celebrated his 100th birthday in January, as well as many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his younger son, Douglas Stewart MacElwee, in 2000.
All friends are invited to a celebration of his life on Saturday March 5th at the Essex Yacht Club, 13 Novelty Lane, Essex, CT at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to the Essex Land Trust, the Ivoryton Playhouse, or the Essex Historical Society.

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