John was born April 12, 1944 in Washington, D.C. to Nancy and Omar Spain. As the son of a Naval officer, John lived in several locations before his family settled in Skaneateles, where he graduated from high school in 1964.
The day after graduating, John began working as a machine operator at Chrysler Corporation’s New Process Gear plant. After a year, he became a Toolmaker Apprentice in a four-year program, followed by several years as a Toolmaker Journeyman. John then accepted a management role as Maintenance Foreman, followed by another promotion to the second shift Plant Maintenance Manager of the 1.7 million square-foot facility that housed 4,000 employees, and operated 24/7, which created the toughest of situations to maintain equipment, machines, robots, and 14 assembly lines. John retired in 1999 at age 55, but was asked to return to manage a re-build project of a fully-automated section of the factory, which he completed and then retired permanently in 2000.
John was a generous person, who gave his time and talents throughout his life and was always looking for ways he could make life easier for others. He was a championship coach for both little league baseball and softball and was a Scout leader. He was a member and President of the Skaneateles Jaycees, a group of men focused on helping the community. He was a member of the NPG Management Club. He was a board member and volunteered for decades at the Presbyterian Manor, a senior living facility in Skaneateles, with his most appreciated accomplishment there being the conversion of individual rooms into comfortable suites for all residents. He was a member of the Skaneateles First Presbyterian Church, the Skaneateles Lake Association, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
John loved spending time at his cottage on Skaneateles Lake where he could often be found boating, kayaking and teaching others to kayak or just relaxing at the grill or by a fire. He was passionate about following and investing in the stock market; and took pride in renovating homes that included the oldest Skaneateles village residence, and cottages on both Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes. He enjoyed traveling throughout the US and each year looked forward to a trip with the Caravan Caravan Club, a group of local couples who took annual trips to scenic and historic places in New York State. He was a fabulous cook who could turn any set of ingredients into a tasty meal. Family and friends also appreciated that he could repair or build anything, oftentimes using innovative solutions, for which the term, “injohnuity” was coined. He appreciated every sunset and anything mechanical. He loved celebrating life with family and friends and was always up for a gathering.
John is survived by his loving family, including his wife of 56 years, Barbara Bendall Spain, whom he met in high school; son, Jeffrey (Patricia), daughter, Amber Spain-Mosher (Peter) and grandchildren whom he adored, Parker, Phoebe and Joslynn Spain; Jonas and Genevieve Kerr; and, Mason, Eden, Jack and Sam Mosher. Also surviving are his brother, Norman (Judy); sisters-in-law Pamela and Leigh; and many nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his parents, as well as siblings: Nancy; Thomas; and James.
Calling hours will be held on Monday, January 10th from 4 to 7 PM at Robert D. Gray Funeral Home, Skaneateles. Funeral service will be on Tuesday, January 11th at 11 AM at the First Presbyterian Church Skaneateles. John will be buried in Lake View Cemetery.
Contributions in John’s memory can be made to the Presbyterian Manor, in care of the First Presbyterian Church, 97 East Genesee Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152. (skaneatelesmanor.com) or to the American Red Cross blood donor program, where John for decades donated pints of blood for others.
To send condolences, visit robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.