Beverly — John Arthur McAdoo, 76, of Beverly, Mass., passed away peacefully on November 22, 2013, surrounded by his loved ones.
Born and raised in Cambridge, he served in the U.S. Navy before settling in Ashburnham with his wife, Betsy. He worked for AT&T, and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees while raising his family and remodeling a vintage farmhouse.
However, John’s love for the sea beckoned, and the family took up sailing. In 1973, they “ditched the rat race,” and set sail for the Bahamas on the ketch, “Hawk.” Yearning for more adventure, the family moved to Boothville, La., where John built “Ninette,” a 45-foot steel ketch. In 1979, the family set sail on an 18-month cruise on “Ninette,” traveling up and down the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and the West Indies. John relished the voyage for the bond it created in his crew, the cultures they discovered along the way, and the lifelong friends they made in every port.
Over the years, John’s free spirit led him on many adventures. He sailed throughout Europe into Russia on a classic wooden yacht. At the drop of a hat he would “hit an open slab” of highway to visit family or friends. A lifetime member of Jubilee Yacht Club in Beverly, John enjoyed many cruising adventures with his pal, Jim Fox. Together they explored ports all over the East Coast, Caribbean, Canada, and Alaska. Some of his fondest memories were crewing on the replica ship, “Friendship,” out of Salem.
A Jack-of-all-trades, John supported his family in many ways throughout the years; he was an electrician, he maintained yachts at a marina, he taught at a community college, he was a telephone repairman, and he drove an 18-wheeler. However, when asked, he always proudly identified himself as an elementary school teacher. Although he never graduated high school, he had an infectious thirst for knowledge and taught himself everything from playing guitar, to learning trigonometry, to designing “Ninette,” to cutting and welding the steel for her hull.
Blessed with a beautiful “whiskey tenor” voice, John loved singing at family get-togethers and with friends at piano bars. He was always happiest listening to classical music. During visits with family, “Grampy” was known to pick up whatever book his grandchildren were reading, or even assign them a classic, and discuss it with them later. He especially enjoyed it when they watched the History Channel or Discovery with him. In later years, his greatest joy was being with his beloved Maria, and he especially cherished their Sunday walks along the Charles River in Cambridge.
He is predeceased by his parentsm Robert Harry and Marie Antoinette (Rochon); his former wife, Betsy Shanahan; and his brothers, Richard D. and Robert Jr. He is survived by his devoted loving companion, Maria DeFeo; and his four children, Mary E. Willis and her husband, Robert, of Georgetown, Kathleen Whitehair and her husband, Robert, of Beverly, Shan McAdoo and his wife, Tarin, of Hamilton, and Christine LoMauro and her husband, Charles, of Bellevue, Wash.; and his grandchildren, John, Nathan and Brendan Willis, Kathleen Keegan, Christine and Lia Whitehair, Jacksanna McAdoo Comer, and Madison and Tyler LoMauro. He also leaves his four sisters, Theresa Spartichino, Marie Moalli, Ann McAdoo, and Rita McAdoo.
ARRANGEMENTS: Funeral services will be held at the Campbell-Lee, Moody Russell Funeral Home, 9 Dane Street, Beverly, on Tuesday, November 26, at 2 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visiting hours are on Tuesday, from 12 to 1:45 p.m. Burial will be private. Contributions in his memory may be made to Sail Salem Inc., 23 Glendale Street, Salem, MA 01970. For information, directions, or to offer condolences, www.campbellfuneral.com.