John Robert Sterrett Shrewsbury died on Oct. 29 at Connecticut Hospice. He was born in Tuxedo, New York, to Kenneth Oldham and Anassa Sterrett Shrewsbury on July 12, 1927. After graduating Indian Mountain and Storm King Schools, he entered the Navy in June 1945, where he served on the cruiser Topeka until the end of World War II. He graduated Amherst College in 1950 and worked in sales in Rochester, New York, where he met and married Joan DeGelleke in 1954.
After a brief time in Lincoln, Nebraska, Joan and John decided New England was where they wanted to set down roots and raise a family. In 1955, they fell in love with Guilford when John interviewed for a sales position with Flexible Tubing. Moving to Guilford was the best decision they ever made. In order to stay in Guilford, John sold insurance and real estate prior to commuting to Hartford with a great car pool group to sell municipal bonds at Hartford National Bank until retirement in 1983.
For more than 40 years, John had a series of boats docked at the Guilford Town Marina, where he, his family, and friends fished, picnicked, and swam near the Thimble Islands. Joan and John traveled throughout the western United States and Europe during the ‘80s and ‘90s, sharing their love of world and family history. They also enjoyed attending annual reunion lectures at Amherst College.
For the better part of 30+ years, his Wednesdays were sacrosanct, hiking with the “Keyarts Klamberers” all over Connecticut and beyond. These adventures proved to be a passion with true friends, as these 70-, 80-, and 90-somethings, aka the fast, medium, and slow walkers, explored the history, flora, and fauna of the area, debated the topics of the day, and laughed loudly as they made their way around the state. He also enjoyed a mean game of croquet with his iconoclastic buddies on Mondays on the Guilford Green.
John is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joan; son David and wife Lee of Boxford, Massachusetts; grandchildren Nick, Blair, and Wes; daughter Sarah of Guilford; and granddaughter Eliza Keogh. He is also survived by his niece Ann Shrewsbury Heintz of Midland, Texas; and nephews Kenneth Shrewsbury of Copper Center, Arkansa, and Douglas Shrewsbury of Alto, Michigan. He is predeceased by his parents and brother Kenneth Oldham Shrewsbury, Jr.
John was a family man first and foremost. His advice was sound, supportive, and given with his trademark wit. That loving, dry sense of humor was in full force right up until the last few days of his life. His passion for hiking, boating, and friendship is ingrained in all of his family. He was the salt of the earth, an old school gentleman, and true to his word . . . always.
A celebration of John’s life will be held Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Congregational Church in Guilford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St., Guilford, and the Interfaith Ministries, Sachem’s Hollow, 301 State St., Ste. #200, Guilford, CT 06437. Arrangements in the care of the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St., Guilford. To share a memory or leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit www.GuilfordFuneralHome.com.