John “Jack” William Canavan, 82, of Scituate, MA, (formerly of Hingham, MA) passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, April 23, 2021, surrounded by loved ones. He was a loving son, brother, father, husband and friend who made a positive impact on the lives he touched. He is predeceased by his parents, John and Ann Canavan, and his wife, Judith “Judie” Canavan. He is survived by his wife, Ellen Grandfield, his children, Erin Whitmore (George) of Hingham, MA, Sean Canavan (Amy) of Boston, MA, Robert Canavan (Laurie) of Temecula, CA, Jessica Foley of Hingham, MA, Sean Foley (Monica) of Coppell, TX and Micaela Foley (Kevin Schriver) of Billings, MT, and his grandchildren, Collin, Alec and James Whitmore, Caroline and William Canavan, Matthew, Christopher and Macy Canavan, Micah Levine, and Aidan, Addison and Ian Foley. Jack is also survived by his brother, Michael Canavan of Belmont, MA, his sister, Mary Kelley (Edward) of Haverhill, MA, and many other family and friends who will miss his sweet spirit.
Jack was born on June 16, 1938, and spent his early years in Cambridge before moving to Somerville where he made lifelong friends on the playground playing basketball and baseball. At an early age, Jack developed a love for singing, especially Irish songs, that lasted a lifetime. His children spent many a car ride subjected to Jack’s love of Irish music. A highlight of his time at Matignon High School was as captain of the basketball team. His undefeated team played in the Tech Tourney at Boston Garden. Later, he was inducted into the Matignon Athletic Hall of Fame for his basketball prowess. Jack credits the nuns from Matignon for putting the application for Boston College on his desk and changing his life. After graduating cum laude from Boston College in 1959, Jack persevered and began the job he loved for over 40 years in the brokerage business. Jack would always say “do what makes you happy, you have to go to it every day.” He considered his greatest career accomplishment as the number of friends he could count as clients. He was so careful and conscientious with the assets entrusted to him that a friend recently said, “Thanks to you Jack, we are comfortably enjoying our retirement years.”
Jack married Judie Greene in 1967. They spent weekends walking on the beach and looking at houses, antiquing, attending their kids’ games and joining town organizations where they established many close friendships. Jack felt truly blessed to have raised Erin, Sean and Rob in such a beautiful town as Hingham. He had a strong faith and instilled Christian values in his children, teaching his kids the importance of giving back and helping those less fortunate. Jack was grateful for the 24 years that he and Judie were able to spend together before she died from breast cancer.
Jack often said how lucky he was to have had two wonderful women in his life and spent the next 30 years with Ellen, becoming a loving step-father to Jessica, Sean and Micaela. Jack always loved the ocean and fulfilled his dream of living there when he and Ellen moved to Scituate in 2008. Jack always marveled at how a kid from Somerville could have ended up having a view of Minot's Light while drinking his coffee every morning. The lighthouse’s flash of 1-4-3 or “I love you” became Jack’s signature signoff.
Jack was a warm, positive influence on all that he met, always having a kind word to say and encouraging people to be the best person they could. Best known to his grandchildren as “Jackie Boy,” some of his favorite moments were spent playing and sharing his love of sweets with them. As best summed up by Jack’s step-niece “Jack was a wonderful person and the model of how a man should be.” For those lucky enough to have known Jack, he will be greatly missed, but in his words, “this is not a time to be sad, it is a time for celebration.” 1-4-3.
Due to Covid concerns, services will be private, but may be viewed here www.youtube.com/c/ChristbytheSea or www.facebook.com/stanthonycohasset on Wednesday, April 28th at 9:30 a.m. A celebration of life for friends and family will be held this summer. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Jack may be made to The Cambridge Matignon School (https://www.matignon.org), Scituate Etrusco (https://scituateetrusco.com/home/), or an organization close to your heart. Funeral services by McNamara-Sparrell, Cohasset, MA.