John Simpson (Jack) Eldridge died the morning of August 6, one month short of 96 years old, in his home in Cranford, New Jersey.
Jack attended Pingry School and then Yale, where he graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. Then WWII hit, and he enlisted in the Navy and transferred to the Marines as a dive-bomber pilot with Squadron VMSB-244, the "Bombing Banshees," based in the Solomon Islands. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He married Emmy Lou Jones in 1948, and had a family, one boy, John Simpson, Jr., and one girl, Leslie Ann. Emmy Lou died of MS in 1976. Both children are happily married; John lives in Cranford and Leslie in San Francisco. Jack outlived his two older siblings, Janet and Tom, who both also lived into their nineties.
Jack worked for several companies, ending with 20 years for Continental Insurance Company until he retired in 1985.
Then came his happiest time, when he sang baritone in four choruses, including the New Jersey Masterwork Chorus; had season tickets for the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra; and took two classical music trips, one to Italy and one to Madeira.
For the last ten years of his life he was mostly home-bound, but had a wonderful home health-care aide named Sharon, who cared for him like a daughter. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Family and friends are invited to a life celebration and funeral service from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, August 11, at Gray Memorial Funeral Home, 12 Springfield Ave., Cranford. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cranford First Aid Squad (www.cranfordfirstaid.org) will be deeply appreciated.