Born in Winter Haven, JC worked as an engineering draftsman for many years, until meeting his wife, Sue Beal, in Pittsburgh in 1982. They moved to Key Largo in 1986, where JC took over a landscape maintenance company. Many remember him as the “man in white,” seen working at many locations along US 1. He was proud of his commercial work featuring geometric precision, colorful bougainvilleas and crotons, and he always had time for a cup of coffee with anyone who stopped by.
JC played trumpet for years, in his youth. Later he switched to harmonica and the blues, which he enjoyed immensely, grateful to play with and learn from other local musicians in the Upper Keys. He was always studying the blues masters and trying to improve.
His first wilderness camping trip was at 6 months old; he was an Eagle Scout and an outdoorsman, once briefly holding a national record for rifle shooting. JC was an avid fisherman, often fishing Flamingo and the Everglades. He went at every opportunity, in a Dolphin skiff he customized himself, and enjoyed just being on the water, even if no fish came home with him.
Another passion was growing unique crotons from seed, combining the genetics of the different plants to see what would grow from it. He was a member of the Croton Society, and other members would come to admire and take cuttings from his plants.
He will be missed as one of the Keys characters in town. Donations in his memory can be made to the Musician’s Relief Fund, c/o Elks Lodge, PO Box 255, Tavernier, FL 33070-0255.
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