American Veteran 04

John E. Grundstrom

June 16, 1931 ~ May 7, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old

John Grundstrom Obituary

John Edward (Jack) Grundstrom,91, of Rowley, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded as in life, by his loving family.  He was born at Cable Memorial Hospital in Ipswich MA June 16, 1931 to John F. and Abbie E. (Savage) Grundstrom, both lifelong residents of Rowley. He attended the Rowley Grammar Schools, Newburyport High School and Ipswich High School where he graduated with the class of 1949. This is where he met the love of his life Helen (Hill), who predeceased him in 2019 after 67 years of marriage. 

The joy of his entire life was his family. Wife Helen and children, Deborah Grundstrom, John (Gump) Grundstrom and his wife Karen, Jan Saunders and her husband Joseph. Grandchildren Kristina Hardy and her husband Mike, Alyssa Grundstrom, Patrick Saunders and his wife Kelsey, Kelsi Rocha- Grundstrom and her husband Denys and Sean Saunders.  Great- grandchildren Andres Rocha- Grundstrom, Fischer and Marin Saunders.  He has especially enjoyed his family trips to Disney World and fishing in Key West.

He joined the US Navy in 1950 where he volunteered for special services in Naval Aviation and was assigned to VF 71, a jet fighter squadron assigned to Quonset Point RI. From there he served a tour of duty in Korea aboard the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard CVA 41. Among the service metals he earned his most cherished was from the South Korean people as a token of their thanks. Following his Korean duty, he enjoyed a stay in Cuba where he had the opportunity to visit Port Au Prince, Haiti and other scenic areas. Next, Jack cruised the Mediterranean aboard the carrier USS Bennington where he visited many exotic ports including Istanbul Turkey, Athens Greece, Genoa Italy, Cannes France, Madrid Spain, Lisbon Portugal, and Gibraltar.

After his four years of Naval service, he worked many local jobs including boat building for Hilmer Boat Co. in Ipswich, an electrician for the Boston and Maine Railroad, carpentry for John Carey, snow removal for the Town of Rowley, quartz crystal development for Western Electric Co. in North Andover and as always, a side job digging clams.  During this time Jack attended night classes at Northern Essex CC, Lowell Technological Institute and then graduated from Wentworth University as a Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Engineer. 

After operating his own clam shucking business, he took a job with Cargocaire Engineering Corp. moving up to Field Service Engineer and Service Manager.  These positions took him all over the US and the world training maintenance crews in the operation of dehumidification equipment.  This included many trips to Canada, Mexico, Alaska and Puerto Rico. Jack also enjoyed business trips to England, Sweden, Hawaii, Germany, Japan and the Philippine Islands where he witnessed the beginning of the 1968 eruption of the volcanic mountain Mayon in Legaspa City, Luzon.

His most interesting assignments were the start-up and prototype testing of fifty-four Titan II missile sites in Kansas, Arkansas and Arizona, also the start-up and testing in Davao City, Philippines of a system installed in copra tankers to prevent spontaneous combustion and sinking at sea. This trip entailed a forty two day trans Pacific tanker trip back to Long Beach CA.  He worked on the first nuclear powered cargo ship Savannah while it was anchored in NY Harbor next to the Statue of Liberty and on the launch platform of a space shuttle at Kennedy Space Center in FL. He supervised dry down and testing of the oil storage tanks at the Valdez end of the Alaska pipeline and the start-up and testing of the dehumidification system on the shakedown cruise of the first LNG tanker launched out of Pascagoula MS.   Others interesting assignments were Wilson Greatbatch in Buffalo NY in the early development of lithium batteries, working on the top floor of the Time Life Building in New York City in the preservation of historic films and photos and working in the storage caves along the Hudson River some of which were up to seven hundred feet below the surface.

After his retirement from Cargocaire Jack went to work for Charles Hazzard, owner of State Street Associates of Newburyport as the property manager of his real estate company. He had earned his Real Estate Sales and Brokers licenses in MA, NH and FL. After several years Jack purchased the property management division and founded State Street Properties of Newburyport Inc. He continued, along with his children, to manage the existing properties and contracted with the US Marshall Service to manage properties that had been seized for drug trafficking until his retirement in 1998.

Jack did not stop working at retirement. He had been on the Rowley River since childhood not only digging clams but with his own herring boat.  He found the attention to the clam flats to be lacking so he volunteered to fill the position of Shellfish Constable for the Town of Rowley.  He successfully completed the Shellfish Constable course at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and became a certified Shellfish Constable. He then went on to become a student of Dr. David Belding, who wrote the bible on Massachusetts shellfish. He learned all that was known on raising soft shell clams, oysters and quahogs for this area. He then experimented with, promoted, and engaged very successfully in programs enhancing the shellfisheries in Rowley and on the North Shore.  

Some time at eve when the tide is low, I shall slip my moorings and sail away, With no response to the friendly hail Of kindred craft in the busy bay.  In the silent hush of the twilight pale, When the night stoops down to embrace the day, And the voices call at the waters flow- Some time at eve when the tide is low, I shall slip my mooring and sail away.    -Elizabeth Clark Hardy-

At his request there will be no services.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in his name to: Any local veterans’ organization of your choice or Mass Audubon, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield MA 01983. *Please include a note requesting it be directed to ‘marsh restoration or coastal resilience’. 

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Arrangements entrusted to F. S. Roberts & Son Funeral Home of Rowley.



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