John died at home in Eatontown, New Jersey, on September
22, 1998, of lung cancer. He was my freshman roommate, and, throughout
his life, one of my best old friends.
He met Nora, his lifelong sweetheart, at Princeton, and they married in
1962 while he was training to be a language specialist in the U.S. Army.
We took Russian classes together during the Cold War. He wore his Rusian
Persian Lamb hat on N.Y. subways pretending to be a spy.
"Molashevski, you have the pwaypers?" he would whisper
loudly, so everyone on the train could hear him.
He loved to make us laugh with his wild flamenco songs and intense all-night
reveries. John was a townie, and always promised to hook up his pals with
the loveliest of the local young ladies.
Two of his best Princeton buddies from our class, Dan Javich and Bill
Harman, were able to visit him before he died.
After returning to Princeton for a short time after the Army, John went
to sea as a deckhand. Within a few years, he was a tugboat captain, a
job which suited him perfectly the water, the adventure, the independence,
and the schedule which gave him lots of home time with Nora. He was a
linguist, a painter, a gardener, a conga drummer, a passionate letter
writer, an Episcopal vestryman and a student of Santeria. Most of all,
he was a tireless father for his daughter, Elizabeth, his son, Jack, and
his beloved grandaughter, Tess, who lived with him and Nora. I'm leaving
people out whose lives he touched with his strength, his grace, his great
warmth and his mischievous sense of humor.
We miss him very much and consider his memory a blessing. Sincere condolences
to Nora, Elizabeth, , and Jack, and also to his sister, Dorothy, and his
brothers, Donald Jr, & Gilbert.. Unfortunately, his stepfather, the
great math professor Donald Spencer, recently died.