John F. Aylmer, 84 – Merchant Mariner, State Senator, College President
CENTERVILLE, MA – John (“Jack”) F. Aylmer, died peacefully at home on July 8th 2018.
He was born in Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the first of four children of John J. Aylmer and Vina (Norris) Aylmer. He was raised in the villages of Osterville and Centerville, and graduated in 1952 from Barnstable High School as a 7-time varsity letterman and in 1953 from Admiral Billard Academy, New London, CT. In 1957, Jack graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree. He financed his college education by operating a tug boat for New England Dock & Dredge Co.
After graduation, Jack entered the U.S. Navy and served as First Lieutenant and Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Mattabasset in the Mediterranean for two years in the United States Sixth Fleet, during the crisis in Lebanon. He was given an honorable discharge from the Navy and worked for 7 years, commencing in 1959, as a Merchant Marine Officer on oil tankers operated on coastwise and foreign voyages by Texaco Oil Company and by American Trading & Production Co. He was commissioned in the United States Navy Reserve, where he served for 23 years until his retirement as Commander, in 1994.
In 1966, Jack was elected to his first of two terms as Selectman of the Town of Barnstable. He graduated from Bridgewater State College in 1969, with a Master’s degree in Education. In 1970, he was elected to his first of six consecutive terms in the Massachusetts Senate, representing 36 towns which comprised the District of Cape Cod, the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and Plymouth County. He spent the next 10 years as State Senator and was appointed as Assistant Senate Minority Leader and served on the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Jack attended evening classes at Suffolk Law School and secured his Juris Doctorate in 1977. During his tenure in the Massachusetts Senate, he authored many bills that focused upon the needs of the District he represented and the future of Cape Cod. One such bill resulted in the Old King’s Highway Historic District Act, which preserves a District consisting of the shoreline of Cape Cod Bay and the historic road named by the Act as the “Old King’s Highway” that was used by original settlers on Cape Cod and designated as a state highway maintained by the state with the local protection of the Scenic Road Act. Jack also sponsored the bill that established Ocean Marine Sanctuaries in Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Buzzards Bay under the Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuary Act.
In 1981, Jack was appointed as Rear Admiral, U.S. Maritime Service and the President of his alma mater, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and served in that capacity for 10 years. Upon his retirement as President of Massachusetts Maritime, Jack served as a Director on various bank boards and continued his support of many charitable organizations. He also worked tirelessly in supporting his passion of summer college baseball on Cape Cod. He played for the Barnstable Barons in the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1952 and he was a founder of the Hyannis and Bourne teams in 1976 and 1988 respectively. In 2012, Jack was named to the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame as an Administrator.
Jack is predeceased by his son Kerry and is survived by his wife of 61 years, Ann M. (McLean) Aylmer; and his three other sons, John, Jr. and wife, Karen, of Duxbury, MA., and three grandchildren, Brittany, Ashley and Andrew; son, Peter and wife, Beverlee, and two grandchildren, Ryan and Matthew of Falmouth, MA.; and son, Patrick and wife, Elizabeth, and two grandchildren, John and Patrick, Jr. of Topsfield, MA. Jack is predeceased by his parents; and siblings, Myles Aylmer, Patricia Packer, and Ruth Appleton.
A Funeral Mass will be celebated on July 13, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. at the Our Lady of Victory Church, Centerville. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod & Islands, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA. 02601.