John Stewart Moffet died in his Edgartown home on June 27, surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 68.
John was born in Peoria, Ill., and grew up in the rural, western Illinois town of Monmouth. John traveled extensively as a boy and gained an appreciation of the beauties of our country. Family trips with his two brothers remained pleasant memories throughout his life.
Although he was an above-average student, John preferred being outdoors and enjoyed participating in high school golf and swim teams. During high school, he went to Camp Voyageur in Ely, Minn. There, he met camp owner and future mentor Charlie Erdman, who was a physical education professor at Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
The friendship and guidance gained at Camp Voyageur led John to attend Depauw University. It was there that he learned the direct relationship between effort and results. With a low military draft number, John made efforts as he never had before to secure his continued enrollment at Depauw.
He flourished at the small school; he participated in Charlie Erdman’s swim team, was a member of university boards and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Equally important was working at the top sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, for four years.
As John graduated, the Vietnam war ended. Instead of enlisting in the Naval flight school, as he had contemplated, he headed to Martha’s Vineyard on the recommendation of a friend.
A chance meeting with Bob Carroll, who took John under his wing, led to him becoming the manager of the Kelley House. At that time, the Kelley House was the only year-round hotel on the Island. The biggest decision in accepting that position was whether he wanted to stay on Island all winter after having spent the previous two in Oahu, Hawaii.
A highlight of his Kelley House years was hosting the cast and crew of Universal Studios as they filmed the movie “Jaws.” A lifetime of friendships was formed that summer of 1974. Later, while vacationing in Hawaii, he rekindled friendships with Universal Studios employees which led him to work on the television show Magnum, P.I.
John later started working for L’Etoile Restaurant and the Edgartown Reading Room. It was at the Reading Room where he met his future wife, Julie Williamson. They were married on September 11, 1993. Later that year, they built their home in Edgartown. On February 17, 1999, daughter Caroline Victoria was born. Another joyous occasion came as John and Julie traveled to China where they adopted daughter Maggie Mei Xiao on Father’s Day, 2006.
A lifetime avid golfer, he enjoyed the Vineyard Golf Course, the membership and tournaments at the Edgartown Golf Course and playing in the tournaments at Farm Neck.
On Sunday mornings, he could be found at The Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard where he was a member and former Deacon.
John was loyal to a fault, compassionate, generous, engaging even with strangers to whom he was quick to share a smile, grateful for such a full life. It was his wish that he left each interaction with the other person feeling better about him or herself.
John is survived by his daughters, Caroline Victoria and Maggie Mei Xiao; their mother, Julie Williamson; and brothers, Stephen and Howard.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s memory may be made to Camp Voyager, 709 Voyager Rd. Ely, MN 55731 or to the Anthony H. Meyer Junior Golf Trust C/O MV Boys and Girls Club PO Box 654 Edgartown, MA 02539.