John Perkins Eysenbach lived a full and active life as devoted husband, father, grandfather and civic volunteer until passing suddenly of a stroke on May 26, 2020, in Blue Hill, one week before his 90th birthday.
John was born in Hartford, Conn., the son of Ernest E. and Margaret Perkins Eysenbach. John spent his boyhood summers in Westerly, R.I., where he learned to sail on Narragansett Bay, a passion he would pursue for the remainder of his life. Among his early Rhode Island memories were the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, whose impending landfall was announced by the local mailman passing from house to house, and later sights of the Hindenburg flying overhead. John lost his father as a child, after which his uncle played a formative role in John’s life along with his mother.
John was a graduate of Kent School, Class of 1948, Yale University, Class of 1952, and Harvard Business School, Class of 1958. As an avid reader and writer, John prioritized learning throughout his life. While he would count down the years until the last tuition bill was paid, he was proud to be able to provide the opportunity of education for his five children, just as his widowed mother had done for him and his sister.
Following a short stint in the CIA, John joined the Navy, serving three years as a lieutenant JG on a Gearing-class destroyer, the USS Turner. A testament to the strong bonds he developed, he would attend Turner reunions decades later. After business school, he turned to a career in sales, first of industrial pumps before making a mid-career shift to financial services. Working with small New England business owners, his willingness to listen was well received. In one remarkable case, a business owner declined his financial planning services but sent a check anyway just in appreciation for John intently listening to his life story.
He met Jean on a New Year’s Eve blind date while in college. After she introduced him to sailing on Penobscot Bay in Maine, he knew she was the one for him — for life. Over 66 years, their shared passion for sailing and gardening, hard work and strong friendships held them tight. John was an equally devoted father, tirelessly cheering on his children’s many activities and career endeavors. After raising their five children and assorted pets, including dogs, rabbits, fish and ducks, in Hardwick and Amherst, Mass., John and Jean retired to Brooksville.
Having spent summers in Brooksville for more than 40 years plus family connections dating back to the 1920s when arrival was via steamboat, this was a natural choice for them. On top of the great natural beauty that greeted them at the start and end of each day, this was a place that drew the extended family to return year after year for the sailing, island picnics, family dinners and holiday gatherings John so enjoyed. In doing so, John developed a special connection with each of his grandchildren over the next 25 years.
John was a strong believer in community service. In his love for sailing, he served as commodore for the Buck’s Harbor Yacht Club and remained an active voice on the board throughout his life. With a knack for connecting people, a strong moral compass and a willingness to step forward to serve in local government and to support local causes, John created enduring bonds in the communities in which he lived. He’d take on most any challenge for the Blue Hill Hospital, George Stevens Academy, Friendship Cottage and his latest endeavor, the Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle. He never tired of raising funds for those who needed assistance.
John is survived by his loving wife, Jeanie C. Eysenbach, his five children and their spouses: Wendy Jagger, Bucky and Lucy Eysenbach, Mac and Peggy Eysenbach, Heidi and Eddie Rayden, Erica Eysenbach and Jon Hallstrom, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and his sister, Mary L. Eysenbach.
There never was a man more devoted to his family and his community. He will be missed dearly by his family and friends as he crosses the bar and puts out to sea. A memorial service will be held on a future date when the coronavirus pandemic is behind us.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friendship Cottage in Blue Hill, Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle, Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital or Blue Hill Congregational Church.