Nature 14

John R. Venter

December 24, 2023

John Venter Obituary


John R. (Jack) Venter was born to the late George and Madlyn Venter in Queens, NY on December 28, 1934. He was the youngest of 4 athletic children, growing up in Brooklyn and spending summers on Mastic Beach, Long Island where his love affair with the ocean began. As a young boy he and his cousin started a clamming business. They became strong swimmers and loved deep sea fishing. Although a gifted all-around athlete, Jack’s strengths were swimming, diving, and gymnastics. Before leaving high school he placed 3rd in NY state in free style. He was also able to show off his gymnastic skills in high school shows once starring as a “Jack in the Box”. His diving skills attracted scouts from California who offered him an opportunity to train for the 1956 Olympics. He could not afford to take the offer for the Olympics but he did go on to dive in shows at local pools in the area.


Jack was still in high school when he met Marie Frances Grimaldi – who would become his lifelong soulmate. They were married on March 9, 1957, and they remained completely devoted to each other for the next 66 years.  


After his 3rd child was born, Jack moved the family from Brooklyn to Orange County, desiring to raise them in the country and to start his own business. Jack was a self-employed mason contractor and was quite skilled in all aspects of construction. He built the family home  in Bloomingburg- a large brick ranch and shortly afterward their 4th child was born.               


"The House that Jack Built" became a mini resort - with a swimming pool, public park swing set, baseball field, basketball hoop, shuffleboard court, volleyball court, bicycles, bumper pool and ping pong tables. One summer he staged the Jack Venter Summer Olympics with a number of sporting events for fun competition for the family.  


Jack passed on his love for the water to his children. They bathed in the Shawangunk Kill, water skied on nearby lakes, took boat trips on the Hudson River and the family favorite - rode the waves at the Jersey Shore. When winter rolled in they enjoyed sleigh riding, snowmobiling and hunting for the biggest and fullest 10’ Christmas Trees.


“The House that Jack Built” was a summer and winter playground for all of our family members when they visited from the city. The Venters hosted many holiday feasts over the years. No one could deny Jack’s delight in providing this wonderful home for those he loved. Jack could be stubborn at times, and he was a wise guy all of the time. He always found a way to make you laugh. Jack was strong, fierce, and true. He was also a giver. He opened his home when family and friends needed assistance and he was a father to those who did not have a father. He helped mold and guide them with his strong character and tireless work ethic. He demonstrated courtesy and respect in dealing with others. There were many who looked up to him and relied on him for guidance, a role he was honored and humbled to play in their lives.


One thing of greatest importance to Jack was his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a member of the Kairos Inside prison ministry and was excited to share the love of Jesus Christ with the inmates. The Tres Dias ministry was also a major part of his spiritual growth and Jack remained faithful to these two ministries for many years.


Jack was loved and respected by all who knew him. Some might have thought him scary upon first meeting him but in time they realized that he was full of fun and they would enjoy exchanging banter with him. He was adored by his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and he adored all of them. But it was well known that no one could compete with Marie, the woman who owned his heart.


After 43 years in Orange County Jack built his wife their retirement home in Narrowsburg, NY where he lived for the last 15 years of his life. On December 24, 2023 he left us for his new home in Glory. As one of his granddaughters remembers him saying whenever they would leave him “My Darlings-I Love Ya’s”.


Jack was predeceased by his brothers George and Robert Venter and sister Audrey Jensen.


He is survived by his life long love of almost 67 years Marie Frances Venter; daughter Susan and husband Ernie Tree of Port Jervis, NY; son George and wife Jo of Middletown, NY; son John R. Jr of Asheville, North Carolina; daughter Catherine Stueber of Thousand Oaks, California; 20 amazing grandchildren; 27 cherished Great Grandchildren; several brother and sister in laws;

several nieces and nephews.  


A Memorial Service of Remembrance will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Orange and Sullivan County.












John Venter obituary of Cochecton, NY


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