John Anthony Simanskas, 76, of East Calais, Vermont, passed away on Thursday, October 26, 2023 at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on November 2, 1946 to Anthony and Lucille (Carlson) Simanskas in Montpelier, Vermont. He married Diane Singleton on October 3, 1970 at St. Augustine Church and they raised two beautiful daughters, Jennifer Surat of Peacham, Vermont and Jody Bradford of Canaan, New Hampshire.
John went to Saint Michaels School and graduated from Montpelier High School in 1965. He was a member of the track and field team, and set a record in the long jump division. He also enjoyed playing baseball. After high school he joined the Army National Guard, and even won a paper airplane flying contest allowing him to come home to visit a day early. He also worked for Shepard Trucking in Montpelier. John then started his career at National Life Insurance Company in 1973 where he stayed for 37 years. He was instrumental in the conversion of the building to an all modular design, and was a recognized commercial interior designer, being honored by Baron’s Who’s Who in Interior Designers in the 1991 International edition. He was also responsible for major data and communication access upgrades at National Life.
He was an avid outdoorsman, loved the woods, photography, antique cars (especially his GTO), fishing with his two wonderful grand kids, making maple syrup in his self-made sugar house, and spending time with his family. He was a self-taught carpenter, mechanic, electrician and plumber. If something was broke, he could fix it, and everyone knew, often calling for his help and expertise. He was always there, willing and able to help anyone at any time, no matter how challenging the task was. He built his family log cabin and then one for his daughter, Jennifer.
John was a past president of the Barre Fish and Game Club and an honorary trustee. He was also actively involved as a volunteer in the Calais community, serving as Justice of the Peace for 2 years, and dedicating over 50 years to the cemeteries, many of them as chair of the Cemetery Commission.
John is survived by his loving wife of 53 years Diane Simanskas, daughters Jennifer and Sean Surat and their two beloved children Connor and Chloe Surat, Jody and Matt Bradford, and 6 siblings Evelyn (George) Cushing, Ann (Jim) Severance, Lindsey (Jenna) Simanskas, Elizabeth Simanskas-Flood, Linda (Eric) Kemp, Michael (Kathy) Simanskas, and a large extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his favorite Scottish Terrier dog, Minnie.
A celebration of life will be held in the spring.
Donations can be made in his memory to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice.