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John D. Sylvester ’37

Published in Mar. 21, 1990, issue

QUIET, FAITHFUL reuner Johnny Sylvester died Jan. 8, 1990, of natural causes, leaving a son, John Jr., and two grandchildren. His wife, Marita, whom he married in 1942, died eight years ago, though immortalized by name in this avid sailor's Pearson Triton.

At Montclair Academy, Johnny was active in student government, debating, and hockey (which he continued at Princeton, three years on varsity). He majored in economics and was intramural manager in Cannon Club.

After stints in the personal trust dept. of Guaranty Trust and as brokerage clerk with Laurence M. Marks, Johnny enlisted in the Navy as an apprentice seaman and rose to full lieutenant with a tour of the Pacific, commanding submarine chaser 520. Next came 45 years in machinery sales and manufacturing. He was president of Amsco Packaging Machinery in Long Island City for 25 years. He semi-retired in 1986. In 1960 he applied for a patent for forming edge-seal closures on plastic bags. He was a resident of Garden City, N.Y., for 40 years.

Who can forget the episode when Babe Ruth autographed a ball for a very ill 11-year-old Johnny Sylvester in Oct. 1926? Ruth inscribed it "I'll knock a homer for you in Wednesday's game." He did—three in fact—in the World Series. Ruth later visited Johnny at his bedside in Essex Fells. When Babe died in 1948, Johnny flew back from a California business trip to attend the funeral and speak in the memorial at Yankee Stadium. To John Jr. and the grandchildren we send our condolences.

The Class of 1937

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