North Wales, Pa. — Longtime industry veteran John "Jack" McIlhenny died on Jan. 31, just two months before his 90th birthday.
He was at home in North Wales with his wife of 67 years, Suzanne E. (Leonhard), and family beside him.
McIlhenny had a 40-plus-year career in the industry, starting in retail at Gimbels, and moving on to sales positions with Philco, Whirlpool, RCA/Thomson, Raymond Rosen and D&H Distributing.
He was born in 1925. He and Sue had 11 children: John Jr. (deceased in 2001), Susan, June, Geoffrey, Timothy, Mary, Barbara, Carol, Robert, Phillip and Paul; 29 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings Matthew, Thomas, Francis and Eileen. He was pre-deceased by siblings June, Gerald, Sally and Alpheus.
McIlhenny enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and was stationed during World War II on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands. He enjoyed telling his grandchildren stories about his time in the war, according to his son Tim, who is an executive at Panasonic.
Tim recalled how his parents spent every summer at their family vacation home "Sans Souci" on Sand Lake in Ontario, Canada, where Frank Sinatra and big band music could be heard every evening. They also enjoyed their time in Ocean City, N.J., where they had a summer home for many years.
He was an avid golfer and a longtime member of Oak Terrace, now Talamore Country Club.
McIlenney oversaw the conversion of the barn on his property into a home 34 years ago and enjoyed hosting his family and grandchildren for Christmas Eve each year.
“Jack lived a big, beautiful life and loved all of it,” said Tim.
“Jack was a consummate salesman — always representing the best interests of his retailers and his company. He was fine Irishman, colleague and friend,” commented Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton, who worked with Jack in their salad years at RCA and Thomson.
A Catholic mass was held on Feb. 5, followed by a private burial. Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.