John A. Bly

Apr 09, 2018
John Bly

Tenants Harbor — John A. Bly, age 73, departed this world Sunday morning, March 25, 2018.

His last days were spent at Sussman House in the loving care of family, friends and the hospice staff. His good health declined rapidly after he contracted an untreatable neurological disease.

John was born in Fall River, Mass., Dec. 20, 1944. He was the only child of John Melvin Bly and Irene Elva Bly, formerly Irene Bond, of Martinsvillee.

He grew up in the village of Assonet ,Mass., enjoying a very happy childhood. It was here as teenager that he began playing musical instruments and working on hot rod cars.

He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University and briefly lived in California working for a company that made diesel locomotives. The highlight of his time there was racing motorcycles in the desert.

John returned to Massachusetts to spend time with his father, who was ill. During that visit, he read a book that influenced him for the rest of his life, Helen and Scott Nearing’s book “Living the Good Life: How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World.”

After his father died, full of enthusiasm for going back to the land, he moved to the family homestead in Martinsville in 1972. He set about earning a living doing odd jobs and mowing lawns. He visited the Nearings in Harborside weekly, working with them and also Elliot Coleman, who had a homestead next door. He learned the arts of building with stone and gardening from them.

At home he built a log cabin and was joined in this new life by his childhood friend, Hartley Spencer.

In 1974 he met his future wife, Chris, while swimming at Atwood’s Quarry. It was mutual love at first sight and they soon were married ... for 43 years.

Together with Hartley, they grew the first organic market garden in the area, gathered edible seaweed and mowed, built a road, a windmill, cut firewood ... all the fun stuff!

Their family continued to grow and John set about building a house of stone. In 1982 he opened Turkey Cove Auto Repair in a garage he built, attached to the house he and Chris were building. He operated that garage for 35 years with his son Noah, who started working there when he was 13 and continued for 23 years. Together they endeavored to keep hundreds of cars in good repair. In addition to the repairs, John always served his customers with a smile, kindness and a friendly ear. He sincerely enjoyed and cared about them all.

John was always active, running, hiking, swimming. But later in life he grew to love bicycling. Most mornings, weather permitting, he could be seen riding a 12-mile loop around town. He rode in the Trek Across Maine, the Dempsey Challenge, the Lobster Roll and Ride, Tour de Farms numerous times and valued his biking friends highly. Ten-day bike tours, one in Death Valley and the other in the Big Bend region of Texas, were the trips of a lifetime for him.

As wonderful as all his accomplishments and adventures were, it was his kindness and cheerful spirit that endeared him to countless people.

He leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Christine Bly; their daughter Phoebe and her son, Marley Babb; their daughter Minda and her husband, Bernhard Herrmann, and their daughters, Mayelle and Tiana; their son Noah and his wife, Emma, and their son, Oren, and daughter Robyn; their son Ivan and his partner, Heather, and their daughter Iris; their daughter Laura and her husband, Devin Pacheco.

John was very proud and supportive of all his children and took great pleasure in their talents and accomplishments. His integrity lives on in all of them.

A memorial celebration dance will take place April 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. at the St  George Elementary School Gym. It includes a potluck supper and all are invited.

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