James J. Strong
August 18, 1947 – April 27, 2021
James Joseph Strong, 73, of Jupiter, FL, entered into Heaven on April 27, 2021. He was born on August 18, 1947 in Elmira, NY; a loving son to Marjorie Catherine Strong (Hanrahan) and Gould Anthony Strong, Jr., and close brother to Daniel Leo Strong, Thomas Booth Strong, Joseph Michael Strong and Kathleen Margaret Freije.
What an uncle "JJ" was to his nine nieces and nephews and 12 grandnieces and grandnephews. A big kid at heart, he was devoted to the children of the family - whether it was hosting annual Easter egg hunts, never-ending crab feasts or making regular events like Myrtle Beach trips and Christmas parties that much more special.
His family will miss his laughter, waterfront hospitality and zeal for the Washington Football Team. He was the type of brother, uncle and friend you'd wish for anyone - full of love, mischief and willing to sit and spin yarns about the fondest family memories.
Upon retiring from the U.S. Postal Service after 37 years of service, he entered into a management position with RCI. Warmer weather beckoned and he became a permanent resident of Jupiter, Fla. Perhaps no one will miss JJ more than his lifelong best friend, boatmate and go-to, Gary Braswell. Theirs was a partnership that spanned several decades and met with myriad adventures, joys and enterprises.
JJ’s viewing will begin on May 14th from 10:30 AM until 1:30 PM at Aycock-Riverside Funeral and Cremation Center, 1112 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL 33458 (next to Culvers Restaurant).
Please arrive by 2:00 PM to Riverside Memorial Park, 19351 SE County Line Rd. Tequesta, for a Graveside Service. Fr. Aidan Lacy will officiate followed by a eulogy from Chris Strong then JJ will be laid to rest.
10:30 am - 1:30 pm
Riverside Memorial Park
James J. Strong
May 14, 2021
JJ was one of the first Strong family members I met, and in typical JJ fashion, it was memorable! Gerry brought me to a crab feast at JJ and Gary's house "down Deale" and there was tons of food (including his famous beans, yum), crabs, beers, conversation, and laughter.
JJ truly loved his family and friends, and he showed it. He will be really, really missed, and always loved.
May 13, 2021
Goodbye, my special friend! I thank God that you were part of my life's journey. You and Gary are beyond friends.
My family first learned of you and Gary as "The Boys" from my Uncle Iryll and Aunt Hazel. You had adopted your Deale neighbors and cared for them for years. I am grateful for all the care and love you gave to them as they got older and weaker. No one could have been better friends than you were. They truly loved "The Boys"
As my family and I began to visit Deale more to help them, you and Gary treated us like family and always shared so much joy and love with us. Your gift for hospitality was exceptional!!
Sharing your home, inviting Joe and me to Ocean City to celebrate my 50th birthday (Best Birthday Ever). Even more loving, you and Gary invited me to Florida after my husband died. What a blessing that was -THANKS!!
My most heartfelt condolences to all. We were all blessed by JJ!
May 12, 2021
JJ and I were closest in age of all of the five siblings; therefore we were probably a little closer in our childhood than the others. We both had big dreams. I wanted to be Mickey Mantle, and JJ wanted to be Sheriff Matt Dillion. As time went by, JJ gave up the spurs and holsters, and eventually became a huge sports fan, mostly for the teams I enjoyed. We would frequently go to baseball games, first in DC, and eventually in Baltimore, and both of us were big Redskins fans. By the 90's, Gary, JJ, and I would frequently go to Orioles games at the new stadium. We loved the moments when Boston was in town and JJ would scream at Mo Vaughn from the Red Sox, calling him Blowfish over and over. Of course, we weren't the favorite of the Red Sox fans. JJ would occasionally give you a little "batter, batter, batter, swing batter" which usually got Gary and me laughing.
My mother and father were in a deeply flawed marriage, and when our brother Dan became a high school senior, he told my mother that he would help her out of that bad situation. Upon graduating high school, he went to work at Giant Food and gave mom his paycheck. About four years later, I was a high school senior, and Dan informed me I would become the father figure of the family, and I did so dutifully for the next three years until I was drafted into the army. That was the same year JJ graduated and assumed the reigns of being the provider for the rest of the family. I think all three of us learned a very valuable life lesson of being responsible as a breadwinner and handling money at a very young age.
JJ was always absolutely fun-loving and a little mischievous. We always had great times together. He loved boats and bought his first boat along with Dan, probably around 18 years old. JJ went on to own about five boats over his lifetime, and we always enjoyed going out on the Chesapeake - sometimes raiding the crab pots when we couldn't catch any. We were hungry growing boys, you know.
May 12, 2021
When Gerry, was born in 76, Linda and I had moved to Stafford, VA, and JJ was a frequent visitor, particularly on Sundays. Joining us at church, and he loved to dote on Baby Gerry. If I needed one word to describe my brother, it would be family. Family always came first with JJ and everything he did. I will forever miss the special Easter celebrations that JJ and Gary hosted. Nobody loved those special days more than the children, who were all searching for the magical mystery egg! JJ loved entertaining more than anything else. Christmas was also so special for our family, with JJ serving as Santa Claus for about 10 years. He would nominate young elves to distribute gifts around the room, and he always seemed to especially cherish those moments.
I think there's some strong attraction between FL and all of the Strong men. When Dan and Penny were first married, he would take JJ and visit Siesta Key. I moved to FL in 01', always knowing I wanted to retire there. I think JJ had a strong attraction to FL as well. JJ and Gary followed about 5 or 6 years later and purchased a 2nd home in Jupiter. The boys loved Florida. Gary often would talk about how he couldn't wait to get back down, but I think JJ enjoyed his family time up in MD during the months when they lived in Deale.
Over the years in FL we have celebrated many holidays together, particularly Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl, both of which I loved to host. After dinner, JJ would regale us with many of the hysterical stories of the past.
I cherish the memories we have shared together over the years. JJ, you found a great companion in Gary, and I'm thankful that you both had 40 plus years of happy memories together. Gary, you are as much a part of this family as my flesh and blood, and I'm beyond grateful that you were by JJ's side all along.
I will forever miss my best friend, JJ. Thank you for all the great times. Family is always first. I love you, my brother.
May 11, 2021
As I reflect on my memories of my brother JJ, several themes quickly come to mind. JJ worked hard, played hard and had a huge heart.
In his high school days he set a goal to save enough money so he could get his drivers license as quickly as possible upon turning 16 years old. He achieved this goal by saving his earnings from delivering Washington Post newspapers for several years. Shortly after graduating from high school, JJ landed a job with the US Postal Service. He quickly received a number of promotions, eventually achieving executive positions within the organization. Like all three of my older brothers JJ took his turn in providing our Mother with financial support after she and our Father separated when JJ was approximately 12 years old. He was mature at a young age and gladly took on this additional responsibility. My brother also provided our Mother with much love and attention after she was diagnosed with dementia in her later years.
He had a great sense of humor that was always on display at his legendary crab feasts, Easter egg hunts and other family get togethers. Gary and JJ were very competitive in the family fantasy football league and took home the championship trophy two times. I was a member of JJ’s bowling team for several years and must state that he could get pretty intense when the game was on the line. It was always fun being around my brother.
As far as his heart I can say he always had my back. Upon becoming a single parent of my very young son and daughter, JJ and Gary opened their house to me and allowed us to live there as long as necessary. He was always there ready to provide a short term, zero interest loan when I needed it. In our last few conversations before JJ passed he told me how lucky he was to have such a wonderful family. I want take a moment to recognize Gary for providing so much loving care to my brother in his final months. Everyone should have a partner as good as Gary. You’re loved and missed bro.
May 10, 2021
JJ was the man, plain and simple.
The coolest, the warmest, the most fun.
He loved his crabs as orange as the sunset.
He loved his road trips in the fast lane only, with a few dozen CB friends on the lookout for smokies.
He loved his yard filled with family and friends, and kids on the hunt for the Golden Egg.
He loved his Redskins, no matter how pitiful they were.
He loved to haggle car dealers, bowl strikes straight down the middle, tell stories that got bigger over the years, wrap presents in comic paper, captain his boat down the Bay, and open his arms, heart and home to anyone that needed it.
He leaves a legacy of great times, and a life very well lived.
Until we meet again, love you JJ.
Suzi Strong Marceron
May 8, 2021
Uncle JJ was a shelter in stormy times for many of us. When my parents divorced he was a sympathetic ear to my dad (his brother Dan) and as a result I spent many a Friday night playing cards at the Deale house with the boys (JJ, Gary and dad) while they wound down from a long work week.
I loved when he would arrive at our house for any visit because he always had candy in his pockets for us. In my mind he was the Candy Man! This tradition never ended because when I took my children to his house he would open the pantry and pull out a bag or two of candy and say “Well I think I have a little something here for you if it’s ok with your mom?” The best!
Myrtle Beach family caravans complete with CB radios, crab feasts in the Deale basement, and iconic Easter Egg hunts at the Waldorf house. Uncle JJ loved family. Every time I visited him he asked about Woody and the kids. He would ask for Brad’s baseball schedule and if time allowed when they were in Maryland he and Gary would come out and cheer on my boy.
I was lucky enough to have JJ as my godfather as well. I always felt this made our connection extra special. But over time I realized JJ had a way of making every connection extra special. When he asked you to come sit next to him for a minute to chat it’s because he really wanted to take the time to hear what you had to say.
So many great family stories told again and again I know them by heart, but man what I wouldn’t give to hear him tell me just one more.
Gary, thank you for always sharing him with all of us but especially the last few months.
Uncle JJ your Baby Su Su loves you and misses you! Say hi to dad for me ;)
May 8, 2021
JJ you will be missed (from your loving sister)
You called me several months ago to tell me you were sick
That news hit me like a ton of bricks
I remember last August you told me you were having trouble walking
Even though that made me sad I loved that we were talking
As the days went by you became more withdrawn
And for whatever the reason with me you were no longer talking
My feelings were hurt and my heart was breaking
This wasn’t you and the brother’s soul I knew was taken
We finally talked and felt like my brother was back
You always took care of me and showed you were leader of the pack
We talked about old memories that included Mom and Grano
I also told you to be nice to Gary too
I remembered the days of old
Where your chili was as hot as ever and the beer was cold
Who could forget all the different crab feasts over the years
From many restaurants to your basement in Deale
I am so grateful to Gary for letting me and all the families come to visit
Those times spending with you we will cherish and miss it
Gary took care of you like no one I’ve ever seen
He is the most compassionate and caring human being
I’m choosing to remember the happy times
Loving the guidance you’ve given me and being so kind
Family was always your number one priority
That is a lesson I will carry with me through eternity
It’s hard to believe that you are gone
It’s going to be hard but I’ll try to remain strong
We had a special bond for all to see
And for that I will love you forever so gratefully
May 8, 2021
You were one of the first to welcome me with big open arms into the Strong clan and I will never forget that. I could tell family and family gatherings were as important to you as they are to me and I knew we’d get on famously.
Like I’ve said more than once, I hate that Papa Dan and I didn’t overlap, but having you and Uncle Tom in my life, both full of love and laughs and a little mischief, felt like God gave me a piece of him here on earth to know him by.
Thank you for all the love you showed Vanny Boy and all the kids. The Book of Matthew tells us Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” I think it belongs to you per that heart of yours.
Gary remains one of us. We love you, darlin.
May 7, 2021
My deepest condolences to Gary, and his loving friends and family!! Reading the beautiful words already expressed is no surprise. I wish I could have gotten to know JJ as many of you had the privilege and good fortune. I know what it is like to have a great brother, uncle or friend. They bless our life with immeasurable friendship, guidance and most of all love!!! JJ set the bar!! Rest in peace my friend!!
May 4, 2021
JJ… where do I even begin? We shared so many great adventures, good times and (mostly positive!) financial ventures. I am devastated you are gone. There are no words. But knowing that you are completely at peace and reunited with your Mother, Grandmother, Papa G, Daniel and all the other special people you call family brings me comfort. I can only imagine how that reunion is going. Just wish I could pull up a chair.
It must be said, I’ve never known anyone who loved Maryland Crabs more than you! I enjoyed every one of our feasts, whiling away the hours talking endlessly over your marathon sessions. It was a reliable routine: you’d eat four crabs, taking your time, savoring every morsel over an astounding 6-7 hour period…and then enjoy the cold, leftover crabs for the next several days. It was an artform and you were a true connoisseur.
You loved the little ones. Of all the fun uncles in life, you were gold circle. You paid special attention to the children and never failed to gift them with your time and generosity. Every member of our families thanks you for that.
My heart is heavy. I will sorely miss your friendship, companionship and wealth of knowledge you shared with me, which shaped me to become a better person. I am so very grateful to have had the privilege to share the past 42 years loving you, your big, beautiful family, your loyal friends, along with all the members of my family. I know I speak for everyone when I say, there’s already a hole in our hearts: you are a felt absence and irreplaceable in our lives. I cherish the memories that will remain in my heart and soul for eternity.
I promise I will go on and live things out for the both of us. I’ll visit those National Parks, eat some crabs now and then, laugh with family, and sit in the Florida sun, smiling up at God and you. But a bit of my light has gone out.. and I won’t have it back till we reunite one day in Heaven. “At any rate”, as you so often liked to say, I love you.
April 30, 2021
One thing that JJ always took pride in was his expertise of how to make the best chili! I love hot and spicy and his recipes did not disappoint! He was an all around great guy, loved family & most of all loved life and living it to the fullest, as I recall. I will always have great memories of him. I'm sure Gary will miss him dearly. Sorry, to the whole Strong family, for their loss.
April 30, 2021
As his nephew I have fond memories of Uncle JJ over the years. Bumper pool in his basement, pulling up crab pots, Easter egg hunts, spicy chili, boat rides, fireworks in Myrtle Beach and fantasy football drafts come to mind. The constant throughout was a smile on JJ's face. Easy to tell he loved his life and his family.
Bless up JJ, we miss you already