There comes a time in every life when all things cease, and what led up to this moment was a rich and rewarding lifetime. It all began growing up in Mobile. Riding bicycles down to Mobile Bay to go crabbing, walking to the store while holding his sister’s hand, scaring the neighbors as they walked past his yard at night with a long rope resembling a snake watching them scream and run home, riding his pony, fishing the Mobile rivers and hunting with his Dad, graduating from the historical Murphy High and his first car, a 1940 Ford Coupe.
One semester at Auburn taking Animal Husbandry classes was enough to convince him he was wasting his Dad’s money so he and a childhood friend, Mac, joined the Navy. They went to enlist in the Air Force but the lines were too long so they went over to the Navy office where they were welcomed in, joined up and started a new adventure. Following boot camp and while on leave, he thumbed across the US from San Diego to Mobile before the world travels brought stationing in Guam, Okinawa, Coronado Island and serving aboard the USS Shangri-La with memories of being catapulted off the aircraft carrier deck at least 500 times. The Navy years gave him new perspective on life and afterwards he returned to college. Graduating from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering earned him the highest paying job offer among his engineering classmates and he was off to a new career in Dallas, Texas.
Opportunities presented themselves and he boldly took each chance leaving Collins Radio moving to Lufkin with Southland Paper and later on to the Houston mill. After ten years in pulp and paper operations, he joined the services industry of CRS Sirrine briefly before jumping ship to join Brown & Root from which he held a long career with challenging assignments. In the mid-80s was presented with an opportunity to return home to Mobile and help grow Brown & Root’s southeast region for the pulp and paper industry. The old saying is you can’t go back home, it would not be the same after living in Houston for many years. He took the chance and found it familiar and good to be back. Along the way, he met a girl whom he later said was the best thing that ever happened to him; he put a ring on it and married Tammy in 1994. Brown & Root presented overseas travel to varied locales and an assignment to Johannesburg, South Africa as project manager on a multi-million dollar upgrade to Sappi’s paper mill; a Paris, France project to design Renault’s automobile manufacturing facility and on to Curitiba, Brazil. Following a forty year career in the engineering discipline, he told his colleagues life was calling and retired in Houston, Texas.
Jay was a gifted storyteller sought out at client entertainment events for fishing, hunting or over dinner to tell it again, the center of attention with a wild tale, all true no doubt. In many a gathering with his brother and sister, the memories of growing up in Mobile, fishing with their Dad, getting into trouble at school and Mother’s baking their favorite cakes could bring on ensuing laughter that went on for hours with stories so vividly recalled it was as if each happened only yesterday, stories so vast there isn’t enough paper to write them. Jay wanted to know about all things and was an avid reader with a book collection that could sink a ship. He camped the Colorado Rockies with Steve and remembered their adventure. Intelligent with a great personality, he could talk shop on any subject, many with firsthand knowledge be it guns, combustion engines, cars, motorcycles, photography, tools, fertilizer, dog training, work, politics, the weather and all things electrical. A love of good food put him on a journey to be a great cook with cookbooks galore. He rode motorcycles trekking solo to Key West, with his B&R friends on Alabama coastal Poker Runs, to Daytona Beach and riding the Blue Ridge Mountains with JoAnn and Henter on one of his last great touring rides. He leaves behind a few favorites like Miracle Whip, a couple hundred yellow no. 2 pencils, thirty seven flashlights, knives aplenty, his road sign photo collection, enough maps to wallpaper a home and good Scotch. He was a spectator of many sports, especially football, and ranked his alma mater at the top because who else is there except Alabama; Roll Tide. Right up there with the best online technology, he streamed movies via Roku hours on end and shopped Amazon daily, a one-click expert. He was a Christian and lived by the Golden Rule, fortunate with a long, good life.
Jay is survived by his wife, Tammy, for whom he was her true North; a daughter, Dawn (Charlie) of Bakersfield, California; a son, Steve (Danette) of Houston, Texas; a sister, JoAnn (Henter) of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and his brother, Bill (Edith) of Pearland, Texas; man’s best friends, Chuy and Tito. He is predeceased by his parents, J.E. Sheridan, Sr. and Estelle Sheridan and his smart rat terrier, Zena.
Kind and generous with all he was given, he was deeply loved and will be missed forevermore. There are many who extended a strong arm in these recent years for which he was most appreciative. Giving him a final lift serving as pallbearers will be Bill Sheridan, Steve Sheridan, Jeff Blackwell, Patrick Hollingsworth, Sammy Wells and Quinn Gautier.
He leaves us with these words of wisdom. . . ‘Love doesn’t make the world go round, it makes the ride worthwhile.”
In lieu of flowers, consider a donation in his name to Citizens for Animal Protection, 17555 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX, 77094, from where he recently adopted Tito and he was working on making him a ‘good boy.’
- Visitation Wednesday, July 11, 2018
- Funeral Service Wednesday, July 11, 2018