John Hopkins Caldwell II, known to all as Jack, passed away peacefully on the morning of July 11, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. He is predeceased by his wife Rose and eldest son John, his sister Mary Norwood and brother James “Jim” Caldwell. He is survived by his six children—Phillip, Patsy, Kathleen, Thomas, Molly, and Kevin—as well as thirteen grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
Jack lived an exceptional life and lit up every room with his broad smile and mischievous sense of humor. Born in Pedricktown, N.J. on February 28, 1924 to Caroline Caldwell (née Sofie) and John Hopkins Caldwell (Master Sergeant, U.S. Army), he lived the life of an Army brat, traveling from New Jersey to Schenectady, N.Y., Honolulu, Hawaii, Fort Lawton, Seattle and Fort Worden, leaving an indelible impression on everyone he met along the way. The day he graduated from Port Townsend High School in 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy with his first cousin and lifelong friend Jim Daubenberger.
With the rank of Machinist’s Mate First Class, Jack was assigned to the U.S.S. Augusta and sent to Derry, Northern Ireland as part of the fleet that would eventually storm the beaches of Normandy and liberate France. While stationed in Derry, he met Rose Molloy and began a love story that would last for 72 wonderful years. They married on October 2, 1944, surrounded by Irish family and American sailors. Jack was then transferred to London to serve as the driver for Admiral Alan Kirk, so they moved into a small flat in Chelsea at the height of the Luftwaffe’s aerial bombardment known as The Blitz. For eight months, Rose spent many nights with her neighbors in underground Tube stations while Jack was driving the admiral on clandestine missions across the U.K. When Jack’s naval career ended in 1946, he and Rose made the long voyage back to Port Townsend where Jack’s maternal family, the Sofies, had settled two generations prior.
Jack and Rose’s eldest son John was born on December 8, 1946, followed by Phil in 1948, Patsy in 1950. At the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Jack answered the call to serve and shipped out to San Diego for immediate deployment. However, when his commanding officer realized that he had three small children at home, he was honorably discharged and returned to Washington to continue building his family and career. In 1951 they welcomed daughter Kathy, and son Tom in 1952, all born in the adorable house built by Jack and his uncle Tony Deleo across from Chetzemoka Park. Jack began his illustrious career at the Crown Zellerbach Paper Company after the War and quickly rose to a management role at the Port Townsend Mill. He was transferred to San Leandro, Calif. where Molly was born in 1953, and the family lived happily in Pittsburg, Calif. for several years. Then, in February of 1960, Jack was transferred to Bogalusa, La., and the family moved south during the social upheaval that marked the Civil Rights era. That same year, they welcomed their youngest son, Kevin, as the family adjusted to life in the Deep South. As superintendent of the Multiwall Bag division, Jack hired the first African Americans ever employed by the Bogalusa paper mill, and he worked tirelessly to integrate the mill in a fair and just manner.
He retired in 1982 but never slowed down— attending every grandchild’s graduation, hiking the backcountry of the Sierra Mountains well into his seventies, climbing Mayan ruins in Mexico, and making many pilgrimages back across the Atlantic to visit Ireland with Rose. An avid golfer, Jack lived the retirement dream by moving back to Port Townsend in 1994 to build a house on the P.T. Golf Course, on land that had once been his ancestor’s fruit orchard. For nearly three decades, he was a daily presence on the city’s course. He sunk his first hole-in-one in 1997 on the Seventh Hole, and a second one years later, though he claimed did not actually count since it hit the cart path and bounced into the hole. An honest man and a purist, he truly played for the love of the game! Jack was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus, Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, and the American Legion.
Jack lived his life with courage, compassion, and an ever-present twinkle in his eye. His loss will be deeply felt in every corner of the country, and his memory cherished by all who knew him. A memorial service will be held at the Fort Worden Chapel on August 13 at 12:30 p.m., followed by a reception at the Port Townsend Golf Course Clubhouse at 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Jack’s honor to the wonderful mission of the ECHHO Foundation at 1110 Jefferson St, Port Townsend.