Obituary of Jack E. Symonds
December 20, 2020. Jack is survived by his wife, Nancy (Braun) Symonds; children, James (Margot) Symonds, Michael (Shannon) Symonds, Marilyn Garrett, Janice Gillenwater & Jacquie (Alan) Cohen; 8 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; several nieces & nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Symonds; sister, Gwendolyn Bonamie, daughter-in-law, Rita Symonds & son-in-law, James Garrett. Jack was the founder and operator of Jackson's Bakery in Greece, NY.
Jack's Funeral Mass will be celebrated, Wednesday, January 6th, 10 AM at Our Mother Of Sorrows Church, 5000 Mt. Read Blvd. **Live Stream Funeral Mass** Click here
His Entombment in Riverside Cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Hillside Children's Center, 1183 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620, Attn: Administration Building
Jack's early childhood was spent at Hillside Orphanage (ages 6 to about 12), due to the Depression. There, he learned to cane chairs, tap dance, and sing in a choir. He also assumed responsibility for his younger brother. Once home, he enjoyed playing drums, raising chickens, hustling vegetables, making Indian bonnets, and boxing. He also would sneak down the gutter pipe to play football or jump rooftops to pick neighbors cherries. Sandlot football was his first love. Jack was not a good student. He preferred being active and could not sit still. He did love to dance, excelling at the jitterbug.
The day after Pearl Harbor, Jack enlisted in the navy. He was a proud Navy veteran of WWII, serving on the destroyer, U.S.S. Charrette, after watching it being built. At sea, he was involved in 17 major engagements in the South Pacific, earning a bronze star. He served as a baker and a gunner's mate at sea. He also took up boxing again early in the navy and won the middleweight championship of the 1st Naval District and won a drumming contest so that he and his buddies could have a round of drinks.
After the war, he established Jackson's Bakery in 1947, which is still going strong today in Greece, because of Jack's insistence on using quality ingredients. Jack was very respected in his field. He was a member of the Monroe County Bakery Association and served as President to the NYS Bakery Association.
Jack’s family grew to include 3 children. Continuing to stay active, he fought in the amateur bouts at the Elks Club during his 20's. Later he took up ballroom dancing, skiing, golfing, and horseback riding. Everything Jack did he excelled at. Jack claimed: " I always had the desire to do better than anyone else" giving him a very competitive nature, especially on the golf course. He had his heart and soul into everything he did. After learning how to ski, he and his brother-in-law built a ski chalet in Holimont, skiing once or twice a week every winter. After taking riding lessons and competing in registered horse shows in his 50's, he decided to build his own riding arena in Brockport. There he boarded his and other’s horses, taught English style riding and took people to horse shows.
Jack remarried and had another two children. Semi-retired, he had more time to tend to the horses and play golf. He was a member at LeRoy, Hickory Ridge and Ridgemont Golf Clubs. After moving back to Greece, Jack struggled to keep up golf, finally giving up playing this year, although he would occasionally put or chip in his living room.
He always wanted to go to Hawaii to revisit it after the war. He did so at age 85 and was honored to be thanked for his service at Pearl Harbor.
Jack worked hard and played hard. He was also an avid Buffalo Bills fan. He was quick with a smile and had the most courageous and indomitable spirit. In his sports, his baking, and his life, Jack was always a most generous and willing mentor and person.