UU liFE: Where were you raised, and how?
Jay: My younger brother and I grew up in suburban New York City and later in suburban Philadelphia and attended public schools. My mother and father had a warm relationship and were actively involved in our development. My mother was a homemaker and a lifelong Methodist, and my father, a corporate manager, was at heart a U/U, although he didn’t know it.
I attended a number of Protestant churches in my teen and adult years but none regularly. A couple of times I participated in pre-membership classes but dropped out before completion when it was clear I couldn’t embrace the faith.
How have you made your living?
I graduated from Lehigh with a degree in accounting and followed that with a Wharton MBA in finance. That education initially led to a few years of selling IBM computers to banks. Then began a 30 year career in banking, where after starting in technology, I worked in several different functional areas.
I became an executive vice president in my late thirties and worked for three large banks in Philadelphia and North Jersey. After retiring at 56, I started a small investment practice, which continues today but in a wind-down mode.
What’s the most remarkable thing you’ve done?
Without a doubt having the good fortune to meet and marry Judy has been the backbone of my life. Her strength, companionship, and support have been instrumental to my career and sense of well-being. She carried the load of managing the upbringing of our four children, and our 54 years of marriage have been essentially free of strife and filled with happiness.
How are the kids doing?
We have three sons and a daughter. They range in age from 52 to 41 and all seem pretty happy with their present lot. There are nine grandchildren including two through a second marriage. Our kids are spread out geographically and have followed different career paths. None had any interest in banking despite my encouragement to give it a try.
Our oldest son is a physical therapist running three offices in Baltimore. Our daughter is in the San Francisco area and is chief business officer for a national medical practice corporation. Our second son, now a Baltimorean, sells conveyor systems in the Middle Atlantic region. And our youngest is in optical products quality control in Southern California.
We gather at least once a year, and a month ago we had 21 of us for about a week here in Easton.
What’s the next big thing for you?
At this point in life I’m glad to have fairly good health, and my ambitions are scaled down. That said, I want to join the board of a modest size charity. I’ve served in this role with several agencies, but I’d like to again work with a board where my skills can be used productively.
I’d also enjoy taking a one-month intensive course in conversational Spanish and follow that with a couple of trips to Spain and one of the South American countries. Over the past five years I’ve familiarized myself with the language but haven’t sufficiently developed the skill to understand others. (Judy says this is my problem in English, too!)
How did UUFE and you find each other?
My U/U attendance began about ten years ago mainly through curiosity, and I kept coming because of Jim Bank’s stimulating sermons and discussions and the non-judgmental acceptance that I felt from the fellowship. In addition to joining U/U in 2007, I also attend the U/U fellowship in Vero Beach, FL, where we live for half the year.
How do you serve UUFE and why?
Besides my roles as an usher and past involvement with migrant workers, I’ve been an active founding member of the endowment committee. It’s gratifying to talk with members about giving to UUFE. Our fellowship has struggled financially, and if we can build a meaningful endowment there will be income benefits that let us consider more for staff and raise our outreach.