John Alfred Ross died peacefully on Jan. 5 after a brief illness. He was 89.

John, known to most as Jack, will be remembered fondly as a great guy who loved to laugh. He was born on Jan. 7, 1931 in Newark, N.J., the son of Dorothy Sanders Ross and Johannes (John) S. Ross, a commercial heat treater who moved to the U.S. from Denmark as a child. He was proud of his Danish heritage, and the life and values his parents gave him.

From a young age, he worked in the family business, Ironbound Heat Treating Co., and was an accomplished metallurgist. He achieved greatness for Ironbound, becoming a leader in vacuum heat treating, and being known in the industry as one of the cleanest heat treating shops on the East Coast. He was a past president of the Metal Treating Institute (MTI) and was the recipient of the MTI Legend Award and the MTI Heritage Award.

Jack married Phylis Knight Ross on June 16, 1953. The couple grew up in Maplewood, N.J. and lived across the street from each other. They spent the first year of their marriage living in Fulda, Germany where Jack was stationed during the Korean War. After returning to the States, they started a family and had five children whom they raised in Basking Ridge, N.J.

From childhood, Jack enjoyed being outdoors. His father and he were avid fishermen and hunters and enjoyed boating on Lake Wallenpaupack in Pennsylvania.

An avid sports fan, Jack was involved with his children’s athletic teams. Among his favorite sports were wrestling, baseball, football and golf. In addition to serving on the Basking Ridge zoning board, he helped create several athletic fields in their home town.

In the summer of 1965, Phylis and Jack, their five children and their dog loaded into the family station wagon and headed to Martha’s Vineyard for the first time. They were told by an Island friend that if they got the Island sand in their shoes, they would always return.

They did so every summer thereafter.

After raising their kids in New Jersey, Phylis and Jack retired to their home on the Vineyard and quickly became involved in the community. Jack served on the board of Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and both he and his wife Phylis were active members of the Edgartown Federated Church and Farm Neck Golf Club. While on-Island, Jack could often be found golfing, clamming, birdwatching or cooking on the grill.

Later, the couple moved to the Villages in Florida where they enjoyed warm weather, golfing and a community filled with friends. Eventually, they settled in Cheshire, Conn. to live out their final years close to family.

Jack was a devoted husband, father and friend. Extremely outgoing and gregarious, he could strike up a conversation with just about anyone. He will be remembered for leaving most places better than he found them, all while offering a giggle and smile.

He was predeceased by his wife, Phylis; his parents; his sister, Marion Ross Lobell; and his daughter Pamela Knight Ross.

He is survived by his sons John Ross of Bridgewater, N.J., and Andy Ross of Kirkland, Wa.; his daughters Dodie Ross of Cheshire, Conn and Stacy Ross of Edgartown; and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life will be announced in late summer.