Jack William Cerone, of Pensacola Beach, Florida passed away on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Jack was born on June 12, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Pete and Wilma Cerone and older brother to Phil Cerone.
Jack was the beloved husband of Kay Cerone for 48 years; father to Jason Cerone, Justin Cerone, Jeff Cerone, Reina Cerone and Jordan Cerone; grandfather to JJ, Jack, Taima, Ivory, Grayson, Jaden and Raphael.
He came from a big Italian family. He was named after his paternal grandfather, Gioacchino. Family was very important to him and he kept lifelong contacts with his relatives and many cousins.
After finishing high school at John Bartram High in Philadelphia, Jack joined the Navy. Jack was proud to serve his country and through his life would continue to try and make his country better through civic engagement and community activism.
While in the Navy he was stationed at Pensacola where he attended and was part of the first graduating class of the University of West Florida. It was also in Pensacola that he met his wife, Kay Cerone. Married on Dec 24, 1971, Jack and Kay started their adventure through life together.
Jack, a life-long student, continued his studies, obtained a Master's degree in history, and eventually graduated with a PhD. in Education. It was as a teacher that his passion for sharing knowledge and helping the community shined brightest. He worked as an educator, part-time administrator and union representative at City College of San Francisco for 28 years. He was dedicated to help shape the minds of tomorrow. He worked alongside his wife, brother, and sister-in-law who were also teachers at City College.
Jack and Kay started their lives as parents in 1980. They adopted their first child. They invited four more into their home in the course of several years, infant twins, and a sister and baby brother. Jack and Kay were devoted parents, committed to providing solid foundations and love so that their kids could live the best lives possible.
Jack was an avid runner and tri-athlete, having competed in countless, organized runs, marathons and triathlons. Though by his own admission not the fastest, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone more dedicated and head-strong in getting to the finish line. It was tenacity and stubbornness, what his mom would call a "capa tosta" that allowed him to excel through life as a grandfather, father, husband, brother, uncle, educator, athlete and friend.
Jack was a die-hard liberal Democrat. He worked for many years with the Escambia county Democrat organization and others. He had a passion for trying to help implement policy change to help his neighbors and those in need. Anyone who has ever talked to Jack was sure to see the passion he had in his beliefs. Not one to shy away from a political argument, he was always happiest engaging in friendly discourse.
Jack and Kay retired from San Francisco to Pensacola Beach in 2001. Jack loved being steps away from the water, able to dive in and go for a swim or take a sunset walk on the beach. After losing his home to Hurricane Ivan, he designed and oversaw the construction of a new home that he described as “paradise.”
Jack embodied the temperament of the main character in The Old man and the Sea. "Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated." He balanced his seriousness with a wicked sense of Monty Python humor. Jack will be missed and remembered as exactly he should be, a loving husband to Kay, brother to Phil, father to 5 children and “papa” to 7 grandchildren. He will be remembered for his passion and energetic personality. There was no such thing as a stranger to Jack. To have known him was to love him.
A Committal Service will be held on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 11:30am at Barrancas National Cemetery. The procession will meet at 11:00am at Olive Baptist Church-Warrington Campus, 103 W. Winthrop Avenue, Pensacola, Florida 32507.
There will be a Celebration of Life Service on June 12, 2020 from 6:00 - 10:00pm at the Hilton Hotel, 12 Via DeLuna Drive, Pensacola Beach, Florida 32561 in the White Sands Room.