John “Jack” McBriarty, an insurance industry executive passed away peacefully early Sunday morning at the age of 79. Born to working-class parents Alice and Simeon McBriarty on September 2, 1937, Jack was the eldest of three children, Jim McBriarty (76), a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia and Mary Gianni, who passed away in Marin County, California in 1999.
Jack was an unlikely success story who started working at the age of eight shining shoes and selling newspapers. Too impatient for the classroom, Jack’s education largely came from the proud gritty streets of Lynn. After a myriad of jobs throughout his youth, that included working as a grave-digger, Jack took a job in his early twenties in the mailroom of Crum and Forster Insurance Company in Boston. Jack’s work ethic and outgoing personality quickly caught the attention of an executive, who helped him gain entry to the company’s manager training program, despite not having the required college degree.
This early position was the start of a forty plus year career in the insurance field. Over the years, Jack held Vice-President positions at numerous insurance companies and agencies in Massachusetts and was highly respected for his industry knowledge and award-winning sales acumen. In addition to being labeled a born salesman, Jack was an infectious practical-joker and a gifted storyteller.
While on a trip to New York City in the fall of 1962, it was Jack’s storytelling ability, along with his quick wit and charm, that attracted the attention of a young woman, Judy Whittier, who as fate would have it, was also from Lynn. After a lengthy engagement, the couple finally married in May of 1967.
Shortly after the birth of their children, Jason McBriarty (46), currently living in Oakland, California and April Weismann (44), a resident of Brookline, New Hampshire, Jack and Judy moved their family out of Lynn, eventually settling in Milford, New Hampshire.
For 10 years, Jack commuted daily to Massachusetts for work and then in the spring of 1986 with decades of knowledge, but little more than a yellow pad of paper and a mechanical pencil, he announced to his family that he was starting his own business, McBriarty Insurance. First opened on the Milford Oval, the company grew quickly and Jack became a civic leader. With the help of his daughter April, who joined the company in 2000, Jack built McBriarty Insurance into a successful and respected enterprise. In 2010, he sold the business to the Holt Agency (now HPM Insurance). Jack retired shortly after the sale, but April continues as Vice-President of Business Development and Communications.
Jack generously donated his time and money to various causes, including coaching and umpiring in Milford’s Little League Baseball program. He was also a daily fixture at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, where he was affectionately nicknamed “Big Mac.” A devoted follower of the Red Sox since childhood, and season ticket holder of the New England Patriots for 25 years, he was happy that after decades of sports misery, both teams have brought home multiple championships.
In addition to Judy, his wife of 50 years, brother Jim, and two children, Jason and April, Jack is survived by four grandchildren, Ollie, Theo, Denali and Theodore.
Jack was considered a “snappy” dresser, who often donned hats and two-tone wingtips. Throughout his life, countless friends and strangers alike have enjoyed a late afternoon story over a beer with Jack, but he was also a keen listener. No matter what he was doing, Jack was always willing to stop and lend an ear, offer advice or even a little “helping hand” to someone in need.
Memorial visiting hours are on Friday, February 17th from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in the Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford, NH. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in St. John Neumann Church, 708 Milford Road, Merrimack, NH. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, 480 Pleasant Street, Watertown, MA 02472 or online at https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2?21641.donation=form1&df_id=21641
Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, Milford, NH. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please go to www.smith-heald.com.