COOPERSTOWN – John Poole Briggs, 85, died peacefully at his home in Ormond Beach, Florida, on September 16, 2022, with his fiancé at his side.
He was born on August 9, 1937, to Harold John Poole and Edna Martha (Fredericks) Briggs of Northport. As a young boy, he spent summers on his father’s boat, the “Silver Fox,” where he developed a love for the ocean. A businessman at heart, John would sell batteries and T.V. tubes to fishermen and boaters on the dock in Northport. At 15, he opened his first T.V. repair shop behind the Midway, a newspaper & soda shop. He then proceeded to help his lifelong friend, Elsa Posey, who was also 15, open her school of dance.
In 1954, he drove his 1934 wood-side Ford across the country to Alaska. After his funds were exhausted, he returned home. The young businessman continued his T.V. repair business as he rented a shop on Main Street in Northport. One lesson he would reflect on often was when his father borrowed $1,000.00 from him and used it as a down payment to purchase a building for the business. His father’s opinion was, in business, if you have to make payments, “it is better to own than rent.”
In 1958 he began his service in the Army, where he served as a wireman specialist for 3 years. He was discharged from the Ready Reserve in 1965 and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal. John married and, in 1967, moved his family to Hartwick, where he continued his T.V. business while opening the Cooperstown Tent and Trailer Campground. Later, he built and opened the Hartwick Heights Mobile Home Park and the Lollypop Farm & Petting Zoo. Also, during those years, he studied organ at Hartwick College with Dr. Claire Coci, built an entire pipe organ in his living room, and married Jeanne Norman -Briggs.
He was an avid gardener, loved to listen to music, and enjoyed talking and meeting new friends. He was a life member of the NRA, the American Legion, and a 29-year member of Otsego Lodge No. 138, Free & Accepted Masons in Cooperstown. After his retirement in 2012, John returned to the ocean. He spent his last years in Florida with his partner camping, riding a trike, sightseeing (ship museums), walking on the beach, and playing with their dogs.
John is predeceased by his wife Jeanne Norman-Briggs, father Harold Briggs, mother Edna Fredericks-Briggs, brother Robert Harold Briggs and niece Andrea Beams.
John is survived by his partner and fiancé Rebekah Mead; his son Christopher John Briggs (Tamara) and their four children, Caitlin, Noah, Joshua, and Andrew Briggs; his daughter, Anita Jean Briggs Jones (Lyle Jones) and his step-grandchildren Victor, Brent and Shane and their respective significant others and families.
He leaves behind many first cousins, Gail Fredericks-Latchford, David Fredericks, Dick Fredericks, Doug Fredericks, and many nephews and nieces.
John had an infectious smile and was an inspiration to many people. Through his works, many lifelong friendships were forged. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed.
Family and friends may call and pay their respects from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown. At 5 p.m., a Masonic Memorial Service will be conducted by Brothers of Otsego Lodge No. 138, F. & A.M., Cooperstown. Following this, prepared remarks will be presented by family members. Military Honors will then be accorded by members of the Cooperstown Veterans Club and the New York State Military Forces Honor Guard.
Following the visitation and services, there will be a Celebration of Life at the Hartwick Rod and Gun Club, Rod & Gun Club Road, Hartwick.
In lieu of flowers, John’s family would appreciate memorial donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38146-0142 or Boys Town P.O. Box 6000, Boys Town NE 68010, or The National Rifle Association of America, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.