John “Jack” Edward Eldridge
A well known, long time resident of Wiliamsburg and former business owner, Jack Eldridge passed away at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital on March 7, 2006, surrounded by his family.
Jack was born April 21, 1925 in Elma and lived in the area all his life. When he became old enough to work he would help at any kind of a job that he could get such as; picking apples, helping farmers, and fixing cars.
In 1945 he got a job at the Tack Factory in Morrisburg and worked there until 1947. He got a job with Sanford G. Wells & Sons Ford Dealership in Aultsville. He worked at mechanical work, along with changing oil and serving gas, until he felt he knew enough to write his mechanics licence. He passed on the first try. He continued to work at the Ford Dealership until April 1951, and at the age of 26 he and another mechanic, Clare Hollister, decided to rent a garage in Williamsburg that was owned by Supertest. They became partners and called the business Eldridge & Hollister. The business soon boomed and they were working in shifts, staying open 24 hours serving gas, fixing tires, repairing trucks and cars as this was during the beginning of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Their partnership tragically ended in 1956 when Clare Hollister was killed in an area of road construction on Highway 31. Jack then had to purchase his partner’s share of the business and it became known as Eldridge & Son. Being the handy person that he was, he decided to write exams for auto body repair and paint. Again he passed the exam. He then decided to hire local young people to pump gas and other odd jobs to allow him more time for general repair work.
During this time he acquired a few cars, fixed them up, and put them up for sale. He enjoyed very much dealing in cars, and also with customers whose cars had broke down, so he invested in a tow truck. In the 1970’s, business started to change so he enlarged his car lot and concentrated on selling more cars rather than doing body work and painting as he was working by himself. He changed the business name to Eldridge Motor Sales. In 1981, Linda Smith rented the garage from Jack and started her own car lot under the name LMS Motor Sales keeping Jack on as a mechanic. In 1989, Bill Smith purchased the garage which still remains as LMS Motor Sales. Jack continued working and running errands for Bill until he became ill in November 2005.
In his younger years he was very much involved in his own business but also accepted the position of fire chief with the Williamsburg Fire Dept.
He also got involved in stock car racing and he competed at local race tracks. He also rebuilt a 1930 Model “A” 1/4 ton truck, using it as a show truck at car shows, winning trophies for best in class. He travelled as far as Quebec City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and many surrounding cities.
Jack married Edna Belanger on April 17, 1965. Throughout his life, he was a very active and fun loving person. He did love to get together as a family and enjoyed acting as a clown. He sure enjoyed dancing. He was a real family man and took his family camping locally and from the east coast to the west coast. Jack had much determination; he would take on any job and work at it until the job was complete.
Jack was the son of the late Lillian Hayes and was raised by Thomas Sr. and Minnie Eldridge. He was the much loved husband of Edna Eldridge (nee Belanger) and dearest father of Allan (Barbara) of Ingleside and Louise (Steven) Backes of Williamsburg. He was the dear grandfather of Todd of Ingleside, Craig (Chantel) of Cornwall, and great-grandfather of Amber Lyn, Tyler, and Emily. He was the half brother of Jean Warwick of Gananoque, Matthew (Norma) Hayes of Prescott, Sheila (Sterling) Beckstead of Cardinal, Wade (Lenore) Hayes of Kingston, Patricia (Clarence) Pankhurst of Brockville, Ann (Ralph) Lein of Remley, Alberta, Michael (Terri) Hayes of Red Deer, Alberta, Elizabeth Halvorsen of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Blanche (Ron) Stevens of Red Deer, Alberta, and Mary Jane (Ron) Horton of Gananoque. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by half brothers William and Terrance Hayes and by his Eldridge brothers and sisters; Thomas Jr., Samuel, Charles, Ivy McAran, Marjorie Griffith, and Violet Lavictoire
The funeral service was conducted at Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on March 10 with Rev. Blair Paterson officiating. Interment followed at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg.
The pallbearers were his nephews Raymond Eldridge, Bert Eldridge, Ron Eldridge, Lloyd Griffith, Gordon Griffith, and Carter Lavictoire. Honorary pallbearers were Bill Smith, Marc Baldwin, and grandsons Todd Eldridge and Craig Eldridge.
Donations to New Union Cemetery or the Williamsburg I.O.O.F. Lodge would be appreciated by the family.