The flags at Pamet Harbor and on the Cutter Bloodhound at MacMillan Pier in Provincetown are flying at half-mast to honor John Howard Bloom of Truro, who died at Cape Cod Hospital on Sept. 20, 2023 after suffering a stroke. John was 75.
The son of Ruth and Kenneth Bloom, John was born in Ithaca, N.Y. on Oct. 4, 1947. His parents worked at Cornell University, his mother in fruit research at the agricultural school. “John valued education more than anything,” said his wife, Nancy.
He was on the swim team at Ithaca High School, from which he graduated in 1965. He was drafted into the Army in 1966 and served for two years as a light weapons infantryman, including a 10-month deployment to Vietnam. John was awarded the Vietnam Campaign and Vietnam Service medals.
After his discharge, he earned an associate’s degree from Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y., bartending in the evenings at the Dryden Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. Then he transferred to Husson College in Bangor, Maine, where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1972.
During his first year at Husson, John met Nancy Stawicki. According to their son, Jeff, their first date was at a Janis Joplin concert. “They went to Woodstock, too” he said. “It was wild.” John and Nancy married in 1972 and settled in Medway.
John’s plans to be an accountant changed when he was offered a job at “Ma Bell,” which later became Verizon. “He loved to work outside,” said Nancy. He was primarily a lineman and often traveled the Northeast repairing power lines after storms. He was also part of the team that installed the first fiber optic lines at the data management company EMC in Hopkinton.
John “taught me everything that’s important to living a good life,” said Jeff. “He taught me hard work, how to treat people, and what it takes to build a strong relationship.” Father and son bonded through building, maintaining their property, and fishing — all things that anchor one in the world.
John loved helping people and giving advice, and his care for other people started at home, said Nancy. “He gave me anything I wanted,” she said. “He was always like that.”
After 37 years with Verizon, John retired and settled in Truro in 2007. “He always loved the water,” Nancy said. As a member of the Great Provincetown Schooner Regatta committee in 2007, he was taken for a sail on the Schooner Hindu by Capt. Kevin Foley. When it came time to sail the Hindu to Key West, John joined the crew.
“John was a great crew member,” Foley said. “He knew a lot about engines,” he added, which came in handy when the engine broke down en route. “He also made sure that the ship was supplied with food.”
In 2012, after President Obama had restored travel rights to Cuba, Foley entered the annual race from Key West to Cuba, which he won. John joined him for the next race, after which they spent three days in port. Each day, John went into Havana, and “he went crazy over the old cars,” Foley said. “It felt like car heaven to him.” He returned to the ship one day and reported with excitement, “I found an Edsel.”
John was an avid antique and classic car club member and collector. He was a member of the Model A Club in Hyannis and a lifetime member of the Mass. Cruisers Car Club in Foxboro, where he would help at the biweekly Thursday Cruise Nights at the Bass Pro Shop at Patriot Stadium.
John and Nancy were the resident hosts for the annual Route 6 cruise from Seekonk to Provincetown, said Cruisers Club President John Buchanan. “He was not only a collector,” Buchanan said, “he was a hard worker.” John looked forward to car events in Hershey, Pa. and Charlotte, N.C.
He enjoyed building and renovating properties, said Nancy, “and he was really into antiques.” He loved auctions and attended as many as he could.
John served as assistant harbormaster at Pamet Harbor in Truro for seven years, ensuring the safety of harbor operations, assisting boaters in need, and providing information for visitors. His workday started early, and he looked forward to the breakfasts Nancy would bring to the harbor each morning.
When his work was over, he would take Nancy on her daily rides to take photographs for the Provincetown Independent. “He always told me where to stand to get the best shots,” Nancy said, “and his favorite thing was accompanying me to sailing events for Yachting Times.”
John is survived by his wife, Nancy Bloom of Truro; son Jeffrey Howard Bloom and wife Jean of Lexington; grandson Jack Howard Bloom; and sisters-in-law Debbie Stawicki of Springfield, Va., Charlene Stawicki of Topsfield, and Albina Hanegan and husband Joseph of Lynnfield.
Viewing hours will be 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Nickerson Funeral Home, 340 Main St. in Wellfleet, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. and burial at Old North Cemetery in North Truro.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Truro Council on Aging, 7 Standish Way, North Truro 02652.