Cover photo for Jay Lawrence Sacks's Obituary
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Jay Lawrence Sacks

April 30, 1936 — November 28, 2023

Jay Lawrence Sacks

Jay Lawrence Sacks, 87, passed away peacefully after a short illness on November 28, 2023 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  

Jay was born April 30, 1936 to Max and Betty Sacks in the Bronx, New York, where, along with his older brother Stuart, they lived in an apartment off the Grand Concourse.  After overcoming mastoiditis at age 2, Jay had a typical childhood filled with friends, like Stuart Greenberg, David Green, and Neil Grundman (who became life-long friends); summer camp at Camp Mooween in Connecticut; and a brief dalliance with the daughter of Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez.  After graduating from William Howard Taft High School, Jay left for college at Bucknell, where he once played piano for Duke Ellington, before graduating in 1957 – he may not have learned much from books, but he learned how to drink martinis from friend Bobby Lyons.  

After a short stint in the service, where he trained on howitzers (that may have contributed to hearing loss in his later years), Jay searched for a career, spending time with H.L. Green, a five-and-dime, in Seattle, Dot Records in Buffalo, and as a Maidenform Brassiere salesman in the South.  It was there that he met his first wife, Marcia Harris, in Atlanta.  They married in 1967 in Gadsden, Alabama, and settled in Atlanta, where Jay attended Emory Law School at night.  Following graduation from Emory Law, with no desire to practice law, Jay joined a management trainee program at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, where he would work until he retired as a Vice President.  

His son Marc was born in 1972, followed by Philip in 1976.  They lived outside Atlanta in Marietta, where Jay built a pool in the back of their home on Cedar Hill Way and drove Cadillac sedans.  In 1979, Jay became a Regional Manager with Met Life, and the family followed him to Tampa.  They lived happily there for a decade until Marcia’s death from cancer in 1989.  Jay fortunately found Lynn Deitch, also a widower, and they married in 1992, and would remain together until his passing.  Jay soon retired, and, after moving to Lakewood Ranch in 2000, Lynn did as well, which allowed the couple to travel regularly, visiting Europe, South America, Africa and Asia – experiencing the beauty and diversity of the world, often on their beloved cruises.

Jay will be remembered for many things, including his impeccable sense of humor – he had an extremely quick wit and great comic timing.  He was a phenomenal piano player – he wrote and copyrighted a song as a teenager – and played “by ear” for decades to the delight of family, friends and those to whom he devoted time to playing for in later years.  Beyond playing the piano, he loved music, particularly Broadway, and compiled a huge vinyl record collection.  He loved cards – his family loved to play gin and cribbage with him – and he loved to win and add on a little playful gloating.  He was a strong poker player – such that his family wondered how his Lakewood Ranch friends allowed him to keep playing when he came home with their money much more often than not.  And he loved animals, adoring his sweet dog Baby in his later years (as he did Dolly years earlier).  Finally, of course, he loved his martinis (with gin of course, though that shouldn’t need to be said!), which he would make at home in a precise series of steps that led to chilled perfection.  But most of all, Jay loved his family.  Though robbed early of his father, who passed from a sudden heart attack in 1961, Jay doted on his mother and helped take care of her until her passing.  He was an incredible father to Marc and Philip – steady, supportive, non-judgmental, and always there for them, particularly after the loss of Marcia.  He was equally caring for Andrew and Steven, Lynn’s sons.  His love also extended to his brother Stuart and sister-in-law Gloria, and their daughters and families, and to Marcia’s and Lynn’s families (though don’t ask him to attend a bar or bat mitzvah with loud music and dinner served at 10:30 p.m.!).  And he especially loved his grandchildren, Hayden, Fisher, Maressa, Elodie and Penelope.

Jay was loving, kind, modest, sharp until the end (mock toasting the nurses who arranged for him to enter hospice) and will be missed terribly by those who loved him.

Donations in honor of Jay may be made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (https://www.bcrf.org/), the Sarasota-based All Faiths Food Bank (https://allfaithsfoodbank.org/), Temple Emanu-El (https://www.sarasotatemple.org/), or to any charity of your choice.

There will be a short graveside service for family and close friends Friday, December 1, at 11:00 a.m. at the Schaarai Zedek cemetery (3406 N Ola Ave, Tampa, 33603).  Virtual attendance available at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8138743330?pwd=N0kzOWt5d3BIOHJHUk1KOEkwQ3Fvdz09&omn=87065800078
Meeting ID: 813 874 3330; Passcode: SEGAL2023

Later Friday afternoon, there will be a Celebration of Life for Jay at Temple Emanu-El (151 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232) beginning at 2:30 p.m.  

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, December 1, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Schaarai Zedek Cemetery

3508 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

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Celebration of Life

Friday, December 1, 2023

2:30 - 3:30 pm (Eastern time)

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