It is with great sadness that the family of Mr. Maurice Jay Southmayd, age 96, announces his passing on August 2, 2022.
Maurice Jay Southmayd was born May 13, 1926, in Lake Placid, NY, to the late Maurice Orlando and Lillian Southmayd. He was married to Roberta Irene Maynard for nearly 75 years; she preceded his death on June 11, 2021. Tall, with bright blue eyes, an engaging smile, and a forthright manner, Maurice was a well-respected, well-loved leader within the community.
Maurice's family moved to Jay, NY, in 1932 and he attended school in Au Sable. On the day following his 17th birthday, Maurice where he enlisted in the US Navy Seabees. Following eight weeks of boot camp and advanced training at Camp Peary, he joined the 112th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) and spent time in Quoddy Village, Maine. After reassignment to the 114th NCB, Maurice spent months in Guam unloading ships, driving trucks, handling explosives and dodging snipers. Following the end of the war in the Pacific and while Maurice waited to be released to head home, he volunteered to serve at a Japanese POW camp, eventually becoming the Sergeant of the Guard. In April 1946, Maurice was called to the security shack. The Lieutenant told him, "Your name was pulled from a hat-you're going to be sent to witness atomic bomb tests. Your plane is leaving in an hour-get your gear. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to try to get you out of it." Maurice stood among the 1,000 men waiting in line while the planes warmed up. At the last minute, a jeep came screaming up and Maurice was told to report back to the shack-the Lieutenant had called in a favor and within a couple of weeks, Maurice was ordered back home. After landing in New York on May 23, 1946, Maurice headed home to Jay. Maurice always said that he felt that enlisting was the right thing to do, and was proud of his service.
Once home, Maurice devoted his time and efforts to raising a family, starting his career as a plumber and heating tradesman, and serving the community. Maurice served on the Au Sable Valley school board and he was a member of the Jay Methodist church and served as a trustee for over 50 years. He also worked for the Town highway superintendent when problems arose that only he could repair.
A long-time member and board member of the Dumoine River Hunting and Fishing Club in Ontario, Maurice was an avid hunter. In 1979 Maurice shot a Quebec-Ungava caribou near the George River in northern Quebec and scored a Boone and Crockett record-breaking sixth place. He made many trips hunting throughout the West and in Canada. In 2007, Maurice (then 81) and his wife, Bobbie (80), both drove from Jay and rode in an ATV down a logging rode in a wild section of northern New Hampshire west of Pittsburgh. Maurice was able to bag a moose with one shot from his .300 Weatherby Magnum. Fortunately, some deer hunters were able to help them pull the moose onto a snowmobile trailer and they towed that to a Fish & Wildlife station.
Tremendous sports fans-especially baseball and basketball-Maurice and Bobbie could often be seen cheering at the local high school games and yelling at their TV when the Red Sox lost.
Maurice never hesitated to help a friend in need, always there in a heartbeat with no questions asked. He will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all his family and friends. Maurice lived a great life.
Maurice is survived by his daughters Connie Morrison (Jay, NY) and Jaquelyn Harding (Alabama) and loving sons-in-law, six grandchildren-Heather, Stephanie, Meredith, Kristen, Kari and Michael--and 11 great-grandchildren.
Friends and family are welcome to attend a graveside service that will take place at the Jay Central Cemetery on August 12, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Maurice's memory may be made to the Whiteface Community United Methodist Church (P.O. Box 26, Wilmington, NY 12997-0026).
Services were entrusted to Zaumetzer Funeral Home, Au Sable Forks, NY.