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In loving memory of
James Thurrott
  • June 12, 1950
  • -
  • September 18, 2020

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Obituary

Jay Thurrott was born in Meriden, CT on June 12, 1950 and spent his childhood in Fishers Island, NY. After college, he moved down to New Smyrna Beach, FL in the early 70’s with his family.

Jay was a retired environmental chemist and worked for the City of Daytona Beach for over 30 years. He grew over 700 varieties of bromeliads at this home in Port Orange, Florida and had been growing bromeliads since the 70’s. A lifetime member of the Florida East Coast Society (FECBS), Jay was their newsletter editor and had served as secretary, vice president and president of that organization. He served as his club’s representative of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies (FCBS) for many years and is a past Chairman of that organization. He was also active in local garden club activities. He was a former president of the Halifax Council of Garden Clubs (a consortium of 7 garden clubs in the Daytona Beach area). He served two, three-year terms as president of the Bromeliad Society International (BSI) after having served as a director and vice-president of the organization. Jay was also a BSI accredited judge and had judged bromeliad shows in and out of the USA.

Jay enjoyed his plants (all things bromeliad), fishing, canoeing, reading, spending time with his family, traveling and walking on the beach. His wealth of knowledge, patience, wisdom, and humble demeanor was endearing to all who knew him.

Jay is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Calandra, his oldest daughter, Katy Donnelly, son in-law, Kenneth Donnelly, granddaughter, Lillian Donnelly, youngest daughter, Jillian Ragia, son in-law Jovan Ragia, and grandson, Damien Ragia.

Jay peacefully passed away on September 18, 2020 among family after an 8 year battle with melanoma. In light of the COVID pandemic, no celebration of life service will be held. This is Jay’s wish. Those who wish to send their condolences may mail them to Calandra’s home at 713 Breckenridge Drive, Port Orange, FL 32127.


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  1. 01 Oct 2020
    rebecca gabbard lit a candle:
    Lit since October 1, 2020 at 10:27:18 PM

  2. 24 Sep 2020
    Krickett says:
    To Jay who will be remembered through all the hearts he touched. I dedicate this poem to you and your family with love.

    THE DASH
    by Linda Ellis

    I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

    He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

    For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

    To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

    If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

    So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

  3. 24 Sep 2020
    Bobbie lit a candle:
    Lit since September 24, 2020 at 9:40:29 PM

  4. 24 Sep 2020
    Bobbie lit a candle:
    Lit since September 24, 2020 at 9:39:41 PM

  5. 24 Sep 2020
    Bobbie lit a candle:
    Lit since September 24, 2020 at 9:37:57 PM

  6. 24 Sep 2020
    Terry Kahn lit a candle:
    Lit since September 24, 2020 at 9:35:31 AM

  7. 23 Sep 2020
    Roberta Sappington says:
    Jay lives on in countless people who have been inspired by his beautiful regard for plants and people who love them. His explanations turned on the lights for me as I learned about Bromiliads each month. My gratitude to Jay will last the rest of my life and my heart goes out to his family who must adjust to Jay in transcendent form.

  8. 23 Sep 2020
    Joe &Theresa DeRosa lit a candle:
    Lit since September 23, 2020 at 9:00:59 PM

  9. 22 Sep 2020
    John Boardman lit a candle:
    Lit since September 22, 2020 at 9:50:12 PM

  10. 22 Sep 2020
    Linda Hines lit a candle:
    Lit since September 22, 2020 at 9:30:36 PM

  11. 22 Sep 2020
    Dennis Cathcart says:
    A staggering loss for the bromeliad family. Our cloistered world has known the blessings of many spectacular personalities and intellects. None a better person than Jay. It hurts losing friends in a way that’s different from losing a relative. Different, but no less painful. Someone we held up as an example of the best of what’s in all of us. A bringer of knowledge, enthusiasm, and joy. A selfless worker. A friend without reservation to all who were lucky enough to meet him. We will miss you till we meet you again.

  12. 22 Sep 2020
    Eretta Morris lit a candle:
    Lit since September 22, 2020 at 9:23:40 PM

  13. 22 Sep 2020
    Lyn Wegner says:
    Dear Jay. I respected and admired you. Such a gentle, patient , kind, helpful, calm wonderful person. You were always willing to give me advice when needed, regarding BSI matters, waiting quietly in the wings for my emails. Thank you for all you did for our beloved BSI. You were very special to me and to all of us at BSI, members and all Board members. It is difficult to imagine a BSI without a Jay Thurrott. I will remember you with great fondness for ever. Our East London Bromeliad Society South Africa members have enjoyed your FECBS newsletters and will remember you for the special person you were. With love and hugs to Calandra and family.

  14. 22 Sep 2020
    Craig Reimann says:
    Jay left us too soon, I can't begin to express my sorrow and emptyness losing Jay has brought to me, he was such a true gentleman and a great pleasure to be around and always fun to enjoy any activity with. His knowledge was amazing and kept us all astounded in so many ways. I was so looking foward to many days out on the water with Jay as he was so much in his element with a fishing rod in hand and always a good story to go with it. Jay was a gift to all of us and will be solely missed by all who had the privlege to have known him. Calm seas and gentle winds my friend♡

  15. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Martin Luther King Jr Park in Alameda CA
    Martin Luther King Jr Park in Alameda CA

  16. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Making friends
    Making friends

  17. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay and Calandra
    Jay and Calandra

  18. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Papa T and Lilly at the park
    Papa T and Lilly at the park

  19. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    In his favorite chair
    In his favorite chair

  20. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Always smiling
    Always smiling

  21. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    2020
    2020

  22. 21 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    2013
    2013

  23. 21 Sep 2020
    Melanie lit a candle:
    Lit since September 21, 2020 at 9:06:26 PM

  24. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay and his loving wife of 44 years
    Jay and his loving wife of 44 years

  25. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    NYC
    NYC

  26. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay loved to go fishing and he always caught something.
    Jay loved to go fishing and he always caught something.

  27. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Ronkonkoma, NY
    Ronkonkoma, NY

  28. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Baby Lilly with Papa T
    Baby Lilly with Papa T

  29. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    2005 Jay with his girls
    2005 Jay with his girls

  30. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    2005 Albuquerque NM family vacation
    2005 Albuquerque NM family vacation

  31. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Family cruise to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas islands
    Family cruise to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas islands

  32. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Barber watercolor painting won at auction
    Barber watercolor painting won at auction

  33. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Port Orange bromeliads
    Port Orange bromeliads

  34. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Family cruise vacation
    Family cruise vacation

  35. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay would certainly be able to tell you what plant this is!
    Jay would certainly be able to tell you what plant this is!

  36. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:


  37. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay's favorite meal. His father was a lobstermen when he was a kid in Fishers Island, NY and gave him a taste for it.
    Jay's favorite meal. His father was a lobstermen when he was a kid in Fishers Island, NY and gave him a taste for it.

  38. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Family photo 2016
    Family photo 2016

  39. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Always taking pictures
    Always taking pictures

  40. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Mr Show and Tell
    Mr Show and Tell

  41. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Jay presenting an ananas pineapple plant during show and tell at the FECBS club meeting
    Jay presenting an ananas pineapple plant during show and tell at the FECBS club meeting

  42. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    FECBS Club Meeting Luau with close friend Rick Ryals
    FECBS Club Meeting Luau with close friend Rick Ryals

  43. 20 Sep 2020
    Jillian Ragia posted an image:
    Easter 2015 (Left to right - Ken Donnelly, Katy Donnelly, Calandra Thurrott, Jovan Ragia, Jillian Ragia)
    Easter 2015 (Left to right - Ken Donnelly, Katy Donnelly, Calandra Thurrott, Jovan Ragia, Jillian Ragia)

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