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John A. Cahill III

April 19, 1966 ~ April 28, 2021 (age 55)



Age 55, of Marlborough, died on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, four days after being struck by a tree he was felling at his home.

John was born in Marlborough on April 19, 1966, the son of John A. and Louise (Polikowski) Cahill Jr. He graduated from St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, Class of ’84, and attended UMass Amherst.

John had a long career in high-tech sales, beginning in 1994 at The Internet Access Company (TIAC) in Bedford, where he was one of the first employees. He went on to direct the sales organizations of Digital Island/Sandpiper, Invisible Hand Networks, Navisite, Highwinds Network Group, StackPath, and HAProxy Technologies. Wherever he worked, he formed lasting friendships. He took joy in teamwork and friendship, in risk and entrepreneurship, and in building things from scratch.

From a young age, John built and rebuilt engines, cars, and computers. After marrying in 1995, he learned to sail and rehabilitated a wooden Lightning sailboat.  He then moved on to a variety of larger boats, including a steel boat, a catamaran, and a trimaran. Each boat he repaired and made comfortable, and then sailed with friends and family, accumulating vast stores of memories for all of us of sunny times on the water, as well as occasional harrowing adventures with his more courageous friends. Eventually he sold each boat to make room for the next. Most went to loving new owners and happy maritime careers.

Throughout his life, John worked on cars and their engines. From the convertibles of his teen years, to trucks and jeeps more recently, he was never without one or more old vehicles he was in the process of restoring and rebuilding.

At home in Marlborough (the same home his parents built in the early 1950s), John was ceaselessly at work. With the tools from his father's basement woodshop, John built bathrooms, a laundry room, outdoor buildings, children's bedrooms, bookshelves, treehouses, and swings. He planted dozens of trees around the property, and delighted in mowing lawns, planting and tending gardens, and stacking cordwood.

He always kept fires lit in fireplaces and woodstoves at home. And outdoors in winter, spring, summer, and fall, he had bonfires to burn brush, and firepits to sit around while talking and roasting marshmallows. He was happiest when friends and family were there with him, enjoying the beauty, warmth, and excitement of fire.

John sponsored and mentored many through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. He served quietly and humbly and was unendingly grateful for the fellowship of the program, for his own mentors, sponsees, and friends there, for the Twelve Steps, and for the work of the Plymouth House recovery center in Plymouth, N.H.

John was a devoted husband, father, and friend. He shared his warmth and ability to connect, his humor, and his patience with all whose lives he touched. He doted on his daughters, and taught them to swim, ski, and bike, and was working on teaching them to sail and surf as well. The focus of his whole life was caring for his wife and two daughters. He always wanted to be with them, and always had all the time in the world for them. Surfing, skiing, and sailing were his favorite sports. He loved music, and the Grateful Dead.

He will be terribly missed.

John is survived by his wife of 26 years, Jessie Howland Cahill, and his daughters, Jessie Ames Cahill and Sarah Louise Cahill, all of Marlborough; and by a brother, James L. Cummings of Long Island, N.Y.

He was predeceased by a sister, Karen Mauro of Boynton Beach, Fla.

John was an organ donor. His family is grateful that he could be generous in death as he was in life.

Contributions in his name can be made to The Plymouth House, 446 Main Street, Plymouth, NH 03264.

An outdoor celebration of John's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 59 Cart Track Drive, Bay View, Gloucester. All are warmly welcome.

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