John William Garrett, Sr.

john garrett, sr.
John William Garrett, 87, died Thursday, January 14, at Clare Bridge of Asheville. John was a loving husband of 53 years, the devoted father of eight children, and adored granddad of 24 grandchildren. He was a pioneer in transportation safety research and his work demonstrating the effectiveness of passive restraint systems in automobiles resulted in seatbelt requirements for all cars in 1966. Born in New York City, John was the son of Irish immigrants, the late John Wm. Garrett and Honora Manning. He was preceded in death by brothers and sisters, Eleanor Beatty, Winifred Shaughnessy, James Garrett and Thomas Garrett. He is survived by his sister, Ethel Higgins. of Floral Park, NY and brother Francis Garrett of Bellmore, NY. During WW II, John served in the U.S. Army with the 14th Armored Division known as the "Liberators" for their repeated success freeing German concentration and Allied POW camps. Mr. Garrett was awarded two Bronze Stars for heroic and meritorious achievement in combat. After serving in the Army, John graduated from Columbia University in New York and began work in accident research at Cornell. Subsequently, he served as the Director of Accident Research at Calspan Corp., and Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, NY. He was a dedicated researcher and consumer advocate for improved auto safety for almost 45 years. Mr. Garrett is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary Margaret Higgins of Asheville, and his eight children, John Garrett and wife Janet, of Asheville, Eileen Dunne and husband Robert of Oak Hill, VA, Brian Garrett and wife Judy of Auburn, NY, Maureen Garrett, Jean MacKenzie and husband Stuart of Rochester, NY, Daniel Garrett and wife Maria of Clarence Center, NY, Julia Salzmann and husband Peter of Shanghai, China, and Michael Garrett and wife Patricia of Sudbury, MA. He is also survived by twenty-four grandchildren: Katie, Johnny, and Melissa Garrett; Jason, Bobby, and Ryan Dunne; Siobhan, Jessica, Scott, and Nora Garrett; Garrett, Cailin, Cameron, and Sian MacKenzie; Emily and Connor Garrett; Aidan, Geli, Jack, and Remi Salzmann; and Jennifer, Catherine, Emma, and Meghan Garrett. A funeral mass will be held at 10:00am on Saturday at the Parish of St. Eugene. The Garrett family will receive friends on Friday, from 5:30 - 7:00pm at Groce Funeral Home on Long Shoals Rd. The family wishes to extend loving thanks to all the wonderful people at Clare Bridge of Asheville and Care Partners Hospice. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Assn of WNC, PO Box 42453, Charlotte, NC 28215 or Care Partners Hospice Foundation, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813.

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  1. I have so many memories of Uncle John, too many to write here. I have to say that the best ‘memory’ is that every time I saw him he would look right at me and say, ‘Hi Beautiful!’ in his soft voice. What a wonderful and loving man to look up to. The one that gives me a chuckle was my last trip to Clarence Center with Chris & Matt. I was sitting out front, reading. He closed & locked the shades, windows & door! Aunt Mary followed telling him, ‘Mary Claire is out there!’ as she opened it all up again. Only for it to happen again! God Bless you Aunt Mary! Uncle John was & IS well loved!

  2. I’ve known John since ACIR at 19yrs of age and his courtship of Mary when Dad thought he was interested in me. Mary was the only one he saw in his heart but I truly appreciated the rides home. How do you say how much you love someone when they possess so many admirable qualities. John was strong yet gentle, kind and compassionate, intelligent and caring. He had tenacity and a strong sense of his Irish heritage including the gifts of wit and music. He was a loving husband and spectacular father, great brother-in-law and a caring friend. Love is the best memory and he gave an endless supply.
    Much Love and God’s Blessing Always.

  3. It was a pleasure knowing John with his gentle voice and nice smile. I always looked forward to their arrival in Venice for their winter stay. It was always fun when the familes gathered here so I could meet them all.
    Love to you Mary. I’m looking forward to your visit this winter.

  4. My fondest memories of John are of The Lake and Buffalo. John & I used to take the little guys out to fish each day. The lake was filled with perch and they always caught something. We used to throw the fish back, that is, until Nana found out! John and I would then go out to the deep part of the lake to cath the ‘big ones’ which always seemed to allude us. We would talk just about everything. Judy & I would take Mary & Edward up to Buffalo on the Columbus Day holiday. After dinner John would show the movies and his slides. He would fast forward and slow down the movies which had everyone laughing. Then he would show his slides and everyone would be ‘Oohing and Ahing’ because he took such beautiful pictures. These were shown on the wall where John painted the Irish Castle. He would then take out his ‘squeeze box’ and we would have a song fest with Irish tunes, of course. I will miss John but he will always be in my memory as a great father and a great soldier. He was what I believe to be what a true brother-in-law should be. He will be in my prayers.

  5. Dear Mary & Family,
    So sorry to hear about John. He was surely one of a kind. I’m glad to have been a small part of his care for a short time at Clair Bridge.
    John was such a nice guy with a terrific, loving family. He doesn’t have to struggle with that dreaded disease anymore.
    Love and prayers to all of you,

  6. To everyone who was touched by John W. Garrett, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. His presence is marked with every one of your smiling faces and the love you all shared for him will be cherished for always.

  7. My thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time. Im sure your memories will help you all face this loss. Fran Myers

  8. Memories of Uncle John in the Adirondacks and going up to Buffalo to visit with him and the family. I warmly remember him playing the accordian and his warm smiles!
    My condolences to Aunt Mary, I love you and all my cousins! Ed

  9. John Garrett was one of the sweetest men I have ever met. I had the privilege of taking care of him at Clare Bridge. He always told me how lovely i was and that always put a smile on my face. He will be dearly missed.

  10. Mary,
    I can only imagine the journey you have been on. I hope you find peace and grace, knowing you did all you could and more. You have a loving family and many friends for support. I stand ready to help in any way that I can.
    Respectfully, Nick

  11. I wish I had known John prior to his illness. He was an amazing person. The one time I met him I was greeted with a huge smile and ‘I’m so glad to see you!’ He was fortunate to have such a wonderful wife and family to look after him.

  12. Mary, so sorry to hear of your loss but I know it has been a long road. You are in my thoughts. Look forward to seeing you at the Y in the future.

  13. Mike, I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your father. What an interesting history he had! In time, fond memories of him will replace the loss your family may feel now. Remember that he lives in you…and he always will.
    Valerie Mosley

  14. Dan, Your loss and write up of your Dad’s life makes me think of my Dad. Both were part of the Greatest Generation. I pray that God and your memories will comfort you in the days ahead.

  15. John William Garrett Sr.
    What can be said of John William Garrett?
    He was a man of many merits

    Loving husband to the apple of his eye
    Never to be forgotten in times gone by
    Mary was and will always be his sweetheart
    A love so strong it will never part

    John William Garrett
    Father of eight
    Each one he loved to celebrate
    Special was something they all felt
    He loved them all without a doubt

    John William Garrett
    Granddad of many
    Some have heard told it was over twenty
    His “bump bump” song was heard by all
    Never to be forgotten from the large to the small

    Always a smile he would put on your face
    Made to feel the most special person in the place

    The love of John and Mary
    Never once did tarry
    Through them we all have found
    That truly “Love makes the world go round”

    Dad, Granddad, you will be sorely missed but as long as we live your memory will never be forgotten. May God Bless You and Keep You Safe in His Arms!!!!!!!!!
    Brian, Judy, Siobhan, Jessica, Scott and Nora

  16. To the Garrett Family:

    At this time of sorrow,
    may these truths sustain you…
    Your husband, Dad, Granddad will always
    be as close as a memory, and we have so many good memories of him.
    and the God of all comfort
    will always be as
    close as a prayer.
    He made everyone that he talked to or met, smile. He always had a kind word for all. And what a wonderful family he raised. He will be truly missed.

    With Deepest Sympathy

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