John Wheadon Bourgaize
John Wheadon Bourgaize, 94, passed away April 17, 2017 at South County Hospital, surrounded by family and friends.
John was born November 10, 1922 in Hoxsie, Warwick, RI. He was the son of the late John LePage and Carrie Wheadon Bourgaize, both of whom had migrated here from the Channel island of Guernsey around the turn of the century. John’s maternal grandfather, Edward H. Wheadon, was a victim of the Titanic disaster while on his way from Guernsey to the US to see his first granddaughter, John’s older sister. John was a veteran of World War II, having served in the Pacific with the Merchant Marines. After the war, he returned to Hoxsie where his family operated the Hoxsie Greenhouses, which from the beginnings was not just a florist business but a bit of a farm. John inherited the business from his parents and operated it for several years. In the 1970s, having been in the florist business all his life to that point, he closed the greenhouses, sold the property, and took up other interests. He became an avid sailor and from Apponaug he navigated his way up and down Narragansett Bay, often going out to Block Island. He took power squadron courses and could navigate by the stars.
After several years, he changed course and turned to horses. Having grown up surrounded by farm animals, John was at home in caring for several horses and he enjoyed riding. He acquired his nickname, “John the Horseman” locally, when he kept his horses in North Kingstown and rode at Goddard Park and at various riding trails he carved out of the local wilderness. John’s most recent horse, Superman, was a retired Providence Police horse. After a few years of activity, John and Superman came to an agreement that the horse was too old to carry a rider and John was too old to ride him. Each day, every day, John would drive from Hoxsie to North Kingstown in the morning to put Superman out to pasture. He would then return in the afternoon to put Superman back in the barn. It was a delight to see the old horse come running across the field when John would gesture him in for the night. Eventually, John saw the folly of making the trip twice every day so he found interests in the East Greenwich area to fill in the day. He became a regular at the Newport Creamery and made many new friends. When the fragility of age became apparent, John moved to East Greenwich and Regal Court. Since then he has been seen regularly at Ed’s Roost for a 6AM breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts later for a chat with the regulars, and then lunch at the Swift Senior Center. Wherever he went, he could always be coaxed into a spirited conversation. A real “gent” by any definition.
John was married to the late Eidola Jean (Talley) Bourgaize. He was preceded in death by his three sister’s: Marjorie B. Sherman, Edith B. Dennis, and Phyllis Bourgaize. He is survived by his nieces, Winneford D. Lim, Carolyn S. Ancell, and a nephew, Bradford W. Sherman.
His funeral and burial were private.