Mr. John Philip “Jack” Schoolfield, 68, was born in Nassawadox and passed away Sept. 26, 2018, in the Blue Ridge Mountains that he loved and lived in for the last 30 years. Jack grew up in Guilford, Conn., and Albany, N.Y., but spent every summer of his childhood on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on his grandparents’ and parents’ estate known as Wellington, in Franktown.
Jack had a deep passion for hiking in the mountains and kayaking and canoeing on the Chesapeake Bay and its many creeks and seaside marshes and loved paddling on the James River. He was almost always accompanied by his beloved dogs on every adventure.
Jack’s passion for the wilderness is reflected in several volumes of his beautiful poetry, a gift he left to his family and friends. His poems also spoke of his two tours in Vietnam as a combat medic where he served with his comrades in the 11th Armored Cavalry of the Black Horse Battalion. He was also an adviser to the South Vietnamese Army where he held clinics and delivered babies, tended to the sick and wounded and fell in love with those young Vietnamese children who were his patients. Jack received several coveted Silver and Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service.
After the war, Jack moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville and worked at the Stone School as a counselor for troubled boys and helped them better their lives through the wilderness therapy program. He also worked at a veteran’s organization known as COVER, counseling veterans and traveling to speak about the war and PTSD.
Jack was predeceased by his proud and loving parents, John Blaine Schoolfield and Kaatje Hurlbut Schoolfield. He was deeply loved and will be missed by his brother, George Mallory Schoolfield (Mary Deem), of Franktown, and Mary Schoolfield Dufty (Ken), of Exmore.
He was adored by two nephews, John Mallory Schoolfield (Joy), of Charleston, S.C., and Peter Baxter (Sasha) of Watervliet, N.Y. Jack was also smitten by his two nieces, Catherine Baxter Malyil (Jason), of Bronx, N.Y., and Blaine Schoolfield, of Newport, Ore., and will also be deeply missed by his numerous loving cousins and friends.
Jack kept us all in stitches with his incredible sense of humor, especially on his legendary canoe trips with his nieces, nephews, and cousins on the Eastern Shore creeks and the Chesapeake Bay. Everyone who knew him has a favorite story of his exploits and jokes, and he leaves as his legacy a smile and side-splitting laughter.
As a tribute to Jack, we want to share one of the hundreds of poems he wrote and one that particularly captures his spirit and sense of adventure in the later chapter of his life:
“No balding Zen man ever labored more up slope and down slipping in the red mud. no ragged monk loved whiskey more laughing and drinking on the top of Wyatt’s Mountain. no mountain hermit ever walked so crooked puffing and sweating leaning on a stick down the mountain over the old road home.”
Services were private and facilitated by the Doughty Funeral home to which we owe deep gratitude. Donations to any veteran’s organization of your choice in Jack’s name would be appreciated.