John Cawley

Obituary of John Peter Cawley

Please share a memory of John to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
John Peter Cawley December 29, 1970-February 27, 2022 John Peter Cawley, 51, grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. He lived in Portland, OR for the past 26 years. He died in a snowmobile accident; his passion for the outdoors was well-known, and it is some consolation that he died doing what he loved. He was predeceased by his father, Michael F. Cawley (1998) and sister Katherine (1967). His mother, Virginia Cawley (Croton-on-Hudson) survives him and will miss his love and attention. He is also survived by his long-time partner, Melissa Howe, and her daughter Olivia Howe, both of whom he treasured. His sense of humor and zest for life will be forever missed by sisters Jennifer Keon of Brewster, MA (Larry Keon), Jeanne Anzalone of Croton-on-Hudson (Michael Anzalone), Eileen Cawley of Croton-on-Hudson; brothers Philip Cawley of Portland, ME (Gretchen Spann), Matthew Cawley of Sunny Isles Beach, FL, Timothy Cawley of Wilton, CT (Lisa Cawley), and Brian Cawley of Nashville, TN. He was a loving and spirited uncle to Kaitlin (Christian), Michael, Alec (Kaitlin), Olivia, Charlie, Finn, Neve, Chess, Alessia, and Mia. He was a great-uncle to Ava, Milo, Corbin, and Perrin. He was close to many aunts, uncles, and cousins. His Portland friends were like a family to him, especially Salty, who was like a bonus brother to John, and Keith, who was the bravest. He had many “adopted” Portland nieces and nephews, and any birthday, graduation, or Christmas celebration always included fireworks, scratch off lottery tickets, funny glasses, and two-dollar bills to make things memorable. His dog Tug was the lucky recipient of John’s love and attention. John was born in Mt. Kisco, NY. He went to Holy Name of Mary School where he was an altar boy in the church. He graduated from Croton-Harmon High School in 1989. He then attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. He sailed on many ocean-going vessels as a cadet, including military transport vessels carrying cargo to support Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He graduated in 1994. Upon graduation, he had a 28-year career working in maritime shipyard safety and repair projects in Portland, Seattle, Alaska, Singapore, Korea, China, South Africa, Spain, and Nigeria. His own company, Cawley Maritime, included Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Alaska Tanker Company as customers. The last part of his career was spent working with Alaska Tanker Company. On any given day on a ship repair project, if you looked for the hottest, tightest, and most challenging spot to get to, you would likely find John. If he wasn’t there, you would notice the unmistakable stylized Yankees interlocking “NY” symbol clearly marked on the bulkhead or tank entrance, and realize John had beaten you there and things were pretty darned safe. John found ways to communicate important safety information to CEOs, laborers, and non-English speakers. It was clear that he found the job that he was meant to do. He loved sports and the outdoors. His teams were the Yankees, Giants, and Knicks, and he adopted the Blazers and the Timbers. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, and was a four-year starter and captain on the Kings Point lacrosse team. He recently completed training to be a high school lacrosse official. He lived in a floating home on the Columbia River, where he was known for flying all kinds of flags: USA, USMMA Kings Point, Alaska Tanker Company, the Yankees, Ireland, the Grateful Dead, and the family crest. He hiked portions of the Appalachian and Pacific Coast Trail with his dog Tug, and summited Mount Hood (11,240 feet) with a picture of dad in his pocket. HIs talents and interests were many. He specialized in leading table-top singalongs at McSorley’s and tying everlasting knots in rogue wedding dress trains. He attended an annual wild game dinner where he eagerly tried raccoon, beaver, elk heart, cougar, and opossum, among other delicacies. He was able to summon help for a marooned pleasure boat with a glance to a nearby tugboat. Life is precious and unpredictable. John would encourage all of us to go outside, do the hard thing, treat everyone with decency, and not hold back when it comes to loving family and friends. A Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Name of Mary Church in Croton-on-Hudson on Saturday, March 19 at 12:30 PM. There will be a gathering at the Holy Name of Mary Church Hall immediately following to share our love for John. All are welcome to attend either or both. A celebration of life will be held in Portland, OR in April. Donations in John’s name may be made to: Maine Children's Cancer Program MMC Development Office Attn: MCCP 22 Bramhall Street Portland, ME 04102 or Oregon High School Lacrosse Association: OHSLA, ℅ Paul Schlesinger, Commissioner 610 SW Alder St., Suite 1221 Portland, OR 97205