John J. Escobar, 53, of Cumberland, Rhode Island passed away on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at the VA medical center in Providence after a battle with cancer. He was the son of Luis Escobar and María Dolores Palacio Escobar, born in Bogota, Colombia on Jun 21, 1967. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Medellin, "The city of Eternal Spring." Possibly one of John’s favorite places in the world. He loved going back and visiting. He was very proud of his Colombian heritage.
John and the family moved to the US on his mom’s birthday, January 8th 1973 where they reunited with Luis who had moved ahead of the family and started working to be able to bring everyone over. They settled in Pawtucket where his parents held manufacturing jobs. It was here John found friends that would last a lifetime.
Moving to a new country and not speaking the language was tough, but John was a quick study. He stayed up all night watching American TV and movies. Martha, his twin sister, went to bed and when she woke up for school in the morning, often found John still up watching anything he could.
John attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Pawtucket. He was very outgoing and hyper which made him quick to make lifelong friends. His restless nature also got him in a lot of trouble with the nuns, who would grab him by the tie to get his full attention when reprimanding him. For example he would always take off his tie and lose it, so one day Abuela sewed an elastic to a clip-on to help him keep his tie on. Some time later he got in trouble with one of the sisters and the story goes that she cornered him by the board in front of the whole class and grabbed his tie. Much to her surprise and the delight of the class, the tie pulled away when she tried to pull him in close. It looked like a scene from a Three Stooges comedy skit. He loved his St. Mary’s friends, so much so that for the last ten years he organized reunions with his classmates. Who else keeps in touch with their elementary school friends?
At age 18 John joined the Army to serve his country. After a time in the Army he joined the RI Air National Guard to serve his home state, a service he performed for almost 20 years. During his time with the Guard he attained the rank of Technical Sergeant as well as earned the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and many others. He also traveled the world in service to his country, volunteering to deploy to Bagram, Afghanistan as well as aid missions to places like Central America and Europe. His son looked up to him and was proud of all his father’s accomplishments. So much so that he too joined the Air Force to serve, just like his father.
John had many passions. He loved anything with an engine. He had countless boats, bikes, and cars over the years. Somehow he always managed to find a deal or bargain and flip it for profit when he saw fit to upgrade. This hobby aided in his enjoyment of the water. Spending the summer months on the water in whatever boat he had picked up, trying his hand at fishing with his son or taking family and friends for cruises on Narragansett bay; he was in his happy place. Another passion was football, he was an avid Patriots fan, long before they were the dynasty you know today. His dream, year after year, was hoping for the Lombardi trophy. He always kept his Patriots hat or jersey close by on game day.
John was one of a kind. He had a fun, loving nature that was contagious. If there was music he was dancing, simultaneously looking to make everyone his dance partner. If there were jokes he was laughing, making it hard not to laugh with or at him depending on the situation. He was many things to many people but one commonality shared by all . . . Everyone has a John story of some adventure or good time they shared with him. I’m proud to be able to call that man my father.
Though John is no longer with us, he made such an impression on everyone he met. His memory will live on. He is survived by his son Corey Escobar of Cumberland; Mother María Dolores Palacio Escobar of Pawtucket; sisters, Carmen Escobar of Pawtucket, Beatrice Escobar of Greenville, SC, Victoria Ospina of Kissimmee, FL and his twin Martha Escobar of Pawtucket.
Donations in memory of John may be sent to Fisher House of Boston, A charity that provides assistance to veterans and their families while loved ones are receiving medical treatment.
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Fisher House of Boston
PO Box 230, Walpole MA 02071