John Bertrand Monsky was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1930. A graduate of Sidney Lanier High School, Philips Academy, Yale University, and Harvard Business School, he never left his roots or any of his dear friends behind. He served in the Air Force at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, a legacy of his uncle Sol, who was awarded a Silver Star in World War I, and his first cousin, Leroy Monsky, who was captain of the University of Alabama football team in 1937 and served under General George S. Patton.
John met his beloved wife, Joan Gilbert Monsky, while she was at Sarah Lawrence College and he was at Yale. The day after they met, he wrote to her that he loved her and wanted to marry her. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and were deeply in love until the day he died. She was by his side as they lived their lives and raised their family in Montgomery, Alabama, Louisville, Kentucky, and Jacksonville, Florida. John and Joan were deeply dedicated to their family, friends, and community in Jacksonville, where they both served on many non-profit boards and supported community causes. He was a champion of progressive education. He was President of the Board of Jacksonville Country Day School, served on the board of the Bolles School, and generously supported other educational institutions and medical centers. He also supported the efforts of his wife Joan who founded Theaterworks, Inc., in Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Film Festival.
He rose through the corporate ranks, and, at age 40, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Marion Corporation, an American Stock Exchange listed company located in Jacksonville, FL. Universal Marion owned Baldt Chain and Anchor and Scullin Steel, the company that made the crawler that brought the Apollo spacecrafts to the launch pad. Universal Marion also produced Mel Brooks’ original movie, The Producers, a film that was so successful in the long run that John would quote the famous line from the movie, “Where did we go right?”
In 1985, John founded First Florida Capital Corporation; His son, Harry Robert Monsky, left Wall Street to partner with him in 1995. John bestowed his wisdom, integrity, joy and love as they traveled the globe. John also supported the many endeavors of his eldest son John Richard Monsky and his daughter, Leslie Joy Monsky. He had a southern charm and charisma; the family was constantly being told by people who met him, “We love John.”
John loved to laugh with his children; grandchildren Harrison, Annabel, Gillian and Caitlin Monsky; his daughter in law Jennifer Weis; as well as Leslie’s boyfriend, Mel Parker. He did his best to extend his motto “Love and do well” to them all. He will be hugely missed.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Baptist Heart Hospital in honor of Dr. Joel Schrank.
Posted online on July 03, 2022
Published in Florida Times Union