, Gloucester, MA

May 13, 2013

John C. Wolfe, 70

Gloucester, MA — A life well lived has ended too soon. On Wednesday, May 8, John C. Wolfe passed unexpectedly, at his home near Stage Fort Park in West Gloucester.

John was a man of many loves. He had a deep passion for science and medicine and the good it could accomplish. He dearly loved his family and was a source of strength and inspiration in their lives. He very much loved the house he and Susannah bought in 1974. His plan was to live there until the day he died.

After finishing his service in the Army in 1974, John and Susannah, along with their young son, Stefan, moved to Gloucester. One year later, Matthew Tye was brought home from Addison Gilbert Hospital. In 2000, Jennifer Henry joined the family as a much loved daughter-in-law. When his grandson William was born, he knew that life could not get better than this. The house was always filled with love, joy, the challenges of raising a family, and a busy medical practice.

In 2001, John received the first Physician Leadership Award ever presented by Partners Health Care. Partners presented him a silver bowl engraved with the qualities his colleagues recognized in him: vision, courage, energy, resilience, and integrity.

For almost 35 years, Dr. Wolfe served the community of Cape Ann. He was honored and humbled to be part of his patients’ lives. As the President of Cape Ann Medical Center for many years, he successfully led the group through difficult and trying times in the field of medicine. He retired in 2008.

John loved and cared for Cape Ann and greatly appreciated the many opportunities it provided for him to be of service. He served as the Chairman of the Gloucester Board of Health, and more recently worked with the Healthy Gloucester Collaborative. Through these activities and more, he was able to keep the promise he made himself to “make a difference” in life.

Always a serious man, during his five years of retirement, John recaptured the joy he felt as a young man traveling around Europe on $5 a day. Winters in Puerto Rico with Susannah were a time of exploration, beauty, and enjoying being alive. A few months ago, his niece Biata and her daughter, Ainne, visited them for what would be his last winter in Puerto Rico. The pleasure he took in guiding them around the island was a gift.

Lastly, John loved the camaraderie of Alcoholics Anonymous. He treasured the peace, wisdom, and the deep connectedness he received from this fellowship. Although there was no forewarning of John’s passing, before he died he locked eyes with his wife of 43 years and told her the principles that guided his life: Be the adult – through patience, perseverance, or persistence. Live and accept the truth in the Serenity Prayer. Be patient; we don’t always know the meaning of bad news.

John aspired to live by high principles, and succeeded. As his family struggles to make sense of his passing, they are comforted that they were blessed with his life for so long, but are immeasurably saddened by his departure from their lives.

ARRANGEMENTS: The Wolfe family invites anyone who knew John to visit their house this Wednesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 3 Old Salem Road in Gloucester. His ashes will be distributed in a private ceremony later this week. Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester. For online condolences, please visit