William (Jay) Jessup Blake Jr. passed on April 21, 2023 in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Born in New Haven, CT in 1948, he was the son of Dr. William Blake and Nan Willits Blake, formerly of Holden, MA.
Known as Jay to his family, and as Bill to most others, he moved a lot with his family during his early years, living in Fort Dix in NJ and Fort Myer in VA, while his father served in the American Medical Corps in Korea. The family then lived in Milwaukee, WI, Salisbury, MD, and Holden, MA.
At an early age, Jay showed an aptitude for mechanics, taking apart an alarm clock and reassembling it to working condition at 6 years old. A trip with his grandfather to tour the Harley Davidson assembly plant in Milwaukee sparked a life-long love of motorcycles, engines, cars, and all things mechanical. There didn’t seem to be any mechanical puzzle that Jay could not solve.
Jay was always curious and inventive. While in Wisconsin as a teenager, he presented to his parents a plan for a new type of car engine. His parents, upon conferring with a patent attorney, found that Jay had devised an engine that had already been invented and would later find its way into a production automobile as the Wankel engine in Mazda cars.
Jay attended Millbrook School in Millbrook, NY and ultimately graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA in 1967. He later graduated from Assumption College with a BA in biology.
Jay joined the US Air National Guard. Upon discharge, he worked at various motorcycle shops until he opened and operated the Bug Haus franchise in Worcester for several years, servicing Volkswagen products.
Jay went on to have a career in corporate America as an independent and in-house corporate personnel recruiter. He worked at Digital Equipment Corporation, Stratus Technologies, and EMC Corporation.
He raised his three children with his wife Victoria in Stow, MA, and greatly enjoyed living on Lake Boon. He demonstrated his love for his family through cooking elaborate dinners and by relentlessly minding after their vehicles. He and Vicki hosted many famous parties by the lake.
Upon retirement from EMC Corporation in 2008, Jay reconnected with his passions and opened a vintage motorcycle restoration and online parts business in Hudson, where he restored Triumph, Norton, and BMW motorcycles. His restorations won several awards, including the Boston antique car and motorcycle show at the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline and regional events of the International Norton Owners Association and at other British bike shows.
Jay loved to regale his friends and family with stories of his feats of speed. He often spoke in metaphors that captured the moment, and he had a wonderful sense of humor.
Jay is survived by his wife of 44 years Victoria (Wisnewski) Blake of Stow; son Christopher Blake and daughter-in-law Roberta Blake of Hudson, his daughter Lauren Weliver and son-in-law David Weliver of Cumberland, Maine, his son Alexander Blake and his partner Emma Canina of Templeton; brothers Colby Blake of Austin, Texas, and Charles Blake of Carlisle; grandchildren, Michael, Jessica, Bryleigh, Molly, and Elliot, and his best friend Michael Moore of Orleans.
Friends and family will gather to remember Jay’s life at the Tighe Hamilton Regional Funeral Home, 50 Central Street, Hudson, MA 01749 on Saturday, April 29, 2023, from 12:00-2:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to a charity of your choice.