Sadly, John William Naughton, 66, passed away on Monday, September 4, following a valiant and brief battle with cancer. Born in Jacksonville on October 8, 1956, John was a lifelong resident of the St. Nicholas area. Here, he forged enduring friendships, met and married his high school sweetheart, and lovingly raised their children. In 2008, he lost Mary, his beloved wife of 30 years, to cancer.
John dedicated much of his career to the Florida Times-Union, where he worked for 30 years until his retirement in 2022. In 2019, John found love anew when he met Ruth Casias who became his cherished partner. In the final years of his life, John embraced the joy of his relationship with Ruth, relishing travel and rediscovering the fullness of life.
Some of his most cherished moments revolved around his two daughters, Jessica, and Megan. He was there for them every step of the way, from coaching their t-ball teams to cheering them on in the stands during their high school and college years to celebrating Jessica’s coaching career. His heart was always on the ball field, watching his girls with pride. John took his role as a softball dad to heart, opening his home and heart to his daughters’ friends and teammates over the years.
However, his proudest moments were those spent with his beloved grandchildren. Despite the distance, he consistently made the four-hour round trip to be a steadfast presence in their lives. Whether it was attending midweek school events, birthday parties, or holidays, John was always there with his trademark dad jokes and thoughtful gifts.
John is preceded in death by his wife Mary Heslin Naughton, his parents Daniel and Winifred Naughton, his sisters Patricia Naughton and Claire Howard, and his in-laws Thomas and Evelyn Heslin. He is survived by his partner, Ruth Casias, daughters Jessica Naughton and Megan Licciardello (Ben), and his beloved grandchildren, Benny, Juliana, and Lochlan Licciardello. John is also survived by his brothers Danny (Dianne) Naughton and Michael (Renee) Naughton, as well as 11 nieces and nephews and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.
John was a loving and devoted husband, father, brother, son, and friend. His affection for his family and friends was boundless, evident to all who had the privilege of knowing him.
Funeral services will be held on October 7th at 11 a.m. at Black Creek Methodist Church in Middleburg, Florida. Visitation will be from 10-11 a.m. at the church. Burial at Greenlawn Cemetery in Jacksonville immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in John’s honor to the Bishop Kenny Softball Team. Donations can be sent to the Attention to the Advancement Office of Bishop Kenny High School, 1055 Kingman Avenue, Jacksonville FL, 32207.
As a final nod to John’s spirit, “Don’t forget to put on your best shoes, so he can watch you slide one last time.”