Gardening 11

Jay C. Desmond

August 3, 1954 ~ January 28, 2021 (age 66)

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Jay C. Desmond passed away on January 28, 2021, at Massachusetts General Hospital after a period of illness. He was 66.


On August 3, 1954, Jay was born in Peabody, MA, to Donald and Alicia (Palczynski) Desmond. He attended Masconomet Regional High School and graduated in 1972. A self-proclaimed gear head, Jay worked at Danvers Ford painting cars and doing bodywork. Fords were one of his passions, and he owned Mustangs and trucks throughout his life. He married Diane (Andrade) in 1978, and they were married until 2009. They met initially through involvement with horses and 4-Hand spent more time together as teenagers working at Brooksby Farm in Peabody.


Jay started his landscape contracting business in the 1980s. His walls, walkways, patios, and horticultural designs are sprinkled all over the North Shore and beyond. In the 1990s, he won several awards for landscape exhibits at the Topsfield Fair. He enjoyed sharing his wealth of plant material knowledge and skillswith anyone who needed it and growing fruits and vegetables in the backyard to be shared by all.


Jay led a simple yet somehow still extraordinary life because of the friendships he formed with so many. He can blame his unique sense of humor for that! Jay was devoted to his family. For his daughters, he attended band competitions in the cold, horse shows in the heat, and lugged boxes and furniture in and out of dorms, apartments, and houses. His busy life left little time for anything else, but Jay reveled in time spent at Great East Lake in Wakefield, NH, with family, the boat, dogs, and books. From literary fiction to the Harry Potter series, historical fiction to Stephen King novels, Jay was a voracious reader.


He is survived by his two daughters: Amanda and her son, Jake; Jennifer, her husband, William (DiMento, Jr.) and their son, Finley; his partner, Meg Alfoni; siblings Donald, Jr. and his wife Donna, Daniel and his wife Dawn, Matthew and his wife Beatrice, CynthiaNutter, and Patricia Desmond-Gifford and her husband Paul, and many nieces and nephews; he is also survived by his former wife and friend, Diane (Andrade).


In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Mass Audubon ( and Essex County Greenbelt (


A celebration of Jay’s life will be held in the summer, with music, burgers, and plenty of laughter.


Assisting the family is the Morris Funeral Home of Ipswich.  To send a letter of condolence to the Desmond family please go to: .

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