John Rodman "Roddy" Wanamaker, Jr., 63, of Mays Landing, NJ, and formerly of Philadelphia, retailer, businessman, ship's captain and champion equestrian, died of heart failure at his home on Monday, February 4, 2008.
Mr. Wanamaker, great-great-grandson of retail pioneer John Wanamaker, was a modern Renaissance man who excelled at and was conversant in many subjects.
Mr. Wanamaker lived his early years in Chestnut Hill, spending his summers in Mantoloking, NJ. An ardent outdoorsman, Mr. Wanamaker predominated at boating, fishing, hunting and equestrian sports, retiring the trophy at Devon for Best Child Rider and competing on the U.S. Junior Olympic Equestrian team in England in 1960.
After graduating from Chestnut Hill Academy, Mr. Wanamaker embarked on the family business at Wanamaker's flagship department store in center city Philadelphia. Never one to do things by halves, he started as a stock boy, and learned the business from the ground up. He assumed increasing responsibilities over the years, ultimately ascending to Director and Vice President of Operations.
When the store was sold, Mr. Wanamaker commenced a career in advertising, forging a well-regarded and successful practice.
Known to his friends as "Captain Roddy," he obtained his Captain's license in 1980 and turned his attention to his true inspiration: the sea, becoming a tarpon captain in Boca Grande, Florida and later the captain for The Duke of Fluke out of Margate, New Jersey. Out of Longport, he captained his own boat The Cheeka, on which he built a deep-sea fishing business, and also was sought after by boat owners as a captain for major tournaments.
Mr. Wanamaker, a skilled sportsman, was rarely seen without his English springer spaniels and in later years his Brittany spaniels, on whom he doted. He made friends easily, a tribute to his generous, kind and loyal nature. He was a down-to-earth person and an excellent storyteller with an engaging sense of humor and clever wit. He often delighted his friends and family with amusing, entertaining anecdotes, and could be counted on to enliven every gathering with perfectly placed bon mots.
Mr. Wanamaker is survived by his loving companion, Joan Arena; two daughters, Barbara W. Wanamaker and Catharine W. Cox (Gary); two grandchildren, Emily and Bowen; his mother Louise DeKoven Wanamaker; and his sister Wendy Hendriks (Richard).
A memorial gathering and celebration of his life will be held Sunday, 1 PM, at Ye Olde Mill Street Pub, 6033 Main St., Mays Landing.
Services will be held on Monday, 11 AM, at Church of the Redeemer, Pennwood and New Gulph Rds., Bryn Mawr, PA.
Memorial donations in his name may be made to the Deborah Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 820, Browns Mills, NJ 08015 or the Atlantic County SPCA, P.O. Box 205, Somers Point, NJ 08244