Juan ReyesOctober 21, 1940 ~ July 11, 2017 (age 76)
Juan Reyes, “John” as he was known by many, 76, passed away July 11, 2017 at Physicians Regional Hospital in Naples. He had been a resident of Naples since 1986.
“Papi” was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on October 21, 1940. In his early years he worked as an assistant to the chemical engineer of the local sugar cane factory until he met his wife, Lillian Ramirez, who was visiting from Brooklyn, NY. Lillian was a local girl working on the mainland. At the time he met Lillian, she was visiting family in her homeland of Puerto Rico. They met at the village square known as “La Plaza.” It is where all young people went to meet in public. He spotted her and had to meet her. He once told his family that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He knew he would marry her and he often said she was still his beauty. They married three months later on November 20, 1960 and settled in NYC where they raised their two daughters, Rosie Johnson and Lillian Layton. John and Lillian’s love affair lasted 56 years until death did part them when John went to be with the Lord.
After marrying Lillian and moving to the mainland in the U.S., Juan became an entrepreneur, buying and fixing up homes to sell before it was fashionable. His passion, however, was his work as a sculptor and designer of lamps and decorative stone work. He was also an artist who became well known in the NY tristate area for his ability to turn statues into lifelike faces. He said it was “in the eyes. The life was in the eyes.” He knew how to use an airbrush like no one else for the masterpieces he created. Juan was a good provider. He was never unemployed.
Juan was a loving and generous father, both with his time and money. He was compassionate to a fault - never judging but always stern. He was the one his daughters turned to for advice. He had a keen sense of justice and what was the right thing to do. He was generous with his time for others as well. He took time to mentor young men and always took time to be a father to the fatherless, a man of his word.
Juan was a faithful friend. He was the one you could depend on in the middle of the night. He grew up in a time when a man’s word was his bond. He was actively involved in his church, The Rock Church, in Naples, Florida.
Juan Reyes is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Lillian Ramirez-Reyes; his daughter, Rosie Annetta Johnson and husband Rick Johnson; his daughter, Lillian Layton; grandchildren, Juan Antonio Johnson, Richard A. Johnson Jr., Barry Valentino Layton Jr, Bronson Eugene Layton, and Benito Jamal Layton; his sisters, Aida Reyes-Maldonado, Margarita Reyes-Maldonado; and one dear great-grandchild, Joliessa Lenae Henry-Layton. Juan had a special relationship with his nephews, Michael Cruz, Luis Monell, and Joseph Reyes. He will be missed by many friends and family alike.
The thing for which we will remember him best is the special love he had for his family. He enriched our lives and we were blessed to be his family. The earth is poorer for his passing but today Heaven is sweeter.
Visitation will be on Monday, July 17th from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Seagate Baptist Church, 1010 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34109 with a funeral ceremony following at 11:00 a.m. at church. Pastor Glenn Wiggins officiating. Burial will follow at Palm Royal Cemetery on Vanderbilt Beach Road.