Jay Thorpe

Obituary of Jay M. Thorpe

Jay M. Thorpe, born April 29,1940, passed away peacefully in his home in Oldsmar, FL after a long illness.

Born to Dr. Bertram and Babette Thorpe of Long Island, NY, Jay was the youngest of two children. His father served as a dentist for the United States Army Air Corps and the family lived in different military bases across America during WWII. Eventually the Thorpe family settled in Miami Beach, where Jay loved going spearfishing and catching lobsters. Jay graduated from Miami Beach High in 1957 and from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina in1961 . 

Due to an injury after graduation, Jay was unable to pursue a military career. While attending Stetson University College of Law, Jay married the love of his life, Roberta Winn, a student at the University of Florida and a fellow graduate of Miami Beach High.

Jay and Roberta began their new life In St. Petersburg. Eventually they moved to nearby Seminole, where they raised their four children, all graduates of Seminole High School.

When not tirelessly working as an attorney, Jay was a classic suburban dad. He was a little league baseball coach, a basketball coach at the recreation center, a league baseball commissioner, and a frequent volunteer. Whatever his children's teams needed, Jay was there. For many summers Jay drove his family all over America in a quintessential 1970's high top van, as his daughter was one of the top baton twirlers in the United States and competed nationwide.

Jay also played an active role in the education of his children. His wife, Roberta, was the writing and math instructor. Jay covered history, his college major and passion, and science. Thursday nights were famous in the Thorpe household. One child at a time had to score perfectly on their spelling list in preparation for their Friday test. Nothing could happen those nights until everyone had their spelling words nailed down.

All four of Jay's children played sports at Seminole High and Jay and Roberta never missed a game. This was the theme of their life. Family first. Jay and Roberta knew many of the teenagers in their children's circle of friends and they were an active part of the community.

Jay was known to his family as “the bear,” a term of love. He could talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere for any reason. Jay was a human's human who loved growing orchids and read, listened to, and watched stories that made him cry.

Decades later, Jay and Roberta moved to the Oldsmar area to be closer to four of his grandchildren. Together, they happily drove all over Florida, watching their grandchildren from both Tampa and Miami compete in tournaments and perform in dance recitals. Whenever Jay had a moment to hug any of them before their events, he simply said, “have fun.”  

Jay adored his grandchildren and got to know each of them well. Papa Jay and Nana Bobbie, as they were affectionately called, hosted countless dinners and sleepovers and attended as many school events for their grandchildren as possible, including National Honor Society ceremonies. Their grandchildren are students at Boston College, Florida State University, Duke University, University of Central Florida, and the University of Florida, with one high school senior recently deciding to accept an invitation to study at Washington University in St. Louis. Jay’s two youngest grandchildren are preparing for, yet still years away from, college. 

Jay M. Thorpe is survived by his loving wife Roberta, his big sister Iris Vanek, his sons David Thorpe (Christine Thorpe), Dr. Michael Thorpe (Dr. Amy Cantor Thorpe), Richard Thorpe, daughter Melissa Thorpe (Christian Dalton), and his nine, spectacularly loving grandchildren Isabella, Alexia, Maxwell, Rachel, Benjamin, Leah, Leo, Nico, and Dylan.

An outdoor memorial service will be held 11 AM Sunday, January 23, 2022 at Chapel Hill Memorial Park, 12905 Wild Acres Road, Largo.

Donations in Jay's memory would be appreciated to the Suncoast Hospice Foundation at http://suncoasthospicefoundation.org

The care of Mr. Thorpe and his family has been entrusted to David C. Gross Funeral Home in St. Petersburg.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Jay Thorpe, please visit our Tree Store

Outdoor Memorial Service

11:00 am
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Chapel Hill Memorial Park
12905 Wild Acres Road
Largo, Florida, United States
Share Your Memory of