Jay Byington Covert III, 74, left this planet in search of his next great adventure on July 2, 2018, after a most courageous eight month battle with small cell lung cancer. He was lovingly supported by his family and the Palliative Care team at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
Calling hours will be Friday (July 20, 2018) from 1 to 4 p.m., at the McGuigan & Bero Funeral Home, 45 High St., Geneva. A private burial will be held at the convenience of the family.
Jay, aka Jay Bird, was born Dec. 12, 1943, in Geneva, N.Y., to the late Jay B. Covert, Jr. and Wynena Townsend Covert. He grew up at Kashong on Seneca Lake surrounded by extended family and many friends, enjoying an idyllic childhood filled with freedoms that most children today can only imagine.
He walked to the one room schoolhouse at Kashong until it closed and from 4th grade on attended Geneva City Schools. He was a standout athlete in high school who excelled at football, wrestling and lacrosse. Jay was co-captain of both the football and lacrosse teams and in 1961 won a NYS Section V State Shield in wrestling.
Jay graduated in 1961 from Geneva High School. He worked at the NYS Experiment Station until he proudly joined the US Army in 1965. He served as a Military Police Officer in the K-9 Corp alongside his guard dog Bo until his discharge in 1967.
Returning to Geneva he married his wife Connie in what was to be an almost 51 year marriage. He joined the Geneva Police Department in 1969, retiring at the rank of Sergeant in 1996. During this time he earned his Associates and Bachelors degrees in Criminal Justice from CCFL (now FLCC) and RIT. He then went to work as a Federal Police Officer at the Canandaigua Veterans Hospital until his retirement in 2008.
Jay was a man of eclectic interests and hobbies. He loved mountain climbing, camping and canoeing in the Adirondack Mountains, fishing and boating on Seneca Lake, golfing, bowling, motorcycling and trap shooting. He was modestly proud of shooting his first 100 straight trap targets in the spring of 2017, shortly before he got sick. He made numerous friends along the way.
However, his most enduring joy came from his two children and six grandchildren. He loved them unconditionally and took great pleasure in their pursuits and accomplishments. He rarely missed their concerts, games (wind, rain or snow – he was there), school programs and looked forward to just spending time with them. They were his sunshine and he passed on to them his love of and interest in all things.
Jay also loved meeting and talking with people – friends or strangers – it didn’t matter. If they held still he talked but also listened. They all had stories to share and he wanted to hear them. A quick trip to Wegman’s with Jay was never quick!
Jay is survived by his wife, Constance (Connie) Brown Covert; his daughter, Christine Lynn, her husband, Timothy Murney and their children Caitlin and Matthew; his son, Richard Jay, his wife, Nichole Bongi Covert and their children Anthony, Nicolas, Sophia and Stella; his sister, Kathryn Covert Dey; sister-in-law, Margaret Brown Baker; brother-in-law, Richard R. Brown Jr.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jay was a life member of the West Lake Road Fire Department, a member of The American Legion and the Shortsville Sportsmans Club.
Jay battled small cell lung cancer for eight months. He and his family were helped in this fight by wonderful caring professionals at Sands Cancer Center in Canandaigua, Interlakes Cancer Center in Geneva, Wilmot Cancer Center in Rochester, the Palliative Care Unit at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and Visiting Nurse Hospice. It was a team effort all the way. Their care and support for Jay and his family was outstanding and compassionate.
Please consider memorial donations to West Lake Road Fire Association, 5214 State Route 14, Geneva NY 14456 or Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka KS , 6675-8517. Also take time to listen to the story of a stranger. As Jay could attest, you can learn so much by being open to new people.