Cover photo for Israel "John" Muniz's Obituary
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1935 Israel 2022

Israel "John" Muniz

November 23, 1935 — October 21, 2022

Israel “John” Muniz passed away on October 21, 2022 after six months of home Hospice care. The son of Graciana Tirado and Alonzo Muniz, John is survived by his wife of 54 years, Evelyn (nee Wilcox) Muniz, son Ronald Muniz, daughter Yvette Occhibove and her husband Joey, son Michael Muniz and his wife Jill, daughter Joanna Torzewski and her husband Mark, sister Ann Watzke, cousins Daisy Colon and Edwin Tirado, 10 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Israel was born and raised in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, but came to NY as an adolescent after his father died. After arriving in NY, he chose to use the name John and lived with his Aunt and cousin Daisy until his mother arrived. John and his mother then moved to an apartment on Broadway and 125th street where John attended Stitt High School. He then joined the Army and often said, “The Army straightened me out”. In the late 1950’s, he met and married his first wife Raquel Otero. They had two children, Ronald and Yvette. Then In 1968, he met and married Evelyn Wilcox. John and Evelyn continued to live in NY until Michael was born. They then moved to High Bridge NJ, where Joanna was born. John was a very social person, loved dearly by his children and extended family, and liked by many, many friends. Wherever he went and wherever he lived, John made friends quickly and kept them for life. He could talk to anyone at any time on any social level and on any subject. He was a very good listener and at ease talking to strangers he met. He loved music, especially recordings by Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, Tito Puente and “Do Wop” groups. Although he didn’t have a strong singing voice, he could sing a bit and had a good ear for music. He often spontaneously sang along and remembered all the lyrics even years later. John had a fantastic memory and often related detailed stories about people and experiences that had occurred many years earlier. He could remember the full name, age, and circumstances of a guy he met only once on a street corner 30-40 years earlier. John was a charter member of “El Morro” social club in his neighborhood where he spent many hours with his friends, playing dominoes and dancing with local girls. In high school, he worked as an usher in a movie theater. He bought his first car at about age 17 and took his friends on many trips to resorts in the Catskills. After a brief time at Columbia University, he became an amateur photographer and worked at a local photo studio taking baby pictures. In the late 1960’s he began working as a sales representative for Nabisco in lower Manhattan, then transferred to a branch in Dunellen, NJ, where he and Evelyn lived for 19 years. While working in Dunellen, John became an avid golfer, sometimes taking off work to play at local courses, his favorite being Tamarack. He bought an expensive set of customized Ping brand clubs, club covers and a bag, the best Titleist balls and only brand name golf shirts and shoes. He said, “I dress like Fred Couples but play like John Muniz”. He wasn’t a bad golfer, but never scored below the mid 80’s. Paraphrasing a famous Jackie Gleason line, he would say “It’s not the ball, it’s the Ball-ee”. He would often drive 50-60 miles to Atlantic City when he couldn’t get a local tee time. He even lined his golf shoes with plastic bags to play in cold weather in January. He also made a lot of friends playing golf and was not shy about joining an unknown threesome just to be able to play that day. John also owned three Corvettes during his life and loved them almost as much as golf. His last Corvette was a 2006 millennium-red convertible always garaged when not in use. Each day he would wipe off the dust with a fresh chamois, then cover it with two bedsheets sewn together. He even closed the trunk by holding it with a clean cloth to avoid fingerprints, and gently pushing it closed, never letting it drop or slam shut. He would only have it hand-washed; never drive it through an automatic wash to avoid brush marks. Wherever he went, he would always park in a restricted non-parking area to protect it and got away with this because he was so well liked. Everyone knew John and his Corvette. He never drove it in the rain and the 2006 model, had only 30,000 miles on it when he sold it 13 years later. After moving to Toms River, NJ, in the late 1990’s John chose to retire early due to loss of vision in his left eye. But after a short period of adjustment, he continued to drive and play golf. During Evelyn’s temporary assignment in North Carolina, John had a serious car accident where he almost died and was hospitalized for almost a month. After several months and a full recovery, John and Evelyn moved back to Toms River NJ until 2014 when Evelyn retired. In 2014, they moved to Eustis, Florida. John loved Florida because of the weather but mostly because he could play golf all year. He finally stopped playing about 2019 but continued to socialize with friends until his hospice care started in May of this year.

A memorial service will be held on November 25th in Long Valley, New Jersey. No flowers please but be sure to leave a remembrance. You may also make a donation to your favorite charity.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Israel "John" Muniz, please visit our flower store.

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