John Harry James Giddings was born April 11, 1932 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He was the fourth child of Arthur W. and Lydia E. Giddings. John's parents came to America in 1924 from Urchfont, England and settled in Severna Park, Maryland. John spent his childhood working in his family's grocery store in the morning and swimming, boating, crabbing and fishing on the Severn and Magothy Rivers in the afternoon.
John attended Randolph Macon Academy for his freshman and sophomore years of high school, and then returned to Severna Park to graduate from Severn School. While at Severn School he was a member of the student class council and participated in both football and lacrosse. Ever the gifted athlete, he was selected to the Maryland Interscholastic Association All-State teams in both sports.
In 1950, he received an athletic scholarship to New York Military Academy, Cornwall On The Hudson, New York. While there as a post graduate student he participated in football, basketball, track and lacrosse. He was selected as an All-State Lacrosse Player and played in the All-Star Game at Jones Beach, Long Island, New York.
In June of 1951 and within days of each other, John received notification from The United States Military Academy and The United States Naval Academy of his acceptance.
John accepted his first choice and entered USMA on July, 3rd with the Class of 1955.
Following "beast barracks'', he was assigned to Company G-1. As a cadet he was noted for his sense of humor and perseverance as demonstrated by his ability to stay one step ahead of the Academic and Tactical Departments. His strong suit was in his athletic abilities. He was a starting half-back on both Plebe and "B-Squad'' football teams during his Plebe and Yearling years. However, his greatest athletic achievement was as a four year starter as a midfielder on the varsity lacrosse team and being selected as a three-time All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. He was also selected to play in the North-South All Star game at Johns Hopkins his senior year.
Upon graduation in 1955, John was commissioned in the Infantry and he attended the Basic Infantry Officer Course at Fort Benning, Georgia prior to reporting to his first duty assignment in Korea. While at Fort Benning, he qualified as an Airborne Officer in addition to completing "Ranger Training''.
Following the Korean tour of duty, John returned to the United States for a three year tour at Fort Carson, Colorado. While serving as the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of Fort Carson, John traveled to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as part of a fact-finding team to evaluate the readiness of the Jordanian Military.
"As a special member of the Military Survey Mission to Jordan during October and November 1958, John's performance of duty was outstanding and contributed materially to the successful completion of a most vital and sensitive mission. Throughout the entire period of duty during the mission, he demonstrated unique qualities of leadership, sound judgement, cheerful and co-operative attitude, yet decisiveness in the daily performance of his many duties. While serving as Aide-de-Camp, First Lieutenant Giddings displayed superlative diplomacy, astute awareness of the situation and ability to cope with any problem.He contributed much to the smooth and effective operation of the Command.''
After the Colorado tour of duty, John attended the Advanced Infantry Officer Course at Fort Benning prior to being assigned to Fort Richardson, Alaska for three years. While serving there, he was selected to command the only Airborne company in Alaska. In 1963, he received orders to report to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to serve as a Team Leader with the 7th Special Forces, Green Beret.
"During the period Captain Giddings rendered distinguished service by his fertile imagination, precise and methodical mental processes, exceptional organizational ability and outstanding grasp of tactical principles. These traits and the uncommon enthusiasm distinguished him as an officer of incalculable worth. His remarkable ability to enlist the loyal and wholehearted support of his subordinates has proven a major factor in the attainment of the impressive record compiled by this Command during his tenure.''
In January 1965, John resigned his commission and moved back to Severna Park, Maryland. In early 1965, he and his brother, Robert, established Giddings and Associates, Inc., a full service real estate company serving the residents of Anne Arundel County. Until the company was sold in 1990, John served as CEO and President. During this twenty-five year period John was honored as Realtor of the Year and served as President of the Association of Realtors for Anne Arundel County. He also served as Director for the Maryland Association of Realtors.
In 1984, John was elected to the Severn School Athletic Hall of Fame, recognizing those individuals who had contributed to athletic excellence as a player while attending Severn School.
In 1993 John accepted a management position with Prudential and remained there until 1996 when he moved to O'Conor, Piper & Flynn Realtors to serve as a Branch Vice President. Eventually the company became Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
John is survived by his wife of 41 years, and the "light of his life'', Sherry; his son, John; daughters Kim, Holly and Heather; six grandchildren and their adorable dog, Buttons.
John Giddings lived a life surrounded by friends family. He was known for his steady presence, quiet sense of humor, depth of integrity and kindness to all.
Among his many achievements, John served as: Vice President of the Severna Park Jaycees, Member of the Severna Park Rotary, Trustee of Woods Presbyterian Church, Member of the Advisory Board of Annapolis Banking & Trust, Chairman of the Fifth District Republican Club, Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, A.A. County Trade Council, Vice President of the Severn School Alumni Association, President of the Cape Arthur Improvement Association and President of the Severna Park Lacrosse Club. He served on the Board of Directors of the Chartwell Golf & Country Club as the Planning Director during the period when a complete renovation of the club facilities took place. John and Sherry have been very active members of the Chartwell community for over 45 years.
Capital Gazette: John HJ Giddings of Severna Park MD died in Bothell WA on January 18, 2021, just shy of his 89th birthday. Raised on the Chesapeake Bay, John spent his childhood crabbing and boating, when not working in his family's grocery store.
John was a graduate of the USMA at West Point and served in the Special Forces as a Green Beret. John enjoyed his career in real estate as owner of Giddings & Associates, working alongside his wife and life partner, Sherry.
John is survived by his wife of 41 years, and the ''light of his life'', Sherry; his son, John; daughters Kim, Holly and Heather; six grandchildren and their adorable dog, Buttons.
John Giddings lived a life surrounded by his friends and family. He was known for his steady presence, quiet sense of humor, depth of integrity and kindness to all.