Saturday, September 02, 2023

Connecticut Loses a Patriot - Obituary of Juan Espinosa

A private funeral ceremony will be held next mid-week.  Afterward,
Juan will be interned at the Connecticut Veteran's Cemetary, in Middletown, CT. He was my brother-in-;aw.  Rest in peace, Juan and look over Ma.

Juan Carlos Espinosa (60), a devoted husband and father, accomplished electrician, former United States Army Ranger, and resident of East Haddam, Connecticut, passed away peacefully on August 25, 2023, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, after an 11-year battle with brain cancer.

Juan is survived by his childhood sweetheart and loving, eternally patient wife of 20 years, Melissa Espinosa; his mother, Lucy Espinosa; his mother-in-law Angie Schultz, his twin sons, Hunter Espinosa and Logan Espinosa; his son Lucas Espinosa and his wife Hannah Cole; his daughter Ashley Espinosa and her two children, James and Gabriella; his son David Schwartz and his two children, Eli and Gracelyn; his daughter Savannah Espinosa and her two children, Penelope and Benjamin; his sister Maria Wiegel and her husband Chris; his brother Jorge; his brother Roberto; his best friend Tim Kesten and his wife Katie; his friend, mentor and father figure, Cos Giuffrida; his longtime, close friend Barbara Fouquette; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his father Juan Espinosa; his father-in-law Nolan Thayne Schultz; and his son Joshua Schwartz.

Juan was a first-generation Cuban-American, born in Miami, Florida on February 2, 1963. He spent most of his childhood in Middletown, Connecticut and enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17. When asked what role he wanted to serve, he responded “I want to jump out of planes and shoot at people”. So began his path to becoming an Army Ranger, ultimately being assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Battalion, Alpha Company, Weapons Platoon, in Savannah, Georgia.

On October 25, 1983, while assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment as an anti-armor recoilless gunner, Juan participated in the airborne assault of Grenada as part of Operation Urgent Fury. Under the fire of anti-aircraft guns, Juan executed a combat jump from a mere 500 feet of altitude, and seized the Point Salinas airfield. After returning from combat, he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.

His dedication and unparalleled success as an Army Ranger did not go unnoticed; he was eventually appointed as a Ranger School Instructor and later earned his Master Rated Jumpmaster wings. He would also go on to earn his Expert Infantry Badge and Air Assault Badge.

After the Army, Juan became a certified electrician, graduating at the top of his class at the Lincoln Technical Institute. Over the years, he worked hard to perfect his electrical skills and advance his knowledge of the electrical trade. “Good enough” was never acceptable and if the job required additional hours to complete to his standard of quality, he was there to get the work done. He developed a reputation among fellow contractors as a leader and problem solver; his no-nonsense approach to work was well known. Additionally, equipped with a dry but affable sense of humor, he struck a chord with everyone he worked alongside. He was never short of jokes or sarcasm.

Juan took pride and great care in everything he did, whether it be his regular work, side jobs he took to ensure there was extra income to support his family or projects around the house. Lawn maintenance was an ongoing battle for perfection; “Don’t drive on the grass!”.

In 2000, Juan was reunited with his childhood girlfriend Melissa. In 2003, they were married in their front yard, surrounded by family and friends, and shortly thereafter had their two boys, Hunter and Logan. Juan was a dedicated father. He took an active life in his children’s lives, including assisting with Boy Scouts and coaching the East Haddam Little League. Furthermore, he took pride in pushing his children to always be better. He never pulled his punches, often coming off as a bit harsh. Regardless, his intentions were always from a place of love and care. Juan also loved spending time with his grandchildren. He always went out of his way to entertain them and make them laugh. His wife has frequently compared him to a turtle; a tough outer shell but squishy and lovable beneath the surface.

Through the years, Juan acquired a handful of hobbies, often echoing his career in their demand for attention to detail and hard work. He enjoyed building and detailing model cars. He was extremely passionate about baseball and for a time, participated in a company softball league. Most recently he renewed his passion for marksmanship, spending many hours at the gun range honing his skills and an equivalent amount of time at home, cleaning and servicing his firearms. He was also an avid dog lover, raising and training multiple dogs over the years, including Patton, Beethoven, Shadow, and Cobra.

Juan was a tough, but loving husband, father, and friend. He worked hard in every endeavor of his life. His mark on this world will not soon be forgotten.

Calling hours for the public were held Thursday, August 31, 2023 at Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver Street, Middletown, Connecticut. Casual attire is acceptable; Carhartt shirts are encouraged. A private military funeral will be held in the near future. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Juan’s name are suggested to the East Haddam Moodus Little League or the East Haddam Parks and Recreation, to be directed towards the East Haddam Dog Park.  To share memories or express condolences online, please visit

Rangers lead the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Authors of comments and posts are solely responsible for their statements. Please email for questions or concerns. This blog, (and any site using the blogger platform), does not and cannot track the source of comments. While opinions and criticism are fine, they are subject to moderator discretion; slander and vile attacks of individuals will not to be tolerated. Middletown Insider retains the right to deny any post or comment without explanation.

Popular Posts