Cover photo for J Cischke's Obituary
J Cischke Profile Photo

J Cischke

d. November 19, 2023

J Cischke

Cischke, J (f/k/a Barb) of Hingham, passed away on November 19, 2023, after a long battle with breast cancer.  He was 75.

J was born into poverty as Barbara Jean in Michigan in 1948.  As the oldest of six, J cared for his younger siblings while his mom worked until he left home at age 15.  J went on to earn an EMT license (1970), graduate cum laude from both Oakland Community College (1975) and Central Michigan University (1977), gain his teacher’s certification in school health and physical education, and hold a variety of jobs previously performed only by men.  J was active in the “Gay Lib” movement at CMU, helping to form a gay and lesbian speakers’ bureau there.  He started a women’s softball team when he was 18 and went on to pitch almost every inning for 32 straight seasons in spite of a serious spinal injury received at age 19.  For 10 years, J participated in men’s dirt bike races.  He taught CPR and first aid for the American Red Cross and other agencies, continuing to do so for a total of 50 years.

J moved to Boston in 1978, but was unable to find employment as a school health educator.  After working an odd assortment of jobs and living on the street for a while, he opened a state-licensed family childcare in 1982, operating out of his minuscule apartment in Beacon Hill for the first 12 years.  He was a famous fixture in the neighborhood, walking or wheeling his charges all over downtown in their matching rainbow caps.  J ultimately ran “Barb’s Family Childcare” for 35 years, eventually moving to Hyde Park. A strong proponent of letting children learn through play and getting them outdoors everyday, J gave a good start to many little lives.

J was a fount of boundless energy and never content to work just one job.  In addition to home-based childcare, J provided childcare at Boston’s annual Pride festival and at many women’s events over the years.  He delivered the Gay Community News for 10 years.  He kept up his EMT license for 40 years, long after he stopped working on an ambulance.  In 1998, J was certified as a Wilderness EMT and began teaching wilderness first aid, which became his passion for the last 25 years of his life.

J never hesitated to share that he was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 43 years and that he was a scarred survivor of childhood abuse.  In spite of being targeted for violence multiple times, J was always a proud walking billboard for the right of LGBTQIA people to exist.  His openness and honesty, his sometimes-overabundant talkativeness, and his always-present ability to listen will be missed by many.

J leaves behind his adoring wife of 30 years, Eileen Thurston of Hingham, a large, loving biological family, and a huge “chosen family” of friends.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to greet the family during a memorial service in the Art Center at Linden Ponds Senior Living Community, 300 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA 02043 on January 9, 2024. Services will begin at 11AM.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of J Cischke, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life Service

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Art Center at Linden Ponds Senior Living Community

300 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA 02043

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