By Sallie James
OCEAN RIDGE — Harry F. Sica Jr., a longtime Ocean Ridge resident who loved helping others almost as much as he loved spending time with his family, died on Nov. 16. He was 65 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
“He was a really generous guy. He loved helping people — anybody. If you made a connection with him — he just loved to reach out,” said his wife, Phyllis, who met her husband through her sister and his sister, who were friends.
The couple, both from New Jersey, married in 1994.
Mr. Sica worked in manufacturing. He owned Vanguard Research Industries in South Plainfield, New Jersey, and was active in the business until his death. The couple moved to Florida in 2005, the year Hurricane Wilma hit, his wife said.
They lived a few years in Delray Beach before making Ocean Ridge their home. Phyllis Sica said they immediately fell in love with the cool little beachy town with the laid-back vibe. But Florida’s unpredictable traffic proved to be problematic. Harry Sica was struck by a car a few years back while cycling, his wife said.
He got lucky. “He wasn’t hurt badly. He was a good drop and roller from all the years of skiing,” Phyllis Sica said.
The two had been skiers since childhood and loved traveling to Colorado, where they owned a second home. Together they would ski, hike and picnic, she said.
It was there they became enamored with the Shining Stars Foundation, which provides year-round recreational and social programs for children and their families faced with pediatric cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.
“It just caught our eye. The percentage of the donations that go to the (administration) were minuscule as compared to some charities that are management heavy. They have a tremendous amount of people that really volunteer their time,” Phyllis Sica said.
Harry and Phyllis Sica became staunch supporters. They are listed as major supporters on the Shining Stars Foundation website. The foundation provides everything from adaptive skiing, hiking and snowmobiling to rafting and biking and sailing.
“He was a really generous person,” his wife said.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Sica is survived by his daughter Ashley DeSouza, his brother Richard Sica and three grandchildren. Contributions can be made in his memory to the Shining Star Foundation.