Jay Andrew Vining

jay vining

June 22, 1956 ~ January 26, 2022

Born in: New Haven, CT
Resided in: Hamden, CT

Jay Andrew Vining, age 65, of Hamden passed away on January 26, 2022. Born in New Haven on June 22, 1956, he was the son of the late Richard J. Vining, Sr. & Mary Jean Vining Sweeney. Jay is survived by his sister Susan (Charles) Vining of Cheshire; his brother Brian (Beth) Vining of Uncasville; niece Margaret Vining of New London; and many other family members and friends, especially Maria Calabrese. Jay was predeceased by his brother Richard J. Vining, Jr. Jay was a Hamden resident most of his life and graduated from Hamden High School. He attended Central Connecticut State University. Jay was an Auto Sales and Leasing Consultant for several dealerships in New Haven County. Jay’s family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Robert Henry, Drs. Bouvay and Nanma, and the ICU staff. Many thanks also to Ed and the team at Yale Surgical Company O. and P.
Friends may visit with Jay’s family on Friday, Feb. 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Friends may also attend his Mass of Christian Burial Saturday at 10:00 a.m. by going directly to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Hamden. Donations in Jay’s memory may be made to the Hole in the Wall Camp Fund, Inc. at www.holeinthewallgang.org.


Visitation: February 4, 2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service - Hamden
2300 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518


Mass of Christian Burial: February 5, 2022 10:00 am

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
2819 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518


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Memories Timeline


  1. The heavens are alive with the sound of laughter thanks to you❤️ We will miss your wit and jokes. Rest In Peace John, until we meet again…..#dontcallduringCOWBOYSgame

  2. Jay was a good man with a heart of gold. Always willing to help others and certainly could entertain a room with his wit and humor. Have many great memories filled with stories about our moms and navigating the caregiver role. Will miss his sense of humor and kind heart. Sending love and prayers to his family. Very sad to hear this news of his passing.

  3. I’m going to miss all the Love, wit, humor and laughter you brought into this world. May you Rest in Peace, old friend!

  4. Thinking about the Vining family during this very sad time. John and the entire family were great next door neighbors on Carmel St. Rest In Peace John as you reunite with some of your loved ones. Ana and Jim Miller

  5. God bless Jay Vining.
    Jay was my friend. And I am lucky to be able to say those words. And I am sure there are thousands of people who felt the same way. Jay was the funniest man I ever knew and I have known lots of very funny people. We worked together (at Fitzwilly’s and Peepers) and played together (softball -the best left handed shortstop ever,) as well as tennis, watching sports on TV, carousing the after hours clubs in New Haven. In 1980 he got a group of Fitzy’s frinds tix for the Yale – Harvard football game in Boston.) I can still see and hear Jay singing and doing his finger-snapping West Side Story dance on the streets of the Combat Zone and later on the T. All you could do was join in, hope to keep up with him and bask in the reflected laughter. Some nights hanging with Jay was like being with John Belushi on steroids.

    We met Bonnie Raitt at Fitzwilly’s one evening in 1981. Bonnie invited us to join her at her table. When Jay excused himself for a bathroom break, Bonnie asked me “seriously…where did you find this guy?” I assured her Jay that was a force of nature. He had her laughing the entire time we sat together. She told me it was a good thing he had gone to the bathroom so as to give her a minute to catch her breath. Then she invited us to her show the next night at Connecticut College. We went, of course, and when Jay and I fought our way to the stage, Bonnie looked down at him and shouted “Hey Jay!” Right into the mic. Like no one else was in the auditorium. I couldn’t even tell if she knew I was there, but without question, she was really happy to see Jay.
    That was the magic of Jay Vining. He had an effect on people, and it always ended with smiles and big laughs. I can’t imagine someone meeting him and not ending up with a Jay Vining story to tell. He was wacky, he was irreverent, he was quick witted; and although he was a large man, I am sure the biggest part of Jay was his heart. Jay, I suspect you are in heaven right now, with Robin Williams and John Belushi and Norm McDonald. And if that’s the case, I hope they can keep up with you.

    Thank you, my friend. You taught me so many things, but probably the most important lesson I learned was this: If your intention was to be funny and make people laugh, you could say whatever you wanted to – as long as it was funny. And it better be funny. Jay did not suffer fools well. But he wouldn’t criticize someone for being a dullard, he’d just let people know with a joke and a laugh. He was so special.

    Sorry, I will not monopolize this tribute guestbook. I can assure you that Jay made me laugh and laugh and laugh- until I cried… Now, I’m just crying.

  6. To Jay’s Family;

    Please accept my condolences for your loss. The world somehow seems quieter now without Jay’s 100 watt energy. I had the pleasure of working with Jay at Fitzwilly’s. He’d frequently bring me flowers ‘just because,’ that’s the type of human being he was.

    Jay’s wit and comic sensibilities were legendary amongst the staff at Fitzwilly’s. His iconic “Excuse me, sir” never failed to entertain us and still makes me laugh whenever I think about it. You had to be there to appreciate it.

    Please know that Jay had a second family who loved and embraced him; his Fittzwilly’s Family. We, too, are feeling the loss of our friend and colleague.

    RIP, Jay.

  7. I’m so very sorry for the families loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time

  8. I’m so sorry for his family and friends, he was an ICON, although I have not been in touch with him in many years, I will always remember our special times together, and all the fun we shared! He always made me laugh and sometimes cry. He is with some of his family that he missed so much. Poor Nanny she is probably laughing so hard with his jokes and homer. RIP JAY……

  9. Jay Vining, what can I say. Shock, a deep sadness, a reminder of our own mortality, and gut wrenching laughter. It was great reconnecting with Jay about 2-3 years ago, and our conversations continued where they left off 35 years ago. They were always lighthearted conversations and full of laughs.Some of the memories and laughter so vivid that tears well up in my eyes from the sheer joy Jay brought us all. Who can forget the flips and falls down the FitzWilly’s staircase, the samurai waiter or the blindman stationed near the cheeseball at Happy Hour. There are many more stories that are with me forever.
    Anyhow Jay you never let on how tired and sick you really were. As somebody already stated you were ‘gallant’ to the end. I never heard you complain, nor an ill word uttered in recent conversations. I will miss you as your memory will always bring a smile to my face and lighten my day. Your last story will stick with me as fresh as the day- The Monkey. I love you buddy, and I will see you again in God’s house along with AG and Webb. Lest I forget, my deepest condolences to the family. ML

  10. I’m another one of the Fitzwilly’s family that first met Jay over 40 years ago. it was apparent from the beginning, that we were a part of something special and that was proven by the huge turnout at the several reunion gatherings we held. Jay was the catalyst for the humor we all tried to match, but of course couldn’t. We shared a love of sports and was part of our fantasy football and baseball leagues. I’ll miss the laughs every time we shared memories of those days. Condolences to his family.

  11. Jay was a crazy, silly , heart felt man.
    I worked with him for many years at Fitzwilly’s in New Haven He brought people to their knees in laughter.
    Remembering one Halloween working with him. He was dressed like a sergeant in the army. I believe he supported a cigar out of the side of his mouth. Taking orders from customers was quite gruff as he pretended to shout orders at them in clarity of what they wanted. Absolutely hysterical.
    I loved when he would get in the weeds and try to hold it together. Spitting and sputtering.
    I loved Jay for who he was. He had a kind soft side and his heart was always in the right place. He will be missed. I pray for his peace and my condolences to his family and friends God bless you Jay until we meet again.❤️🙏🏼😔✌🏼🌎

  12. Whenever I think of Jay I will always smile. And laugh a little. He was one of the most human people I had the pleasure of working with. It is just so sad that he left us. AG, Larry, and now Jay. Condolences to his family. Rest in Peace Jay.

  13. Dear Brian and Susan I don’t know if I’ll make it today because of the weather. I have known Jay since high school and we have remained friends until the day he passed. I was lucky enough in my life to have both your brothers and my life and they gave me such joy and happiness and a ton of laughter. This is very difficult for all of us. But I will remember all of the good times to keep a smile on my face when I think of them both. Please take care you know I love you both.. you definitely are like my family. Love Janice ❤️

  14. I worked with Jay at Hamden DPW in the late 70s and we became fast friends. Condolences to his family. God bless his memory. He’ll always have a spot in my heart.

  15. Jay’s antics kept everyone laughing back in our Fitzwilly’s days, and he still made me laugh all these years later, even when life wasn’t all that funny.
    I’m so very sorry for his family, and all of us who were lucky to be his friends. He had a big, kind heart and wasn’t afraid to show it.
    I’ll miss him.

  16. Jay was our bright, warm, loving and oh so funny friend to everyone that was lucky enough to know him. The world is a little dimmer without Jay

  17. Jay and I worked together at Fitzwilly’s for a few years. We had so much fun and I will always remember him with a smile. My deepest sympathies to his family.

  18. Jay,I am so sorry that you passed.My condolences to the family. You harassed me on a regular basis,but I learned to love it.
    I still think I was and am a better dancer. We will find out someday to Footloose by Kenny Loggins. PS

  19. I worked with Jay at Fitzwilly’s and remember him as such an indefatigable source of joy and laughter. He was and is the funniest person I’ve met, but he also was amazingly decent. He made life more precious. At the end of our lives, there is nothing but what have given to others. Jay gave an enviable amount of laughter, joy, and fellowship. Much love, Julie

  20. Jay was one of the funniest people I have known. He was brilliant and kind. I am saddened to see him leave this earth at such a young age.

    Sincerely, Annette Nicoletti

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