John  Makely
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Obituary of John Adelbert Makely

A world traveler, loving husband, proud father and grandfather, John Adelbert Makely, 85, died in his sleep in the early morning of March 24, 2024 after a long battle with Alzheimers disease.

John Makely was born in Buffalo, NY on July 29, 1938 to Marion and Adelbert Makely, an engineer for AT&T, who sang in a barbershop quartet. 

John graduated from Kenmore High school and then went on to the University of Buffalo earning a degree in Labor Relations. His brother Allen Makely was his fraternity pledge master in college which capped off an adventurous adolescence. 

John married Celeste Valente Capobianco in 1963 soon after he had joined Pan American World Airways where he started by working the reservations agent at ticket counter and culminated a 20 year career as Director for the South-Central United States based in Houston Texas.

Makely traveled with the US and Chinese National Ping Pong teams during their eight city tour and earlier in 1968 as Manager of Religious Affairs for Pan Am he traveled with Pope John Paul on flights between Rome and Istanbul and to South America.

Travel was central to the Makely family and their three children, John Allen, Karen and David spent most of their childhood vacations overseas with trips to Tahiti, Hawaii, Hong Kong, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mexico and much of Europe with three years living in London.

John’s favorite line about working for Pan Am was “ We can fly anywhere in the world, we just can’t afford to get off the plane “

Retirement from American Express in 2001 brought him to Wellfleet, MA on Cape Cod. Always social, adding to the Makely’s large circle of friends came naturally whether it was the Norchester tennis club in Houston, Texas in the 1980’s, or the beachfront art scene in Wellfleet John Makely thoroughly enjoyed being part of the community and reveled in sharing his experiences and capacity for  humor. 

He was a founding member of Wellfleet Preservation Hall, a Catholic Church converted to a town community center. Also, In 2010, he and Celeste, along with a group of dedicate residents, established the Wellfleet Community Garden.

John will be remembered as an avid woodworker, building desks, chests and wooden toys when not restoring trucks and cars or taking apart a transmission or sewing machine just to see how they worked. A meticulous note-taker and student of all things mechanical including his full frame-off restoration of a 1947 MG TC roadster.

While proud of his career and hobbies, John was most proud of his family saying recently  “I am very happy for the success of my children and grandchildren, and if anyone interferes with that, I will kick their ass”

John Adelbert Makely is survived by his wife of 61 years, Celeste Makely and their children John Allen Makely, Dr. Karen Celeste Makely and David Edward Makely and their spouses as well as seven grandchildren: Maya, Olivia and Audrey Mills, Jack and Colin Makely and Katie and Abigail Makely along with many nieces and nephews. John is also survived by his big brother and best friend Allen C. Makely, 89, and his wife Jeannine.

In lieu of sending flowers the family asks for donations to




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