John Drewes

September 11, 2018

Drewes, John Obituary

John Louis Martin Drewes, 87, passed away at home after a long illness, Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Growing up in the tougher part of Jersey City, he developed a love of fireworks, forbidden in New Jersey until just last year.  This love grew into a lifelong passion.

In high school he fell in love with a young beauty, Dorothy June Williamson, and they lived a happy and productive life until Hurricane Sandy gave them challenges a couple in their 70’s were unable to handle.  She passed soon after.

Just before they married, John was called up from the Army Reserves to serve in a military intelligence corps during the Korean Conflict.  They married in a simple service before his being deployed.  He spent the next two years in Salzburg, Austria with Dotty, keeping a keen eye on the “Russian Influence” as a photo interpreter.

Returning home, he found a group of fellow fireworks lovers and became a founding member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International.  With a natural skill in journalism, he was able to take over Max P. Vander Horck’s publication, American Pyrotechnist.  Reformulated to American Fireworks News, Jack and Dotty dedicated a life to making fireworks better and safer through education with books and the monthly newsletter.

At the same time, they bore two children, John Eric Drewes, husband to Ruth Hunter Drewes of Hopatcong, NJ and Elizabeth Drewes Musselwhite, wife to Jason Musselwhite of Hendersonville, NC.  Both families work in the family business trying to advance his legacy of of excellence in fireworks that define our Independence Day celebrations.

As per his wishes, there will be no viewing or celebrations of his life.  As is tradition at the Guild for founding members, part of his ashes will be mixed with a barrage of fireworks rockets in a memorial display released at the next convention in Gillette, WY, August 2019.  If you love fireworks, donations are accepted at the company website .  You can also buy a book or DVD and learn something new about the fine art of Pyrotechnics.

Services and cremation will be private at the convenience of the family.

Arrangements made by Stroyan Funeral Home, 405 W. Harford St., Milford, PA 18337 (

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