Diamond Jack

For a man who loved cars,  Jack spent nearly his entire life buying and selling his favorite models as well as owning a multitude of businesses. Jack always felt he was a a very lucky man. In his younger years, friends used to refer to him as “Diamond” Jack.  The luck for which he was thankful, however, had nothing to do with the multitude of cars and business deals; rather, it had to do with the LOVE of his life, Maureen. Together they raised 3 beautiful daughters. Those four special women were the DIAMONDS in Jack’s life.

Over a 50 years ago, when my parents became engaged, my dad took mom to Lewiston, Idaho (his hometown) to meet his sister and brother-in-law, Jack. One of Mom’s favorite  memories of that meeting was as private moment when Jack pulled her aside, smiled and said, “Joanie, you are marrying into a wonderful family”. Jack was full of humor, loyal to family and friends, always full of new ideas, and once tried to lure my parents (who lived in another town) to give up their professions and move to Lewiston to open a sporting goods store. THAT, in his opinion,would not only provide income, add a valuable new store to the town….but would also keep the family in close proximity. He was the only one who could get away with calling my grandmother, Ruth…..Ruthie. That favorite nickname made its way down the family tree to his granddaughter.

My memories of my uncle include his big smile, his interest in us as we grew through the years and the wonderful relationship he and my aunt had with my parents. Those four were a very close group and their laughter, stories and camaraderie were witnessed by all five of us cousins. He had a strong faith, took care of his mother financially throughout her life and provided a wonderful life for his family.

Jack was part of an era that watched what they said in front of kids. I think the only time I heard him swear was at the tail end of a trip they took to visit us. Shari was in high school. In an attempt to load all of the girls’ suitcases into the trunk of his car (which was a herculean feat….,trust me. They did not travel light). Shari forgot to bring her suitcase out to the car until the very last-minute. At that point he had been outside for about 20 minutes trying to fit everything into the trunk; there was barely enough room left for air. When she walked out with her humongous suitcase and told him he needed to add it, he nearly croaked. He looked at her with great exasperation and said “Dammit Shari, why didn’t you bring this out when I asked  you to?”  We knew Jack had to be pretty frustrated to say that.  For the rest of the morning we renamed Shari,……  calling her ‘Dammit’.

It’s funny how our childhood memories are often the fondest, and for me Jack was huge part of those memories. I’m so thankful we got spend our summers at his home running through sprinklers, having cool-pops for an afternoon treat, riding in the jeep to go to swimming lessons, hitting golf balls and playing in the field across from his house, watching our grandparents and parents visit with each other on the back patio while we kids played, watching the thunderstorms that came through on those hot summer nights, going to the Clarkston A&W in the evenings for a frosty mug of root beer…..and my aunt Rene bringing ice cubes because they wanted theirs ‘extra’ cold, ….going for drives at night and listening to Uncle Jack talk about the town. As kids, we did a lot of playing, but we also did a lot of WATCHING as the adults in our lives demonstrated what ‘family’ is all about. My uncle Jack was a big part of that experience. I love him and will miss him. I know in my heart that as Jack’s spirit crossed into heaven, my Aunt Rene was there to greet him. They have likely begun their next adventure together…..and I bet it includes a new car.

-in memory and with love for my Uncle Jack…..-Marsha 6/18/12