Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rest in peace, Uncle Jack.... 

Found out today in a letter that my Uncle Jack has passed away. He was the husband of my mom's much older sister. Jack died in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 23rd of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) at the age of 86.

I am a bit surprised; I knew he wasn't well but had no idea the seriousness of his condition. I had sat down less than an hour before the mail arrived to write to my aunt and inquire about his health. I had meant to do so right after the holidays and wish that I had.

My uncle served in World War II with the Arkansas National Guard as part of an evac hospital. He was a manager of office services for the local VA hospital for 35 years. He was buried with military honors.

He, like most of the rest of my mom's family, was very active in the Baptist church. He served as a deacon among other things. He lived in Arkansas all his life (not counting his time in the military).

He and my aunt Dorothy celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last July. I honestly don't know what my aunt is going to do without him. How does one cope with the death of a spouse after having been married that many years?

Jack and Dorothy had five children. Jack, Jr. died in infancy. The other four grew up to be wonderful people with children of their own. Uncle Jack also had three great-grandchildren.

Uncle Jack could be pretty funny. I remember my sister when she was very young used to pester him with questions all the time, like asking him where he was going. He would say, "I'm going crazy, want to come with me?" My sister, thinking "crazy" was a place and not a state of mind, would eagerly agree to go with him.

My uncle was a diabetic long before the more modern treatments were available, but he managed to keep it under control. No mean feat considering that Aunt Dorothy was an excellent cook, heh heh. Hard to eat in moderation when you're surrounded with fried chicken, fried okra and two kinds of pie for dessert.

Uncle Jack was not a flashy man, but the one non-conservative thing about him is that he always had nice large cars, usually Buicks or Oldsmobiles. He kept them in excellent condition, the exception being the time he accidentally left one out of gear when he was going fishing and it rolled into the lake! That car was brand new and was a total loss.

Jack and Dorothy had the traditional marriage with the traditional roles. He worked hard and was able to earn enough to provide a good life for his family, and she stayed at home with the kids and never even learned how to drive. He would take her to church and to get her hair done and visit with relatives.

I wish I had had the opportunity to attend his funeral. But Aunt Dorothy sent me a program from the service and a photo of the two of them taken at Christmas, which I will treasure. It is rather sobering to realize that my aunt is now the only relative still alive who remembers my grandfather (he died in 1944).

I will take some time tomorrow to go through my old family scrapbooks. I will also renew my effort to work on a scrapbook I had planned for all the stuff Aunt Dorothy has sent me since my mom died in 1997. The first time I tried working on it we got an offer on our house in Denver; the second time was when the basement flooded and I had to have the scrapbook workspace rebuilt.

I am sad about the loss of my uncle, but am comforted by the fact that he had a long life with lots of memories to cherish.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?