John F. ‘Jack’ Wilson, 89
Jack Wilson, 89, died peacefully February 28, 2022, with his wife Gale and family by his side at home in Boulder City, NV.
There will be a brief internment ceremony for Jack that is yet to be scheduled.
Jack was born March 16, 1932, in Akron, OH to Dawson and Effie Wilson. As with many of his generation, he grew up with his father away fighting in the World War II – Lt. Col. Dawson Wilson spent a lot of time in the African theater. His mother, Effie, was left at home raising Jack and his kid sister, Perry. Jack had an active mind and used it throughout his life. His high school years were spent at Western Reserve Academy to add another perspective to his early years. While at Western Reserve Academy Jack met Sue Calvin at a formal dance. They became friends and started dating.
After Western Reserve he received a full scholarship to Yale University to study electrical engineering. His studies resulted in a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. At the urging of his advisors, he begin his career with a job at Hughes Aircraft in 1956.
In 1954, while at Yale, Jack married Sue Calvin and together they raised 5 children until their divorce in 1976.
Hughes Aircraft brought Jack to the west coast in 1956. Jack’s initial assignment at Hughes Aircraft placed him in charge of developing technology needed for the Lockheed F-104 to target and lock on to an opposing aircraft. Jack loved the challenge this presented: identifying the target, delivering a weapon to that target and in a way that destroys the target. He envisioned this successful project as his doctorate research and thesis.
Jack held several positions of distinction at different large companies while honing his business skills in the years after Hughes. In 1971 he, Sue and the kids were in Frederick, Maryland. He was made president of Frederick Electronics- a subsidiary of Plantronics Inc. His experience to date got him acquainted to a host of quality talent including Marv, Dan, Luke, Chuck. Jack knew talent and recruited all these people to make the Frederick subsidiary one of the top earners in the field of international communications.
Fate played a huge part in Jack’s life and fate introduced him to Joanne Spurrier Smith. They grew close and eventually married. Jack, Joanne and Joanne’s son Terry embarked on a new series of adventures (travelling, scuba diving and flying) until her untimely death in 2001. These adventures led Jack to become a pilot. In scuba diving and flying Jack overcame his fears of water and heights – always challenging himself to grow and change.
In the mid 80’s, Jack’s next move in the corporate world was to accept a vice president position at ITT World Communications in New York. For several years he oversaw a special project in London. Jack’s years of success enabled him to retire in Nevada in 1997.
It was during retirement that Jack became involved with the Power Squadron at Lake Mead. He taught classes in boat piloting and safety. Jack claimed teaching was a true joy for him. In addition, to his time on the water and teaching about being on the water Jack relished hiking desert trails. It became a daily passion as he hiked up the mountains behind his home.
Jack dealt with Joanne’s passing in 2001 by adopting a true positive outlook about life. The positive outlook made him focus on the good things in his life and move forward to enjoy the positive things that life had to offer. It was a game changer for Jack.
Jack met Gale Westphall in 2006 and they became good friends and eventually married in 2007. The two adopted a rescued Jack Russell terrier and named him Dusty. Jack and Dusty were great pals. Dusty, and his exploits, helped bring new life to the Wilson home. In these years talking to Jack meant talking about his football program. He loved crosswords, maps, and football.
Some things to know about Jack:
His gift for rewriting lyrics to songs.
He holds 3 patents. At least one of them was a radical change (forward) in routing phone calls.
He could train cats.
He’s a member of the Million Mile Club multiple times.
He never knew a fear he didn't conquer, a challenge he couldn't meet or a puzzle he couldn't master. *
He was always quick with a helping hand, a caring heart, or a side-splitting quip.
Jack was at home when discovering.
Jack is survived by his wife, Gale; sister, Perry Somerville; his 6 children and their spouses, John and Karen Wilson; Kim and Craig Rhodes; Elesa and Wayne Miller; Doug and Cindy Jay Wilson; Amy and Leonard Maughan; Terry and Karla Spurrier; stepchildren Marnie and Greg Thiel; and 21 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
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