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May 3, 1920 - June 13, 2013
Jack Wyard, whose sense of humor, boundless optimism and robust enthusiasm for life endeared him to family, friends and business associates, passed away quickly and peacefully while watching the U.S. Open and getting ready to drive out to his weekly poker game. He had just celebrated his 93rd birthday with family and friends in May. He grew up in North Vancouver, Canada, later moving to Seattle, where he graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in mechanical engineering. During World War II he worked at Boeing and in 1946 went into the Army, where he was assigned to work under Werner Von Braun in the effort to develop the U.S. rocket program. After his discharge, finding no work in the engineering field, he took a job as a salesman for Gates Rubber Company in Boise, Idaho, where he met Joyce Hubble at a ski club meeting, and in the greatest sales coup of his career, somehow convinced her to become his wife for the next 60 years. His work took them to Seattle and then in 1954 to Southern California, first to Whittier, and then to Northridge in 1967. In the late 50s, he made a fateful career change, taking a position as a salesman for LAARS Engineering, a small manufacturer of swimming pool heaters. It proved to be his true calling, and during his 35 year tenure there, his integrity, dedication and enthusiastic personal touch earned him the loyalty and friendship of both his customers and co-workers. By the time he retired as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, LAARS had become the leading manufacturer in its industry, selling its product world-wide, and he had become one of the best-known, highly regarded and beloved people in the pool business -- tellingly,even his competitors liked him. During his youth he was active in sports of all types, including hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, skiing and tennis, but retirement gave him even more time to indulge his lifelong athletic passion: golf. He was a longtime member at Woodland Hills Country Club, and despite a notoriously unreliable putting stroke, maintained a single-digit handicap until age 67, with a lifetime low round of 65. He loved the competition, camaraderie and lifelong friendships that it fostered, and always liked to say "Golf really isn't better than sex -- except when you're playing good!" Friends were a primary source of pleasure and enjoyment, and he liked nothing better than basking in their company, a drink in hand, seeing their smiling faces and hearing the sound of their laughter. He made friends in every stage of life, always keeping the old ones while adding new ones. At the time of his passing he was still in touch with friends he had known as a boy growing up, old neighbors from Seattle and Whittier, and was meeting new people in the retirement community he moved into just two months ago. He also took great delight in his five grandchildren, to whom was affectionately known as Papa Jack, taking them to movies and golf lessons and teaching them how to do back flips off his diving board. His was a long, rich life enjoyed to its fullest right up to its end, which even after 93 years, came much too soon. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Joyce, and is survived by his son, Steve; daughters Susan and Karen, and his five grandchildren. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all whose lives he touched. .
Published in the Los Angeles Times on June 23, 2013
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