Lieutenant Colonel Jack C. Runyan

Obituary
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Jack C. (Happy/Smilin Jack) Runyan, loving husband, devoted father, grandfather and great grandfather, and great friend and mentor, died peacefully on December 2, 2012 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Jack is survived by his wife Pat (Heisig), daughters, Susan (Tom) Walker, Terri Runyan, and Babbi (Micky) MacKenzie, and two sons, Rick (Char) Runyan and Steve (Lisa) Runyan, 13 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Jack was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on August 25, 1932, the second child of Louise and Raymond Runyan. His family later moved to Indiana where Jack grew up, graduating from Lawrenceburg High School where he starred in basketball, football and baseball. He went on to Purdue University and played both baseball and basketball there, eventually choosing basketball as his sporting focus along with his mechanical engineering studies and Air Force ROTC. Upon graduating from Purdue, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force on September 30, 1954, with his first assignment at Truax Field in Madison, WI, where he met his future wife, Pat Heisig. They were married on April 16, 1955. He then entered Undergraduate Pilot Training, became a Fighter Pilot and protected his country flying out of the United States, Iceland, Taiwan and the Philippines and combat missions out of South Vietnam and Thailand. During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Combat Readiness Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal. The pinnacle of his Air Force career assignments was as an Air Officer Commanding at the Air Force Academy. He made a huge difference in the lives of those he led teaching them, by example, what it meant to be Air Force Officers and husbands. Mentoring and teaching the young men there solidified his choice for a second career. Jack retired from the Air Force on June 30, 1975. His second career was as a teacher, coach and administrator in School District 20, touching the lives of so very many young men and women in both careers. The highlights of Jack's life were the births of their five children, Susan, Terri, Rick, Babbi and Steve who went on to marry and bless Jack and Pat with thirteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren who have given them immeasurable joy. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jack's name to "Build as One", Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, 8955 Scarborough Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920, where he was a member from its inception. Visitation will be Thursday, Dec 6, 9 AM at Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church followed by a Memorial Mass at 10 AM. Jack will be buried with Military Honors and pride for the way he served and loved God, his family and his country 2:30 PM at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO.
Published in The Gazette on Dec. 5, 2012
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