Gustavson, John "Jack"
John "Jack" Gustavson passed away peacefully, early Monday morning, June 10, 2013, with his daughter Lauri by his side. Jack was born on March 4, 1934 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to the late Clarence and Virginia Gustavson - both children of Norwegian immigrants. Jack was very proud of his Norwegian heritage and he always reminded us that he was a tough ole Norwegian! Nothing was clearer as he courageously battled Alzheimer's disease for the past 15 years - the last 10 of those years at Woodside Lutheran Home.
Jack grew up in Eau Claire and graduated from Memorial High School in 1952. Like many men from that era, he joined the service and spent the next four years in the US Air Force
- obtaining an honorable discharge from the Korean Conflict
. He met Nancy (Bell) his future wife, while stationed at McChord Air Force Base near Seattle. After a three month whirlwind romance, they got married on December 22, 1956 in Puyallup, Washington. Shortly after their marriage, they moved back to Eau Claire and began their family with 3 children in 3 years - Kari, Lauri, and John. Maria followed in 1967 in Minneapolis after the family relocated there. Jack was a good father that always provided well for his family. He took his family on many fun and adventurous vacations - across the West and back (no air conditioning, mind you!). He worked odd jobs as a young father until finally landing a position as a salesman for Thomas J. Lipton in 1960. Many grocery store owners across the Midwest would have fond memories of Jack. His first boss once said "Jack could sell ice cubes to Eskimos!" He worked for Lipton for 30 years and proudly retired as Market Manager in 1990.
Jack had a zest for life, an infectious laugh and was easy to get to know. Other than his family, his passion in life was golf and anyone who knew him was made well aware of that. In 2001, Jack finally got his hole in one - although he claims he was 'really really' close another 1,000 times. Jack was always involved in the community - was Councilman when living in Minneapolis, was very active in the Jaycees, and in every church that he attended. His family wishes that those who saw him deteriorate over the last 10 years would have been able to know him in his early years - because this is how he will be fondly remembered!
He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Nancy; daughter and son-in-law, Kari (Paul) Morris - grandchildren Charles Morris, Lorene (Kevin) Hardie - great grandchildren Caroline and Ben; daughter, Lauri Toepel - grandchildren Melissa Matos (her partner Kelly Peake) and Mike (Brooke) Matos - great grandchild - 'Nicolas'; a son,
John Gustavson (special friend Cathy) - grandchildren Carl, Anne and Gail; daughter and son-in-law, Maria (Tony) Malzone - grandchildren Isabella, Sophia, Angelina, and Anthony Dominic (AJ); further survived by twin sisters, Jane Tomlinson and Jean Anderson; numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at Calvary Lutheran Church, 1301 S. Ridge Road, from 9:00 am until the memorial service at 11:30 am with Rev. Earl Vorpagel III officiating. Military honors will follow. Online condolences may be expressed at www.lyndahl.com
. A memorial fund has been established in Jack's name.
His family would like to recognize the tremendous support they have received from his friends at Calvary Lutheran Church with special recognition to Pastor Earl Vorpagel III- who was always there for Nancy and Jack. They would also like to acknowledge and give special thanks to all of Jack's nurses and caregivers at Woodside Lutheran Home for their many years of compassionate care. Lastly, thank you to Unity Hospice for caring for Jack and the Gustavson family, in his final days here on earth.