Dec. 1, 1920 - Feb. 23, 2013
Jack Julian Fleming, 92, passed away peacefully on February 23, surrounded by his family at his home in Brawley, California.
Jack was born at his parents' farm home north of Niland on December 1, 1920. The family soon moved to Brawley, where Jack lived his entire life. His parents, Edith Hearne and Herbert Andrew Fleming, were a pioneer farming family. He was named Jack in tribute to their dear friends and neighbors, Carol and Earl Jack. Amazingly, he married their daughter, Eunice Jack, his childhood friend, who was the love of his life and partner for 63 years.
Jack attended local Brawley schools and graduated from BUHS in 1938. He was Student Body Treasurer, Vice-President of his class, and ASB President his senior year, and was on the tennis, basketball, and softball teams.
After Pearl Harbor was attacked Jack received a Farmer's Exemption from the draft, but he chose to serve his country, enlisting in the Coast Guard. Jack attended Signalman's School in Connecticut, and was ultimately stationed in Alaska, patrolling the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. He later delighted in entertaining his children and grandchildren by spelling messages out in semaphore. In 1947 he and Eunice were married. After his graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in agriculture, they returned to Brawley and raised their four children, Larry, Jaki, Robert and Caroline. Jack farmed with his brother-in-law and best friend, Neal Jack, in the partnership of Fleming & Jack until 1985 when he formed Spruce Farms with his sons, Larry and Robert, and son-in-law, Roy Motter. In addition to the family farming business, he also served the farm community on the local, state and federal levels, including Beet Growers Association, Imperial Sweet Onion Commission, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers, Curly Top Virus Control Board, Ag Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Board.
Jack had a lifetime of commitment to the community. As a community leader, Jack served on the Brawley Elementary School Board, Brawley Little League, Imperial County March of Dimes, North County Coalition for the Arts, and Brawley Boys and Girls Club. He remained passionately dedicated to the Pioneers Museum throughout his life, and was instrumental in developing the museum's agriculture exhibit. In 2006 he and Eunice were the recipients of the Brawley Chamber of Commerce Branding Iron Award for Community Service. In 2012 Jack was honored by the Imperial County Farm Bureau with the Jim Kuhn Memorial Farmer of the Year Award for outstanding service to the agricultural community. Jack was renowned as a talented artist. His paintings have been exhibited at IVC Art Gallery, SDSU Calexico , Spanish Village in Balboa Park, California Expo, Palmer Art Gallery, and Pioneers Museum. In 1989, he received the Arts Council Artist Award. Many of his wonderful paintings are inspired by the places he and Eunice traveled to around the world. Jack painted prolifically until his death, and his paintings are lovingly displayed in the homes of family and friends.
Jack was an avid tennis player until his 80's, and enjoyed solving the daily crossword puzzle. He loved playing bridge with Eunice, and they were famous for their moves on the dance floor. The real focus of Jack Fleming's life was family. His grandchildren affectionately referred to him as "Poppo", and were fortunate that he loved spending time with them and participating in their activities. He and Eunice passed on their love of travel to their children, as well as their grandchildren who enjoyed many special motorhome and plane trips with Gramma and Poppo.
Jack's children and their spouses are Larry and Mary Frances Fleming, Jaki and Roy Motter, Robert and Rosanne Fleming, and Caroline and Bob Butler. His grandchildren are Matt (Heather) Fleming, Amanda Fleming, Trisha (Joey) Snelgrove, Cara (Peter) Bandera, Allyn (Pancho) Aguirre, Jack Motter, Michelle (Dan) Wyse, Lauren Fleming, Christoper Butler, and Nicholas Butler. His great-grandchildren are Hudson, Merrick and Dominic Fleming; Daniel, James, and Kayla Bandera; Maya Aguirre; Cathleen and Isabelle Wyse. His brother-in-law and wife are Neal and Shirley Jack.
Jack is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Eunice and dear grandson, Andrew Fleming.
A Celebration of The Life of Jack Fleming will be held at Stockmen's Club in Brawley on Friday, March 15th at 10 a.m.
The family suggests memorials in his honor to Pioneers Museum Memorial Fund, Boys and Girls Club of Imperial Valley, Pioneers Memorial Hospital Foundation, and North County Coalition for the Arts.