Jack Paden was a native Californian, born in Los Angeles to John K. Paden, Sr. and Mabel Merritt Paden. He had a younger brother, Jerry, with whom he shared some interesting experiences. During the Depression, the family lived in a one-room downtown apartment, and the boys slept on an outside porch. His mother, a truly resourceful woman, made sure her boys were kept busy when they weren't in school, and one idea was to enroll them in the choir of a nearby cathedral.
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This was the beginning of Jack's lifetime of singing in Episcopal church choirs, including St. John's in Lodi, until a few weeks before his death. His strong, melodic, true tenor made him a valuable asset.
Jack graduated from Los Angeles High School and attended UC Berkeley briefly before accepting an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. While at West Point, he sang with the Cadet Chapel Choir, designed his class ring, and was responsible for starting the cadet water polo team. His tales of cadet life were many and entertaining, and his devotion to the academy was deep and steadfast. He was delighted to see many of his classmates at their 50th reunion that he and his wife, Gwin, attended in 1996.
Graduating in 1946, Second Lt. Paden went to Fort Sill, OK, and Ft. Bliss, TX, for field artillery training,, and then served two tours in Europe, as Capt. Paden, with the Army of Occupation, from 1947-1950 and 1953 to 1955. He served as purchasing officer in Germany and then in Austria, and many were his stories about those times, some particularly poignant about the hardships of the citizens of both countries.
Returning to the States, Capt. Paden served as ROTC executive officer at Harvard University, resigning his commission in 1956. He joined International Business Machines by an unlooked-for happy circumstance (another story), and, after a year's training in Endicott. N.Y., was employed as a computer sales representative out of Houston and Dallas, TX.. He sold the first computer IBM ever made. His stories of this time included a fellow employee, H. Ross Perot, who, when he had his own company, gave Jack's children a basset hound puppy (story!). They named the puppy Mabel and she brought them up for years.
Jack established his own computer programming business in Dallas in 1960, in a building only a block or so from the street where Pres. John Kennedy was assassinated, and worked there until 1979, when he sold the business and moved back to California. While in Dallas, Jack was very active in Republican politics, and also served on the board of Parkland Hospital.
After a time in Dixon and then in southern California, Jack returned north to see to his sailboat, abandoned in Andreas Cove by a would-be purchaser. Cleaning up the boat, he scratched his leg and got blood poisoning. Taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital, after his doctor told him he would live, he asked for an Episcopal priest and thus joined St. John's church and choir in Lodi, and also met his second wife, Gwinnett (Gwin) Mitchell.
Jack was an enthusiastic sailor, piloting his boat in the Gulf of Mexico and later through the Delta and the Bay.
He took great interest in computer designing and consulting, reading, traveling, and attending classical music concerts, drama and art shows.
At St. John's, in addition to singing in the choir, Jack read as a lector, served for a time as both administrator and treasurer, a member of the Vestry, and a delegate to diocesan conventions. With his wife, he was instrumental in establishing The Performing Arts Guild (later renamed The Arts at St. John's). During the five years the Padens attended St. Luke's in Galt, Jack was a lector and choir member, treasurer, and diocesan delegate.
Jack held memberships in the Stockton Sailing Club, the Inland Waterways Association of Great Britain, Lodi Post 22 of the American Legion, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lodi, and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, where he served as an ambassador. He also sang for a time in the Stockton Chorale. For a time, he was commander of the San Joaquin Power Squadron, and then went on to become commander of the Sacramento Power Squadron. For his work in leading the revivifying of this squadron, he earned Commander of the Year honors.
Jack is survived by his wife of 21 years, Gwin Mitchell Paden; sons John K. Paden, III, of Dickinson, TX, and Russell Croll Paden of Cedar Creek, TX; and five grandchildren: Justin Paden of Pearland, TX; Michael Paden of Houston, TX; Michelle Paden of Dickinson, TX; and Tess and Russell Guyette of St. Claire Shores, MI.
He is also survived by four stepchildren and two step grandchildren, all of California.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Roberta Croll Paden; his daughter, Beth Guyette; and his son, Jerome Paden. He was also preceded in death by his younger brother Jerry, who, also a West Point graduate, was killed in the Korean War and is buried in the Old Cadet Cemetery at West Point. Jack's ashes will be interred in his brother's grave.
A memorial service will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 1066 S. Lower Sacramento Road, Lodi, CA.
Memorials may be given to St. John's Episcopal Church; the Salvation Army; St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Galt; The Kiwanis Club of Greater Lodi; or the American Legion, Lodi Post 22.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Sept. 19 to Sept. 26, 2013
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