EDWARDS - Jack Henry Garrett, 72, of Edwards, Ill., passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at his home.
He was later taken to the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Emergency Department in Peoria, where his family surrounded him in love.
Jack was born April 29, 1941, in Peoria to Henry Garrett and Dorothy (Brown).
He was preceded in death by both of his parents and older brother, Harold "Sonny" Garrett.
He is survived by his younger sister, Kendra (Garrett) Fowler of Peoria. He is also survived by his half brother, Bill McCoy.
He met Linda McCartney, the love of his life, at Steak 'n Shake on Main Street in Peoria. They married Nov. 20,1966, and recently celebrated their 47-year anniversary. Together they raised three children, Angela (Vincent) Staub of Edwards, Joel Garrett of Hanna City and Matthew Garrett of Peoria. He was actively involved in the lives of his grandchildren, Brittany (Joseph) Welch of Peoria, Joshua Staub of Edwards and Lucas Staub of Washington, D.C. He taught them all many valuable life lessons. Together they learned about science, how to operate a tractor, build a campfire, planted trees and made projects in his workshop, among many other things. His impeccable leadership, knowledge and integrity will forever impact our lives. He was the foundation of our family and the most influential man in each of our lives and his absence will leave a void in each of us. There was nothing more important to him than his family. At a young age, he chose to live and care for his father, Henry Garrett, who was paralyzed in a coal mining accident. His father was the single, most influential person in his life and taught him the value of hard work. After his accident, his father owned and operated the El Vista Bicycle Shop in Peoria. He also leaves behind his beloved and faithful dog, Izzy, who climbed into his bed and slept on his pillow Friday night when she couldn't find him.
Jack attended Central High School, where he varsity lettered in football for two years, and then attended Richwoods High School, where he varsity lettered in football for two years, and was as a member of the first graduating class in 1959. He later graduated from Monmouth College with a Bachelor of Science in 1964, where he played center/nose tackle on the football team for four years. He was named MVP in 1962. He also attended Bradley University for graduate school.
After college, Jack started his career teaching science, automotive mechanics and home building and coaching wrestling at Metamora High School for 11 years. He was instrumental in starting the automotive mechanics program there. He later spent 31 years with the Peoria Fire Department, retiring in early 2007 as a battalion chief. Fellow firefighters, Dave Whitten, Otis Leach and Curt Simpson were among his closest friends. Jack also owned and operated Garrett Brothers Construction, building many new homes throughout the Peoria area. Over the years, he built several beautiful homes for his family as well as the current home of his daughter. Because of this, his grandchildren had the blessing of growing up next door to their grandparents.
Jack was an excellent provider, father, leader, listener and our family's greatest hero. Our world is a better place and will be forever changed because of him. He touched the lives of everyone he met. Those who knew our father considered him to be loyal, dependable, hard-working, knowledgeable, patient and faithful. Our family members were very fortunate to have great parents. He will be dearly missed by our family, as well as all who came to know our dad throughout his life.
He and his wife, Linda, are followers of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Bible and attended Northwoods Community Church in Peoria.
Please join us in celebrating Jack's life. Visitation will be Wednesday evening, Feb. 12, from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Wilton Mortuary in Peoria, as well as one hour prior to services on Thursday morning at the mortuary. Funeral services will be on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, at 11 a.m., with Pastor Daniel Hoehne officiating, at the mortuary. Burial will be at Swan Lake Memory Gardens.
Memorial donations may be made to the Monmouth College Annual Fund, 700 E. Broadway, Monmouth, IL 61462.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.