BEDFORD - John W. "Jack" Stearns was born and spent his formative years in San Diego, son of Frederic and Stella Wilhelm Stearns.
In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army
Air Cadet program and received his commission as a navigator in 1943. He was then assigned as a navigator of a B-17 bomber with the 8th Air Force, flying from England. His plane was shot down on his 26th bombing mission over Germany in August 1944 and he was a POW until liberated in April 1945.
After World War II, he matriculated at the University of Wisconsin, earning a B.A. and an LL.B. in 1950. Jack entered the banking trust profession in Albuquerque, was a member of the New Mexico Bar Association and received a Certificate in Security Analysis from the New York Institute of Finance. In 1955, he moved to Mansfield, Ohio, where he met and married Joan E. Snyder. In 1968, the family moved to Amherst, after Jack accepted a position as vice president and trust officer at Indian Head National Bank in Nashua. While in Amherst, Jack was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, he was a Little League coach and involved in the Cub Scouts.
The family moved to Bedford in 1978. After Jack retired in 1987, he actively audited the major disciplines at the Thomas More College in Merrimack, and received an honorary B.A. degree in 2003. For 16 years, he performed volunteer work at the college and for 10 years he was trustee and treasurer of the Pine Haven Boys Center at Allenstown.
Jack is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Joan; children, Michael of Concord, Susan Sweeney and her husband Joseph, of Phoenix, Ariz., David and his wife Kim, of Bedford, Anne Harbrige and her husband Jay, of Gilbert, Ariz.; and seven grandchildren.
Services: There are no calling hours. Cremated remains will be interred at the military cemetery at Boscawen at the convenience of the family.
Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting with arrangements. To send an online condolence, go to www.lambertfuneralhome.com.