Jack Orbin Loftin, 86, of Archer City passed away Sunday evening, Feb. 22, 2015, at an Archer City nursing center. Service: 10 a.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church, Alec Haigood, interim pastor, officiating. Interment will follow in Archer City Cemetery under the direction of Aulds Funeral Home. Visitation: The family will receive friends 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Aulds Funeral Home. Memorials: The family suggests memorials to Hospice of Wichita Falls, 4909 Johnson Road, Wichita Falls, Texas 76310. Jack was born Feb. 3, 1929, one-half mile from the Archer County line, in Young County, to Frank Orbin Loftin and Ruby Ray Newman Loftin. He was reared on his father's ranch in southeast Archer County. He graduated from Archer City High School in 1946 and received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Technological University in Lubbock in 1949. During the Korean War, he served as a ballistics engineer designing and testing U.S. Air Force and Army munitions. On April 21, 1951, he married Archer County native, Marie Pryor in Archer City. Jack joined the Archer County Historical Commission in 1966 and had served as its chairman. This organization is one of the most active in Texas. During this time, he discovered, exposed, marked and preserved hundreds of historical sites and worked on the book "Trails Through Archer" some 13 years. He was a member of the West Texas Historical Commission and was president in 1977. He put together the artifacts in the Archer County Museum in 1974. Jack has cross-trailed over Archer literally hundreds of times to collect, authenticate, edit and finally to write the first general history of Archer County. He followed the Indians, the Spanish and French as well as the historic Marcy expedition and pioneer ranchers and then farmers who paved the way for Twentieth Century Archer County. He also set his historic sights on the communities, the school and the churches of Archer and then reined off into side paths over the rolling prairies of the north central Texas grasslands county to tell of ghost towns, oil fields, forgotten cemeteries and murders. He followed animal paths, trails, farm roads and highway through Archer and into adjoining counties. He also mapped locations of early day schools, and statistical information as the 1880 census for Archer County, along with lists of county officials, school teachers, physicians, postmasters, war veterans and others. Jack authenticated placements of hundreds of historical markers for the state of Texas. He censused and put into book form six county cemeteries. Jack was an avid fossil hunter who learned under the tutelage of renowned paleontologist Dr. Alfred P. Romer from Harvard. He guided many students of the University of Bonn in Germany and students of Canada on extensive fossil hunts. He spoke at several schools and groups on his findings. Jack was a member of the First Baptist Church where he served as a deacon since January 1958. He was preceded in death by his son, Stuart Loftin, on Aug. 10, 1968. Survivors: His wife of 63 years, Marie; daughters, Leah Wilton and husband, Bonsall, and Ellen Heckle and husband, Mark; son, Craig Loftin and friend, Marie Vanderpool; grandsons, Ryan Luig and wife, Laci, Garrett Luig and wife, Rae, and Jacob Loftin and wife, Stacy; and four great-grandchildren, Stuart, Layne, Claire and Paige Luig.
Published in Star-Telegram on Feb. 25, 2015.