First Impressions, Church Lessons, and Responsibility

Curator’s Note: This is a note shared by Jared Brueckner, a friend from church in Texas who met Jack and family when they first moved there in 2008.

I was unable to attend (Jack’s headstone ceremony), but still want to share a few short memories of Jack for the future.

Ashlee and I moved to Texas from Boston. In the frenzy of meeting everyone it was common to forget names and not remember whom you had met, whom you hadn’t met. That was very different with Jack. His imposing size and kind nature were immediately recognizable. Me being a jokester and liking to have fun and tease – I immediately recognized a similar soul in Jack. It didn’t take but a few minutes to begin joking with Jack and having fun with him. His huge smile and propensity to have a good time made him someone that I always gravitated to. Soon after moving into the ward there was the ward Talent Show. I was the MC and I had spent time arranging my jokes and introductions. As the night moved on Jack was more than willing to be involved in the jokes and he was always willing to laugh when he was in the joke. His fun loving personality was second to none. He loved to joke, have fun, and be around others who liked the same things.

The week that I was called to the Teacher’s Quorum Jack was teaching a combined lesson. Jack and I were still getting to know each other so I didn’t know what to expect. He delivered a masterful lesson using street signs and the scriptures. Thought I could tell he was in immense pain throughout the lesson he never once broke stride. He would occasionally wince in pain, but never stop teaching. The young men are not easy to teach, often times it is like herding cats. He had a unique ability to hold everyone’s attention and make them understand the lesson. That day I learned to look up to him as a teacher. He gave me a standard to look up to and something to strive for.

Jack taught me the Concealed Carry class, and certified me to get my permit. We were becoming acquainted and had begun to talk about doing several things, from shooting at the range to days at the park with the kids. He pulled me aside one day and asked if I would like to take part in his course. That day I learned something more than just rules and regulations, I learned about Jack’s deep feelings of responsibility for protection of others. Everything he taught us was guided by a desire to protect his loved ones, and protect those who cannot protect themselves. He truly cared for others and it came through in everything that he did.

Jack was many things to many people. To me, I will always remember him as someone I would have liked to know more and spent more time with. That to me tells you everything you would want to know of him.