Coach Gerald Jack, 74, longtime educator and coach of teams in Texas and Alabama, went home to be with his Lord on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009, in Paris.
Starrett Funeral Home is to conduct funeral services at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at Lamar Avenue Church of Christ in Paris with Patrick Cannon officiating. His lifelong best friend, Gene “Bebes” Stallings, is to serve as eulogist. Interment follows in Hickory Grove Cemetery near Petty.
The family receives friends from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, at the funeral home.
The son of Alleen and L.Z. Jack, he was born Aug. 10, 1935, in Paris. He graduated from Paris High School in 1953, served in the U.S. Navy, attended Paris Junior College on a baseball scholarship, and then graduated from the University of Alabama, where he was also a scholarship baseball player. Upon graduation, he immediately began pursuing his career as a teacher and coach in Mount Vernon. Along the way, he did stints at Haleyville, Alabama, Paris High School, Sherman High School and Crowley High School. He met his beloved, Peggy Arlene Roland, of Honey Grove, and they were married Feb. 22, 1957, sharing 52 years and raising four children together.
He was a student of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and had the honor of completing a successful coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Alabama, where he stood beside head coach Gene Stallings as they won 70 games in seven years and went on to win the National Championship in 1992 against Miami in the Sugar Bowl. On game days, one of the highlights was when he and Johnny Stallings would lead the convoy of team and Bama fans in the lead Alabama state trooper patrol car, where Johnny would sound the siren when it was time to roll. He and Stallings would retire together and move back to Paris in 1997.
He loved his family, friends, students, players, coaches, fellow educators and administrators and frequently would inquire of individuals, “How is your attitude?” He had a genuine interest and smile for those whom he would encounter on this path called life. With a photographic memory, he had a natural recall of people, faces and names, and could speak extemporaneously on topics and details of people’s lives that would surprise even those to whom he referred. He did this without notes. His perspective was nurtured by his loving parents and through his strong Christian upbringing at Lamar Avenue Church of Christ.
He served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation ordnanceman from 1954 to 1956, where he was stationed in the Philippines at Subic Bay Naval Base aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer immediately after the Korean war, when it was still unclear as to whether the U.S. would be drawn back into conflict against China.
He was an avid golfer, served on the board of the Paris Golf and Country Club, was a member of the local Red River Coin Club, and could often be found at the Coin Shop downtown, or the coffee shop, where he kept up on the events of daily life in Paris.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alleen and L.Z. Jack; his special cousin and buddy, Johnny Stallings; and cousin James Henry Jack; and by his favored four-legged companions, Misty and Ava.
He is survived by his wife, Peggy; four children, Gary and wife, Laura, of Fort Worth, Jeanne and Wally Kraft of Paris, James and wife, Kelly, of Sachse and Ray and wife, Samantha, of New Boston; his grandchildren, Chris Jack of Austin, Callie Jack of Lubbock, Eric Kraft of Dallas, Melanie Kraft Butts of Arlington, Trey and Jack Kraft of Paris, Marissa Jack Madding of Tulsa, Jessica Jack of Sachse, Joseph Bears of Boyd and Justin Beard of Fort Worth, Baylee and Taylor Jack of Pittsburgh, Penn., and Justin Johnson of New Boston; great-grandchildren, Blayn and Tatum Kraft of Dallas and Ashley, Sam and Ainsley Butts of Arlington; cousins Ruth Ann Jack Stallings and husband, Gene, of Paris, and Ollie Jack Jr. of Dallas; and numerous nieces, nephews and other cousins.
Named to serve as casketbearers are Larry Click, George Young, J.T. Davis, Jim Crisp, Ray Moran, Bob White, T.K. Haynes, Jimmy Heavner, Charles Endsley, Hootie Ingram and Woody McCorvey.
Honorary pallbearers are Bebes Stallings, Carroll LaRue, Philip Cecil, Dr. Bill Hayden, Jim Kirby, Roy Lee Castlebury, Doyle Whitaker, Phillip Nance, Johnny Crawford, Billy Key, Bob Holliday, Bill Pugh, Randy Ross, Mal Moore, Richard Drake and Benton Rainey.
His family wishes to extend their sincere appreciation and love to all the medical staff and friends at The Heart Hospital at Paris Regional Medical Center as well as North Texas Heart Center at Baylor Healthcare Systems of Dallas, where through the years his care has been in the most capable hands. God bless and keep you all. We will miss our husband, father, grandfather and friend until we all meet again in Heaven one day.
If desired, memorial contributions may be made to Lamar Avenue Church of Christ Youth Fund, 3535 Lamar Ave., Paris, TX 75460; the Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley, 4550 Loop 286 S.E., Paris, TX 75460; the R.I.S.E. Program at Stallings Center, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487; American Heart Association, Lamar County Division, P.O. Box 957, Paris, TX 75460; or the John Mark Stallings Scholarship Fund, 3535 Lamar Ave., Paris, TX 75460.
Friends may register in Coach Jack’s Book of Memories at www.starrettfunerals.com.