Jack attended Moab schools, being active in football and basketball in high school. His love for football continued throughout his life. He was a very talented ice skater, dancer, and singer. He also enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing. Jack left high school early to enlist in the U. S. Navy, and served for a year in the Phillipines at the end of WWII. Near the time he enlisted, his brother Dick was killed in action, also in the Phillipines. Following Jack’s service in the Navy he returned to Moab to finish his senior year of high school and graduated in the class of 1947.
He was quite the handsome ladies man and there were a lot of heartbroken and disappointed young women when Shirley Mae Chapman snagged him for her own.
Jack and Shirley met in August 1949, when her family came to Moab. They were married on June 16, 1951, and later sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple that same date in 1959. They made their home in Moab and built a house together. They had eight children (and fostered a few along the way). In the 62 years they were married the family grew to include spouses, 27 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren with two on the way, and eight great-great-grandchildren.
Jack was a very hard worker to provide for his large family. He truly was a “Jack”-of-all-trades. His first job as a teenager was building fences on the La Sals for the Forest Service. He worked on a drill rig, in a uranium mine, at Robertson Brothers service station, Texas Gulf, and for others before he decided to go into business for himself. Jack partnered with Sug Bailey and had a carpet and upholstery business for many years. After retiring from his carpet business, Jack was a custodian for the LDS church for several years. It was from that job that he permanently retired, but he stayed busy with projects at home including building tool sheds and working in the garden and orchard.
Jack also never retired from his life of service. He was always involved in the community, with friends, family, and church. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in many callings. Among those, he was first a dance specialist, then served as Elder’s Quorum President, in the Young Men’s organization, Sunday school and Stake Mission Presidencies, and as a counselor to three different bishops over more than 20 years. A highlight of his church service was serving as a worker in the Monticello temple with his wife, Shirley, and he was always found singing in the ward choir, which he really loved. He also utilized his beautiful tenor voice singing at hundreds of local funerals through the years.
After such a full and active life, health problems took their toll. It was hard for Jack to slow down and not be able to do the things he loved, like dancing and working in the yard. His family remembers him for his quick wit and dry sense of humor, his integrity and work ethic, his example of sacrifice, service, faith and dedication to God and his family, but most of all for his unconditional love.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and a daughter, Catherine Marie. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter, Wendy Mae (Ivor) Bradshaw of La Sal, Utah; son, Jack Brett (Marilee) of Las Vegas, Nev.; son, Randy Lea (Janet) of Providence, Utah, daughter, Merrie Elizabeth (David) Knutson of Moab; daughter, Loretta Ann (Kirk) Thiery of Monticello, Utah; son, Paul Meldon (Wendy) of Denver, Colo.; daughter Christine Allana of Durango, Colo.; his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Services for Jack were held on Saturday, Sept.7, at the 400 North LDS Chapel, with burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens, near his daughter Cathy and other family members. Military rites were provided by American Legion Post 54.
The Stewart family is so grateful for the wonderful outpouring of love and support given them.