ALAMOSA — Jack was many things, but above all he was unfailingly kind. A smile came easily and gently to his face, and his eyes twinkled when he smiled. Jack’s smile and laughter were charmingly infectious.
Jack was born on Nov. 16, 1947 in Tryon and died on Feb. 17, 2020.
He spent the first years of his life in Raleigh, N.C.
He was the oldest of four siblings: two sisters, Betty Kay and Kristine and a brother, Karlos.
At the age of 13, he moved to Glendale, where he completed high school. In 1968, Jack was drafted into the army. He subsequently served as a medic in Vietnam.
After returning from Vietnam, Jack trained seeing-eye dogs in California.
In 1973, Jack moved from Topanga Canyon,Calif., to Colorado Springs and then to Alamosa. He attended Adams State College where he trained to become a special education teacher.
After graduation from Adams State, Jack secured a job as a special education teacher in Alamosa. It was during this time as a teacher that he met the love of his life, Barb Bettinger.
They were married in 1983. She died in 2017, leaving him with a big hole in his heart and life.
In 1978, Jack, a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, began to work for Blue Peaks Developmental Services; an organization that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities in the San Luis Valley.
In time, he became the executive director of Blue Peaks and served in this role until he retired in 2014.
Jack and his wife, Barb, never had children, but there were children in the community to whom Jack served as a father figure. They would come to his home where he would entertain them and at times give advice.
In many instances, Jack also served as a father figure to some of his friends.
One of his dearest friends considered Jack to be the big brother that he never had.
Jack’s arms were wide open to everyone. He accepted everyone as is — regardless of who they were. He was ready to be a friend to all and was always available. Jack was “the definition of a best friend.”
Jack’s love and kindness touched and changed many people. Jack is remembered by those who knew him as kind, gentle, caring, compassionate, loving and ready to help others, especially those less advantaged.
Muhammed Ali said, “Serving others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Jack paid his rent many times over.
Jack’s memorial service will be held at Society Hall, 400 Ross Avenue in Alamosa, on March 29 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, Jack’s family asks that donations be made to Blue Peaks Developmental Services in Alamosa.