John “Jack” Anthony VerBockel, of Appleton, passed away peacefully on September 1, 2018 at the age of 86, after leaving a beautiful legacy and a remembrance of the joy for simple things, fervent faith, and a gentle spirit filled with love for people. He taught his family lessons that they carry to this day.
Jack was defined by his integrity, humility and unbelievable dedication. His life was filled with amazing milestones: a 61 year marriage to Joanne, the love of his life, 61 years as a member of the Fox Valleyaires Barbershop Chorus, a 61 year member of Sacred Heart Church & Men’s Choir, 61 years with the same golf partner, Jerry Herb (with the twosome winning another city golf league title just last fall!), and long time member of Kiwanis (Golden K) and the RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program), where he read and sang to elementary classes. His greatest achievement, though, was raising four successful and caring children, and beaming in pride for his 10 beautiful grandchildren!
After meeting Joanne on a blind date while in the Air Force in Omaha, Nebraska, the two were married in 1957. They then moved to Appleton where Jack worked for 37 years as an Engineering Technician with Wisconsin Electric. During retirement he traveled the world with Joanne, going on many cruises and trips.
Jack was born January 2, 1932 in Hollandtown, WI, at the family farm. Though a draftsman by trade, Jack’s passion was art and music. He completed a number of wonderful oil paintings over the years, and combined his talents when he sang in the many Fox Valleyaires concerts and led the designing, building, and painting of many props for the events! Everyone was well aware that Jack couldn’t say ‘no’ when his talents were needed, which was often.
Jack was proud of a number of additional special achievements and moments in his life: he never had debt and purchased his homes for cash (unheard of!), he had 2 holes in one, shot a big symmetrical 8 point buck at age 75 on his northwoods property, went on 6 cruises, and traveled to China & Hong Kong and to a Masters Golf Tournament with son John. In the 1960s, he and his best friends purchased land, built a ‘deer camp’ and formed the Pine River Riflemen, in Merrill, WI. He cherished hunting season with his son Doug in particular as well as with the Pine River group of Ron Nichols, Dave O’shasky, Bruce Armstrong, and Dick Ehlke, as well as their children and friends up north.
Family events were most special to Jack, and he truly enjoyed camping trips with the barbershoppers and their families in the 70s, where spontaneous group sing-alongs entertained the campground. He also loved Christmas and family reunions with his siblings and many relatives, where friendly card games often became a bit competitive.
Jack is survived by his wife Joanne, his children John (Kathleen) VerBockel, Doug (Betsy) VerBockel, Mary (Tom) Reader, and Donna (Matt) Venteicher, and his grandchildren Ave, Patrick, Teddy, Dan, David, Thomas, Jonathon, Michael, John and Megan. He is also survived by his siblings Agnes Karner Radamacher, Joan Beach, Mary Fassbender, Janet (Cliff) Vandeloo, Clarence (Judy) VerBockel, Lynn (Fran) Leurquin, sister-in-law Mary Ann VerBockel (special friend Jack), and many nieces & nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Peter & Catherine, and his siblings Alice Marx, Theresa Fink, Jerry and Gene, and in-laws Edward Marx, Leo Fink, Tom Beach, Norbert Karner, Cliff Radamacher, and Ken Fassbender.
Thank you dad for being an incredible role model. Your own words of “love one another and respect each other” say it all. And don’t worry about mom, we’ll take good care of her.
The VerBockel Family wants to thank the staff at St. Paul Elder Services, and especially the St. Paul’s Hospice Care Team of Julie, Melissa & Sarah for their compassionate care. Thank you, also, to Mike Weaver for the special military recognition he provided to Jack.
The funeral liturgy Mass will be at Sacred Heart Parish, Appleton, on September 8th at 11:00 a.m. Fr. Jon Thorsen will officiate. Visitation will be at 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Full military honors outside the church, and a luncheon at Sacred Heart will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Joanne VerBockel, which will be given primarily to St. Paul’s Hospice.