Jack D. Jordan of Silsbee, Texas, passed away on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at the age of 87. He was surrounded by family and he left this world as calmly and peacefully as any person would hope to.
Jack was a lifelong resident of Hardin County, Texas. He was born, alongside his identical twin brother, at the family home in Saratoga, Texas in January 1932, the youngest of six children (he was the last of them to survive). He was named after the most famous boxer of the day, Jack Dempsey, and his twin was named after another boxer and famous opponent of Dempsey, Gene Tunney. Despite having been named after boxing adversaries, however, the brothers remained close their whole lives and lived as neighbors in matching homes for 36 years. Several other siblings also lived in the same small neighborhood.
In 1932, Jack’s father was elected sheriff of Hardin County and the Jordan’s took up residence in family quarters at the county courthouse and jailhouse in Kountze. Jack and his siblings sometimes played in the empty jail cells, dangled their feet through the barred windows on the upper floors, and that their mother prepared meals for prisoners and county staff members.
In 1942 the family moved to Silsbee, Texas and Jack attended public school there until his graduation in 1949. He was a good student, had beautiful handwriting and was talented in drawing. In high school, despite being relatively small in stature, he excelled at sports (all-district baseball and basketball player) while also serving as cheerleader for the football team for four years (a rare combination it would seem). He was a self-taught gymnast of sorts and his cheerleading skills included handstands, cartwheels and back flips. Jack kept in touch with many of his schoolmates throughout his life and attended many class reunions.
Following graduation from high school, he and his brother joined the United States Navy during the time of the Korean War. His active duty was served primarily on aircraft carriers including the USS Wasp and the USS Tarawa. While in the Navy he sailed around the world and saw action in the Pacific. He was fond of saying that one of the main features of his military career was that he became a pretty good ping pong player and the competitive matches between him and his brother Gene are the stuff of family legend. He also did a little boxing in the Navy but he never listed that skill among his strong points.
After discharge from the Navy, Jack returned to Silsbee in 1954, worked at various jobs, enrolled at Lamar State College of Technology (as it was called then), and met the love of his life, Carol Sue Brown. They were married in July 1955 at the First Methodist Church in Newton, Texas, attended only by the best man and maid of honor, all good friends from high school. Jack and Carol would spend the next 64 years, 3 months and 15 days together as husband and wife.
Jack was employed by DuPont at the company’s Beaumont facility for 28 years. He worked shift-work hours for many of those years and rarely had a sick day. He happily retired from DuPont, just as he had long planned, at the age of 58.
Jack was well liked by many and deeply loyal to family and friends. He was an avid coin collector, golfer, and supporter of the Silsbee High School Tigers and the Texas Longhorns. He attended the Texas high school UIL boy’s basketball tournament in Austin for about 60 years along with his lifelong friend, Arthur Delaune. He had a terrific since of humor, was a great dancer, had a nice singing voice and could play steel guitar. A man of many joys and talents, he lived a long and fruitful life and he will be missed by many.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Miles Jordan and Lona Smith Jordan, and by his five siblings: Zelma Bertram, Iola Jennusa, Gladys Rogers, Doug Jordan and Gene Jordan. He is survived by his wife Carol and three children and their spouses: Dempsey and Catherine Jordan of Austin, Texas; Joanne and Alan Sanford of Silsbee; and Suellen Jordan and Frank Baffi of Austin. There are also five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: Shellie Garrett, Scott Sanford, Jeremy Jordan, Kendall Jordan, Nicolas Jordan, Dylan Sanford, Jillian Garrett, Allyssa Sanford and Reese Garrett, respectively by age. Other close family members include Jack’s brother-in-law James Brown and his wife Donna.
There will be a viewing and visitation at Farmer’s Funeral Home in Silsbee on Sunday, November 10, at 1:00 p.m. followed by a funeral service at Farmer’s at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow the service at the R. S. Farmer Memorial Cemetery in Silsbee.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church of Silsbee (www.silsbeeumc.com) or to the Hardin County Christian Care Center (P.O. Box 2050, Silsbee, Texas 77656).
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