Jack W. Rickabaugh, 86, of Minnetonka, Minn., died Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, at his residence, after several years of struggling with his health.
Jack Wilson Rickabaugh was born Sept. 20, 1918, in Le Mars, the son of Claude and Hazel Rickabaugh. He lived out his childhood and teen years in Le Mars, graduating from Central High School in 1936.
Jack's lifelong love of traveling became evident after graduation as he and Johnny Shearon traveled the country in a Model T Ford for an extended period. After selling the Model T to get the money to return home, he started his career in the dry cleaning business. He also began dating Esther Hardacre, the woman to whom he would be married for 60 years.
As with so many in that time, plans to settle down were delayed by World War II. In 1939, Jack was drafted and served in the Army Infantry in North Africa and Italy. He returned home in the middle of 1944 with an honorable discharge and was married to Esther in November.
Jack and Esther spent a year in Seattle, Wash., working for Boeing before settling down back in Le Mars with their first son Randy and their dog Skeeter, the first of many dogs that were important to the family. It was there that the family grew to include Cheryl, Mark, Keith, Dan, Beth and Sue. Jack returned to his work at the Valet Cleaners and was also involved with Rick's Grocery, The Biggest Littlest Store in Le Mars, which was run by Esther.
There's much about Jack that will be remembered from these years including the love of tinkering with things like train sets and his Isetta BMW and how seriously he took the family swing set and snow piles, apparently the largest ones for miles. Jack was also remembered for musical gifts participating in the Klippers, a barbershop quartet.
In 1969, Jack and the family moved to Minnetonka, Minn., where he took a position with the Hour Glass Cleaners in Excelsior, Minn.
The family remembers the annual family summer trips, boating and water skiing on Lake Minnetonka and Jack's passion for supporting the Twins and Vikings.
In 1981, Jack accepted a new position in Shakopee, Minn., and Ron's Cleaners. He purchased a Kawasaki 400 and drove it back and forth to work every day.
During his retirement he continued to travel, specifically enjoying trips to Colorado, vacations with his brother Dale in Arizona, and his last trip to the Caribbean to celebrate Jack and Esther's 50th anniversary with his family.
Among other things he will be remembered as a supportive husband, father and grandfather.
Survivors include his wife Esther; his children: Randy (Leslie) Rickabaugh of Florida, Cheryl (Donnie) Chavez of Colorado, Mark (Carol) Rickabaugh of Minnesota, Keith Rickabaugh of Minnesota, Dan (Laura) Rickabaugh of Minnesota, Beth (Steve) Hagen of Minnesota, and Sue Rickabaugh of Minnesota; grandchildren, Matthew, Emily, Erin, Aaron, Stevi, Joe, Kellie; great-grandaughter, Delaney; brothers, Dale (MaryLou) Rickabaugh of Arizona, George (Bertie) Rickabaugh of California, sister Patty (Wendell) Schipper of South Carolina, and nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. today (Monday) at the Mauer-Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars. Pastor Jason Larson will officiate. Burial followed at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Le Mars, with Wasmer Post #241 of the American Legion in Le Mars providing military graveside honors. Visitation began at 10 a.m. on Monday at the funeral home.