John Anthony “Jack” VerBockel
APPLETON, Wis. — John Anthony “Jack” VerBockel, 86, Appleton, Wis.,died peacefully Sept. 1, 2018, 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.
Visitation will be at 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass.
The funeral liturgy Mass will be at Sacred Heart Parish, Appleton, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. Fr. Jon Thorsen will officiate.
Full military honors outside the church, and a luncheon at Sacred Heart will follow.
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 and 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 Retired and 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, 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 Jan. 2, 1932, in Hollandtown, Wis., 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; he had two holes in one; shot a big symmetrical 8-point buck at age 75 on his northwoods property; went on six cruises; and traveled to China and 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, Wis. 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; 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 and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and 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.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Joanne VerBockel, which will be given primarily to St. Paul’s Hospice.