Jack Jent

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on October 05, 2021 with No Comments

May 31, 1942 – Sept. 26, 2021

Jack Jent May 31, 1942-September 26, 2021

Every time his photo was taken, Jack Jent would point his finger and look into the distance, as if showing something that needed to be seen. This was one of Jack’s charming traits that endeared him to so many people.

He told his favorite corny jokes with a sly wit and gentle smile. He didn’t hesitate to also point out essential life lessons: “Do something kind every day,” and “Don’t say you can’t, just say you won’t,” and “If you are going to be on the phone, stop driving.”

Jack was born May 31, 1942, in Gary, Indiana, moving to Portage as an infant with his family where he lived for more than seven decades. The 1961 Portage High School graduate loved playing football, making the varsity team as a freshman.

He never forgot his alma mater, returning to the school for countless Friday night football games. Jack had a fondness for Friday happenings, from fish fries to poker nights, when he enjoyed dealing (what else?) blackjack. His only house rule: no one was allowed to eat or drink from his plate or cup.

Jack was a lifelong Chicago Bears fan (season ticket holder) who would also cheer any team with Tom Brady on its roster. He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan who enjoyed watching old westerns and war movies with his family and friends.

The Vietnam War veteran and longtime member of American Legion Post 260 loved to travel the world, from Asia to Europe to Central America, and many points in between, taking many cruises and countless family road trips. He also loved to fly airplanes, taking private pilot lessons to ascend from the boundaries of earth.

On land, he fished for peace of mind at Michigan City Pier, as well as several memorable trips with buddies and loved ones to Lake Erie and Canada. Since 1967, Jack, a proud member of Iron Workers Local 395, was a staunch Democrat who served as Portage Township Trustee from 2007 to 2011.

He served his community in other ways, such as playing Santa for charity events, veterans’ organizations, and at his own home, transforming his shed into the North Pole for visiting families. He joyfully grew out his beard for the seasonal role, never tiring of bellowing “Ho, Ho, Ho” to tiny tots.

In 2019, Jack and his wife of 55 years, Julia M. Jent, retired to Long Beach, Mississippi. In late September, 2021, he had one final military-related mission to complete – a long-coveted reunion with veterans for the Vietnam Dustoff Association in Dover, Delaware. As long as he was breathing, he was going, Jack repeatedly told Julia.

On Sept. 26, 2021, as the couple flew home from the reunion, Jack became unresponsive at 30,000 feet. If a photo had been taken beforehand, he may have been pointing to heaven.

Jackie Dean Jent was 79. He leaves behind four children, Jacqueline Sharp, Josephine Jent, Jackie Jent II, and Julia D. Jent, 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, all boys.

Services, officiated by Pastor Scott Jones, will be held Oct. 15 at the Olson Chapel of Rees Funeral Home, 5341 Central Ave. in Portage. Visitation will be 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by a funeral service and procession to Calvary Cemetery with an American Legion sendoff and 21-gun salute. Fittingly for Jack, it will take place on a Friday. More than anything, he loved his wife, his family, and spending time with his grandchildren.

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