Memorial Party for Jack Wiley
Saturday, October 13, 2018
3:00 PM EDT
415 West XY Ave
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Jack Wiley, it is easy to see that he was so full of life. He took every moment captive and lived it fully, often with his family and friends by his side. Jack treasured his roles as a husband and father, but there was no greater joy in his life than becoming a grandfather later in life. A lifelong resident of the community he loved, he was so generous and giving in numerous ways throughout his life. Although he will be deeply missed, Jack leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1950s were an exciting time in American history. Marilyn Monroe and James Dean became big names on the silver screen while Elvis Presley introduced the world to rock ’n roll. By the end of the decade we had become a nation of 50 states as we welcomed both Alaska and Hawaii into our great land. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of Artemus “Art” and Bettie Wiley as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Jack L. on February 5, 1952, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Raised in the family home in Vicksburg, he was one of three children as he was raised alongside his siblings, Jean and Steve. Jack’s father was a farmer and also did metal recycling while his mother was in manufacturing.
From the time he was a young boy Jack was a bustle of activity. In addition to helping out on the family farm, he attended local schools. Jack also showed cattle in the local 4-H, rode horses, and water skied. The Wiley siblings were fairly typical, and Jack and Steve were two brothers who knew how to find their share of mischief. It has been said that Jack was a great teacher who taught Steve all kinds of lessons including to say, “I didn’t do it.” Jack also taught Steve that carbon dioxide fire extinguishers give people frostbite in addition to how to ride bulls by pushing Steve out of the haymow onto cattle while they were feeding, how to hold on tight when riding the tractor at full speed down the lane, and also how to work on bikes and cars, build hay forts, climb trees, and so much more. Steve always looked up to Jack as he exemplified what it means to work and play hard and that no matter what, family comes first. As a student at Vicksburg High School, he was a state champion wrestler in 1969 and 1970. He went on to graduate in 1970. Later Jack was even inducted into the Vicksburg High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Nothing was of greater significance during Jack’s younger years was his blossoming romance with the woman who would become the love of his life. Her name was Julie, and they began dating while in the 7th grade. They went on to become high school sweethearts and fell deeply in love. With a desire to build a life together Jack and Julie were married in 1971. Together they welcomed two children, Jack Jr. and Kris, into their hearts and home. Jack loved living on Howard Lake in Vicksburg as lake life suit him well. He loved boating, skiing, and going out for pontoon boat rides. Later on, Jack was thrilled to become a grandfather, and it was clear that his grandchildren, Michael, John, Dustin, Ally, and Torie were the light of his life.
Throughout his life Jack was known for his strong work ethic. He started in excavating right out of high school when his first project was excavating the last nine holes at Olde Mill Golf Course in Schoolcraft, MI. In 1983, Jack started his own business. His last project before retiring after 21 years was Angel’s Crossings Golf Course in Vicksburg, MI. Jack also used his excavating background to work maintaining the grounds at the Vicksburg Cemetery and Schoolcraft Cemetery for Schoolcraft Township. Over the years many families were comforted by seeing him at services for family members and knowing he was taking care of burying their loved one. Also within his community Jack was involved in the St. Joseph County Fair for 31 years, and he also volunteered for the Vicksburg Ambulance service in the early to mid eighties.
Jack was never one to be still, and he enjoyed so many things. He was a huge NASCAR fan who made several trips to races at tracks like Daytona, Talladega, Michigan, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Martinsville. Jack was a fan of both Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. He enjoyed trips to the Grand Canyon, and they also spent winters in Florida. Jack played men’s slow pitch softball for many years, and he also played euchre with family and friends during hunting season. He enjoyed Detroit professional sports like Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings, and he enjoyed University of Michigan Wolverines. Jack also loved supporting his son, Jack Jr., in his archery. A lover of the outdoors, he liked deer hunting as well as canoe trips. He was a 4-H leader and loved horses. Jack took great pride in watching his daughter and granddaughters with their horse barrel racing competitions. He passed away at the conclusion of helping his granddaughters at the St. Joseph County Fair this year, and he will be remembered for always talking about how proud he was of how well his granddaughters did at the fair this year. When relaxing at home, Jack liked westerns as well as crime thrillers like NCIS, Law & Order, and CSI.
All who knew Jack Wiley would agree that he brought the world around him to life. He was known for his large, bellowing laugh, and his zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Although he loved the outdoors, volunteering within his community, and cheering on his favorite team, nothing was better in Jack’s book than being surrounded by the love of his family. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Jack L. Wiley, of Vicksburg passed away on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the age of 66. He is survived by his wife, Julie; two children: Jack Jr. (Joanne) Wiley, of Vicksburg and Kris (Jamie) Barga, of Vicksburg; grandchildren: Michael, John, Dustin, Ally & Torie. Jack’s also survived by his siblings: Jean Stinson, of Decatur; Steve (Penny) Wiley, of Marcellus and several nephews. A Memorial Party for Jack will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at 3 p.m. at 415 West XY Ave, Vicksburg, MI. Please visit Jack’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can read his life story, sign the guestbook, and share a memory. The family is being assisted by the McCowen & Secord Life Story Family Funeral Home, Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697).