Cover photo for John "Jack" Joseph Mears's Obituary
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John "Jack" Joseph Mears

d. January 29, 2023

John "Jack" Joseph Mears


Mr. John “Jack” Joseph Mears, 91, passed away peacefully January 29, 2023 at the home of his daughter, Kerry, in Cave City, Kentucky, surrounded by family.

The Liturgy of Christian Burial was held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 5, 2023, at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Interment followed at Riverside Cemetery, Sault Ste. Marie. Military rites were accorded by the United States Navy. Ackerman Funeral Directors & Cremation assisted the family.

Jack was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of four children. He grew up in the Motor City graduating from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1950 and completed his undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Miami in 1955. He answered his country’s call to serve in the United States Navy aboard the USS Hector. After his service, Jack returned to Michigan where he worked for Michigan Bell and met his loving wife, Barbara Hank. They married in 1963 and returned to the University of Miami where he earned his MBA, and they began to grow their pit crew. Jack worked for several motor carriers including Roadway Express (Assistant to VP of Maintenance), Mid-American Van Lines and Red Ball Motor Freight (VP of Maintenance), setting up and moving homesteads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and finally settling north Texas in 1977, where they stayed for 25 years. In 1980 Jack started his own consulting firm, Jack Mears & Associates. His firm provided training seminars, expert witness services, and became the preeminent industry expert in organized fleet transportation operations and maintenance. He spent months abroad in Ethiopia and Sudan working for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). During this time Jack also served as the Executive Director of the Equipment Maintenance Council. He also authored several articles that were published in leading trade magazines.

Jack’s passion for motor sports manifested as a young adult in the Motor City through go-cart racing and a memorable Porsche Club of America (PCA) trip to Stuttgart, Germany to buy the latest Porsche. He taught his pit crew of eight children, the basics of combustion engine maintenance such as engine rebuilds. Direct, exact, and firm as a parent, but a child at heart, eagerly sharing with his kids the joy of motorsports on snow, on lakes, on the track, and taking the family to many air shows to witness magnificent machines of the sky. In his 60s he took up go-cart racing again with his adult children, seeking and finding the exhilarating slipstream. Restoring his last Porsche 356B became his retirement project. He kept his Porsche ready in the garage and would occasionally give you a ride around the block, even if a seat or seat belt may be missing for repair. His handyman talents imparted skills for his children to be self-reliant and resourceful in most every home maintenance task with a wide variety of tools. He encouraged his children to participate in civic organizations in the community.

Jack was a natural orator with the gift of gab, achieving many awards and recognition with Toastmasters International, mentoring other professional speakers. He regularly practiced his speeches, jokes, and enquiries upon his obedient children. He shared his speaking talent for many years at St. Phillips Catholic Church. His dry, witty humor was his trademark, entertaining while occasionally stinging. But always, his stories were fascinating and delivered full of spirt and passion, the same way he lived life.

Jack and Barbara embraced the motorhome lifestyle, traveling across North America for over 30 years, visiting children, family, and friends along the way, often delivering the summer harvest of jellies, pickles, or frozen fish from northern Michigan. Jack loved to travel the open highway, logging over a million miles behind the wheel. He also enjoyed several international working-vacations with Barbara visiting countries across several continents. In 2002 they retired to Sebring, Florida to stay close to motor sports and enjoy the sunshine and warmth of winters. To his Tanglewood friends he became known as, “Mr. Perfect” for his positive attitude and cheerful demeanor. In the summer months Jack and Barbara would travel to their native home of Michigan to enjoy and spend time with their friends and families.

Jack is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Margaret Mears and his sisters Dorothy (Aldinger), Virginia (Wilson), and Nellie (Ongena). He is survived by his daughters, Suzanne, Kerry, and Martha (Greysen); and sons, Paul (Holly), John Andrew (Kelly), Edward (Deidre), Martin (Bobbi), and Patrick (Melissa); grandchildren, Shelby, Brenden, Kate, Jack, Sarah, Samantha, and Lily; great-grandchildren Scarlet and Grey; and most importantly, his wife of 59 years, Barbara.

The Mears family requests a memorial donation in lieu of flowers to your local hospice organization or to the Hospice Foundation of America. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John "Jack" Joseph Mears, please visit our flower store.


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