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I was born early New Year’s Day in 1934 in Medford, Oregon, the sixth of seven children born to Walter and Lois Allen. My two older brothers, Jim and BJ were about ten years older than me. Jim having been born in 1922 and BJ in 1924. My brother Don (1930) and my sister Kaytie (1932) were close and my younger brother, Dean (1935) and I were close. So, we had three “teams” of siblings. We lived in a farmhouse about a mile south of Phoenix, OR that my grandfather, James Allen had sold to my father in 1924. We lived there until 1942/1943 when we moved to Medford, OR. My father had the only automotive shop in Phoenix, OR for many years (directly across Hwy. 99 from Barkley’s Tavern}. Although my father’s name was Walter, he was nicknamed “Jack” in about 1920 by his teammates on the Phoenix town baseball team because they said “he ran like a jackrabbit”. The name stuck with him for the next fifty years. I was named for his nickname.
I went to school for two years in Phoenix then the next ten in Medford. I graduated in 1952 and joined the U.S. Navy in March 1953. I married Carol Weidman of Eagle Point, OR in that same city in June 1953. I was stationed in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Hawaii as an Air Traffic Controller. Our daughter, Kim was born in Texas and our daughter Jill in Hawaii. After serving four years in the Navy, I enrolled in Southern Oregon College of Education in 1957 on the G.I. Bill. I graduated in 1961 with a B.S. in General Studies. Daughter, Gaye was born in Medford, OR in my sophomore year (1959).
After college, my career in the aerospace field began with employment at The Boeing Co. In Seattle, WA from 1961 to 1964. We lived in Auburn, WA where we got better acquainted with my uncles, aunts and cousins on my mother’s side of the family (Rice). Daughter, Betsy was born in Puyallup, WA in 1963. I received an offer from North American Aviation in 1964 to move to Downey, CA and join the Apollo team working with/for the Astronauts. We moved to Downey and stayed until 1972. Daughter, Jody was born there in 1970.
After we got the man on the moon and back to earth safely, I left the aerospace industry and moved back to Medford, OR. The big earthquake of 1971 in Southern California facilitated most of the decision. I lived in Medford until 1977. Because of some stupid decisions on my part, Carol and I divorced in 1977. For the next fourteen years I moved back and forth to Southern California, in and out of the aerospace field, working on the B1B bomber program and the Endeavor Space Shuttle. I started and sold two businesses, sold cars, copiers and advertising.
In 1991 I met Shara (Hess) Valentino in Medford, OR and we were blessed with nineteen years until she passed away 3/27/2020. I had “retired” four times until I joined my son-in-law, Ed Habre’s retail footwear business as Director of Marketing in 1999. During my retired times, Shara and I traveled to Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece and the Caribbean. After I finally retired again in 2007 from marketing footwear, we moved to Mesa, AZ. With the passing of Shara, I am contemplating a move back to Medford, OR sometime in 2021. In the meantime, I am enjoying tracing my “roots”.
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Jack is 21 degrees from Ferenc Liszt, 36 degrees from Frédéric Chopin, 32 degrees from Johannes Brahms, 39 degrees from Clara Schumann, 36 degrees from Fanny Hensel, 43 degrees from Jean Sibelius, 29 degrees from Edvard Grieg, 20 degrees from Richard Wagner, 28 degrees from Antonín Dvořák and 18 degrees from Kathie Forbes on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.