John “Jack” Paul Rathjen, son of John C. Rathjen and Gertrude M. Frahm Rathjen Johnson was born May 13, 1926, and died Sept. 25, 2022, at the Good Shepherd Home, Blair.
Jack lived his entire life in Ft. Calhoun. He attended Ft. Calhoun Schools graduating with the class of 1944. In 1943, at age 17, Jack was disappointed when his request to join the air cadets was turned down due to a heart defect. Later in December of 1949 he was drafted into the US Army and served at Ft. Riley, Kansas and then at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. He was a parts clerk and was proud of his service in the Army.
In 1951, he received an honorable discharge and went home to farm with his grandfather and continued to farm until retiring at age 87.
After his discharge from the Army, he met Lois Maxine Woodring. They eloped and were married on Aug. 13, 1951. To this marriage two children were born: Lois and Bill. As a young man he was a manager for the Ft. Calhoun Town baseball team. Always an avid reader he was influenced by the adventures of pilot, Charles Lindberg. Jack obtained his private pilot’s license and flew light planes for many years. He was proud of his low membership number in the Experimental Aircraft Association and attended the Fly-In held in Oshkosh, Wis., for many years and in 1981 displayed his 1929 Curtiss Robin. Jack had a small airstrip on his farm and rented out hanger space to fellow pilots.
He loved driving and he and Maxine put many miles on their Buick traveling to sporting activities and later his grandchildren’s activities in Nebraska and Iowa. In recent years, he loved hearing play by play recounts of his great-grandchildren, Jack, Ty, Luke, Maddox, John and Kade’s sporting events.
Always busy in his shop, his projects included restoring antique airplanes and farm tractors, many repair projects and well into his 80’s he attempted to build a replica of a 1930’s era race car.
Preceding Jack in death are his wife Maxine, of 71 years, who preceded him death by only 25 days, Parents: John C. Rathjen and Gertrude M. Frahm Rathjen Johnson. Uncles: Ted Rathjen and Richard Frahm. Sisters-in-law: Mildred (John) Swingholm, Helen (Darrel) Kriens, Marlene (Maurice) White. Brothers-in-law: Arnold (Kaye) Woodring, Brice Jr. (June) Woodring. Nieces: Julie Joons, Jackie Stewart, Barbara Hopenzitz, Donna Gardener, Gayle Robertson, Jo Boothe. Nephews: Robert Richter, John Swingholm and Steve White.
Jack is survived by: Daughter, Lois (Norlan) Rasmussen, Audubon, Iowa, Son, Bill (Glenda) Rathjen, Ft. Calhoun. Granddaughters: Leslie (Chad) Gorman, Eau Claire, Wis., Stephanie (Jake) Anderson, Ankara, Turkey, Anna (John) Strohm, Bennington, and Grandson, James Rathjen, Ft. Calhoun. Great-grandchildren: Jack, Ty and Maddox Gorman, Luke and Abigail Anderson, John, Kade and Sophie Strohm. Nieces: Marcia Devor, Gloria Drummond, Mary (Ned) Miller. Nephews: Dave (Connie) Woodring, Don (Linda) Woodring, Duane (Shelly) Woodring and Jerry Uehling.
A private Graveside Service and burial will be held at the Ft. Calhoun Cemetery at a later date.
In Lieu of Traditional Remembrances, Memorials are suggested to: Fort Calhoun Fire and Rescue or Fort Calhoun Presbyterian Church.
Sievers-Sprick Funeral Home , Fort Calhoun. 402-468-5678 www.sieverssprickfuneralhome.com