He was born September 13, 1927 to John L. Casey, Sr. and Lillian M. (Ruhf) Casey in Ferndale, Michigan. He grew up in Lansing and graduated from Sexton High. He joined the Navy in 1946, and served on a number of ships, including the USS Albany, USS Portsmouth, and USS Randolph. He traveled to Italy where his homeport was Naples. He was honorably discharged after two years and awarded the Victory Medal.
Jack participated in a variety of military organizations, including American Legion, Cooties, and V.F.W. Jack was an active member of the V.F.W. and served in many ways through the years, including Post Commander, and on the Color Guard. Most notably he was proud to be a Life Member at the Morley S. Oates Post 701 V.F.W. in Lansing. Though humble about his own military service, Jack had much respect for others who serve our country. He enjoyed the camaraderie of friends at the club, playing cards, drinking a cold beer and famously trying his luck at “pull tabs.” He was known for his friendly, easy-going demeanor and will be missed by many friends.
Jack worked as a salesman in his early years for Leon’s Food Service and Domestic Linen, among others. He also enjoyed working as a Bellhop at the Olds Hotel in downtown Lansing after the Navy and spoke of meeting celebrities and politicians who visited the hotel. His primary occupation was material handling and truck driving for General Motors in Lansing. He retired in 1993 after 28 years of service.
One of his responsibilities while working at the Olds Hotel was walking the owners dog “Fielder.” He would stop in at the neighboring Kraft Drug Store, where a pretty girl behind the counter would feed Fielder hotdogs under the table. Jack married his first wife, Lois (Kirkconnell), in 1952, and together they raised five devoted children. Though their marriage ended in divorce after 25 years, Jack and Lois maintained an amicable relationship.
Jack married his second wife, Helen (Schneckenberger), in 1984. They enjoyed retirement years together spending winter months in Gulf Shores, Alabama where they made numerous friends. Jack especially enjoyed the men’s “coffee” club at the American Legion. Jack and Helen shared a passion for motorcycle trips and belonged to the Gold Wings Road Riders Club. They participated in bowling leagues, golfed, and took gambling bus excursions to the casinos in northern Michigan together. Their travels included Las Vegas, California, Bahamas, bike trips south. Jack was an avid sports fan, especially loved the Detroit Tigers and MSU sports.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, his wives, son-in-law James Cole, and many dear friends. He is mourned by his five children, Jack Michael “Mike” (Sharon) Casey of Potterville, Marcia Casey-Cole of Potterville, Kathleen (Greg) Dobie of Eagle, Timothy (Anna) Casey of Fowler, CA, and Patricia Casey of Lansing. Also, two stepchildren, Robert “Glen” (Peggy) Schmunsler of Lansing, and Bobbi Jo Heisler of Charlotte. Ten grandchildren, Shayne (Niki) Ertman, Misty Ertman, Coty (Jake) Robertson, Tim (Cassie) Casey, Jr., Arthur Marez, Alex Marez and Joseph Marez, Scott (Olivia) Cole, Justin Cole, and Blane Heisler. Fourteen great-grandchildren, Madisson, Shayne, Gage, Logan, Jaden, Dylan, Jaden, Isiah, Alex, Andrew, Lillian, Lola, Brandt, and Colton “Colt” Casey. As well as a countless friends.
Dad you are already terribly missed. It was a pleasure and joy to have you as our father. We find comfort in knowing that you are at rest and reunited with many loved ones. We look forward to the day we will see you again and kiss your handsome face.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at Noon at the Estes-Leadley Greater Chapel in downtown Lansing, with Pastor Lyne Stull-Lipps officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Wednesday, February 5 from 1-3 and 6-8 p.m.
Those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Jack may do so to the Great Lakes Caring Hospice or to the Morley S. Oates Post 701 V.F.W. in Lansing.