On December 23, 2015, at the age of 92, John “Jack” Cawood passed away peacefully into the hands of the Lord. His roots were deep and his loyalties strong as a lifelong resident of Lansing/East Lansing. Born in 1923 to William and Helen (Peterson) Cawood, Jack graduated from Eastern High School. Enrolling at Michigan State College in 1941, he quickly found his way to the newly built Jenison Fieldhouse where he led the ’42-’43 Spartans in scoring. His college studies were interrupted for two years during WWII when he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps. He received his Naval Aviator wings just weeks before the war ended. While at Western Michigan as a naval cadet, he earned basketball All-American honors. After the war, Jack transferred back to MSC to play his final year of college basketball and attain his bachelor’s degree in Geography/Geology.
While attending MSC, he met the love of his life and married Mary “Lou” Louise Eipper in 1948. They were blessed with three children, Lizzy, John, and Bill. They shared 37 years together before Lou’s untimely death. Jack was fortunate to find love again, marrying Geneva “Gigi” Waye Barnett and had 24 fulfilling years together before her passing in 2011. He loved to socialize with family and friends, especially while cheering on his Spartans. He treasured his grandchildren and closely followed their activities. He was an avid handball player and enjoyed the comradery of his handball buddies. As a history buff, he loved traveling the world.
Jack was head of Cawood Realty Co. in East Lansing, which his father established in 1921. The fourth generation home building and real estate business is today known as Cawood Building Co. In business, Jack modeled for his sons the value of personalized service with honesty, integrity and quality; Jack was a man of strong character. Active in the community, he coached youth church basketball for many years and volunteered for the YMCA. He served on various boards including the YMCA, Lansing Chamber of Commerce, Community First Bank, Lansing Board of Realtors and The Peoples Church.
Jack was predeceased by his wife Mary Louise, wife Geneva Waye, daughter Mary Elizabeth, son John Franklin Jr. and his brother George William. He is survived by his son William (Julia) Cawood, daughter-in-law Rebecca (Scott Ratterree) Cawood-Ratterree, and stepson Charles “Chip” (Paige) Barnett. Also surviving are his cherished grandsons John III (Catherine), Anders, Tom, Bob, Sam, Charlie, Spencer and Luke and several nephews and a niece.
Special thanks to Mary Rita, Amy and Ruthie for providing wonderful in-home care/companionship the past several years, and the staff at Timber Ridge Assisted Living for their compassionate care.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, December 29, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. at The Peoples Church, 200 W. Grand River, East Lansing. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Peoples Church (517-332-5073) or Sparrow Foundation. The family will receive friends on Monday, December 28, from 1-4 p.m. at The Peoples Church. Arrangements by Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.