When we look back at who Jack Lueck was, we see a man who had his struggles to be sure, but what defines his legacy was his resiliency, his strength, and his drive to rise above his challenges. He was a man who wasn’t afraid to work hard and wasn’t afraid to ask for help when the road ahead seemed rocky. Jack loved his children and grandchildren deeply and was so very proud of all they accomplished. He was a happy go lucky sort of guy who could be a bit strong willed at times, but there was rarely a time that he didn’t make us smile, too. Jack will be remembered for his passion for the Milwaukee Brewers, and his abiding faith, but it is his tender heart that we will miss the most.
As countless servicemen were serving overseas during WWII, at home we dealt with rationing on common goods such as sugar, flour, eggs, gasoline, and paper. America continued to stand firm on the principles of the freedoms we still enjoy today while holding on to hope for the safe return of our young men and women. There was much to celebrate in one family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during this time since it was on February 18, 1944, that they were blessed with the birth of a baby boy. Jack Wayne was welcomed into the arms of his parents, Lester and Margariet (Stremlaw) Lueck, and was the sixth of seven children in his family including his older sister, June, his twin brothers, Lester and Daniel, followed by Joseph, Dale, and his younger brother, James. He was rasied on Woodward Street in the Bay View neighborhood.
Life was forever changed for Jack when he contracted polio at the age of two. Since it permanently affected the left side of his body, he and his family faced great challenges over the years that followed. Jack underwent numerous surgeries on his hand, wrist, leg, and foot throughout his childhood and even needed to be in a cast or braces at times. This didn’t stop Jack from taking the world by storm, however, since he still participated in things like Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Civil Air Patrol, just at a slower pace. He also enjoyed family camping trips.
When he was about five years old, Jack began attending F. J. Gaenslen School, a school for special needs children that helped him with his dexterity and integration into daily needs and activities. He enjoyed his days at the school and always spoke fondly of his experiences there later in life. Jack went on to Riverside High School until around the time of his 11th grade year.
Throughout his life Jack had a strong work ethic no matter what industry he was working in. His earliest days on the job found him at Goodwill Industries and at various fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Arby’s. Jack also worked for his brother, Lester, where he was responsible for grinding arrow points on a machine that Lester had specially made for Jack. His mother was later instrumental in getting him a job in the housekeeping department at St. Luke’s Hospital where he operated the floor cleaners and waxers.
In 1972 Jack married Sue Santi and together they were blessed with two children, Rebecca and Todd. They lived in the Bay View area and faced many challenges in their marriage. Although the marriage ended in divorce in 1978, Jack was forever grateful for the children he shared with Sue.
Alcohol proved to be a demon in Jack’s life for many years. His struggle kept him distanced from his children for many years and proved to be a thorn in the side for other family members as well. Jack rode the roller coaster of sobriety for several years before slipping backat times. He was affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous for the better part of 30 years, and had a very special friendship with a man named Fred B. Their friendship began when Jack accepted a ride to meetings from Fred and as the weeks and months went by, they enjoyed attending meetings together. Jack wasn’t afraid to share his story with others in hopes that it may be helpful for them to hear and for the past 11 years of his life, Jack was sober.
For many years, Jack searched for spiritual peace by reading his Bible, being part of the Salvation Army, and attending a Baptist Church. He also visited the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh on 15 separate occasions. Each trip was a special time, and Jack always proudly displayed the plaque they gave him for coming 10 times.
Although Jack lived in a number of assisted living facilities through the years, Abundant Life Manor was truly his home. He had wonderful relationships with his caregivers and fellow residents there through the years. Jack enjoyed visits with his family, too, especially when they got something to eat and then parked near the airport to watch the planes as he had done with his father when he was a boy.
Those who knew Jack were well aware of his deep love for the Milwaukee Brewers. In fact, he was more than just an avid fan since he truly felt part of the team. Jack attended games with his friends from Abundant Life Manor or with other friends or family members as well. No game was complete without cotton candy, and he loved to stop for custard at Kopp’s or Georgie Porgie’s after the game.
There were other health issues that plagued Jack, too, such as heart problems, intestinal problems, and additional physical challenges. He was hit by a bus resulting in broken bones and necessary surgery that he was never able to fully recover from. As his physical strength was diminishing, Jack heeded his sister Ione’s voice telling him that it was okay for him to go home to mom and dad. It was soon after that he drew his last breath.
All who met Jack Lueck would agree that he was quite a character. When he loved, he loved deeply and there was nothing he treasured more than spending time with his grandchildren. Life was not easy for Jack, but he always persevered and in doing so, fully embraced both the joys and the sorrows along his life’s pathway. He will be deeply missed while his memory is forever cherished.
Jack Wayne Lueck died on February 23, 2011. Jack’s family includes his children, Rebecca (Lawrence) Setum and Todd (Tracy) Lueck; grandchildren, Valerie, Brittany, Samuel and Victoria; siblings, June Nowack, Lester Lueck, the late Daniel Lueck, Dale Lueck, and James Lueck; special friends of Fred B. and Bill W.; as well as other relatives and friends. Jack was preceded in death by his brothers, Daniel Lueck and Joseph Lueck. Visit with Jack’s family and friends on Saturday, March 5 at the Funeral Home from 11:00 a.m. until time of the Funeral Service at 1:00 p.m. Inurnment Valhalla Memorial Gardens. Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Ave 414-744-5156. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.