In Memoriam: Jack Jordan Ammann, Jr.

Jack Jordan Ammann, Jr. entered the undiluted Presence of the Lord on September 23, 2012.

He was born January 3, 1933, to Jack Jordan Ammann and Louise Mangham Ammann (Carson). He loved to tell people he was born at the insane asylum. His grandparents worked at the San Antonio State Hospital, known as the insane asylum in the days before political correctness. His mother went into labor while visiting her parents, and the hospital doctor delivered Jack in the state hospital.

As a young boy during World War II, Jackie (as he was known) pulled his little red wagon through the neighborhood collecting scrap metal and delivering it to the fire station, setting the tone for a lifetime of passionate patriotism. Jack graduated from Texas Military Institute and entered A&M College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). After four years of college, he was classified as 1A by the draft board. Even though he was taking a five-year course, the draft board only exempted men from the draft for four years of college. He joined the Army as a volunteer rather than wait to be drafted so he could choose his field of work – stereoscopic map compiling. After completing training, he was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco for a year, where he served as a lay reader at the Episcopal Cathedral. While stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, he spent two months touring Europe. He returned to Texas A&M after discharge from the Army and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

Upon graduation, he was hired by Frigidaire Division of General Motors in Dayton, Ohio. He was very proud of the fact the he was the highest-paid engineer in his graduating class with a salary that was $1.67 more than the second highest-paid graduate. At Frigidaire, the section he led held the highest efficiency rating within General Motors.

After three years, he decided “you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy.” He left the cold and snow of Ohio to return to San Antonio as an industrial engineer at Kelly Air Force Base. He was part of a small group of engineers from around the country who created a storage manual for the entire Air Force. Later, he was the project engineer for the overhaul of the C-5 engine. He received numerous letters of commendation and certificates of achievement throughout his Civil Service career. As the representative of management in labor disputes, he never lost a case. During this time, Jack became a ham radio operator and loved talking to hams around the world, especially when he had the opportunity to relay messages during crises when no other form of communication was available.

While working at Kelly, he met the love of his life, his soul-mate, Lillian Ann Nicholson. She had a summer job in his department, and when the boss was introducing her to the staff, Jack said, “Tomorrow we’re going to remove all the nameplates from the desks, and you’ll have to remember all the names.” He laughed uproariously at his own joke. Lillian didn’t think the joke was funny, but she was captivated by his ability to enjoy his own joke so much. Jack’s sense of humor always drew people to him, and he “loved a guy (or gal) with a sense of humor.” At the end of the summer as she prepared to return to college, Lillian was telling Jack all her future plans. He said, “When are you going to marry me?” She answered “When are you going to ask me?” He asked, and she answered yes. They married a year later when Lillian finished her education. Soon Lillian became Lillie as Jack so affectionately called her.

Jack returned to school part-time and with Lillie’s help in writing papers, he earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Management. Jack and Lillie adopted their son, William, at age eleven. When Jack retired from Kelly, he enjoyed a number of hobbies and helped Lillie in her plant business. After Lillie was robbed in her retail store, he entered law enforcement and served as a lieutenant in the Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable’s Department for a number of years, achieving the status of Master Peace Officer.

After his second retirement, he realized a life-long dream of driving a bus and worked as a school bus driver. Although he was a strict disciplinarian, the children loved him. Throughout their 45 years of marriage, Jack supported Lillie in everything she did. He was her biggest cheerleader and always believed she could do anything. When she had a stroke, he took care of her and did all the things she couldn’t do for herself. More importantly, he had the attitude that recovery was the only option. Regardless of what it took, it was just a matter of time before she would be well again.

A life-long avid Texas Aggie who “bled maroon,” Jack had a persuasive charm that ensured he always got what he wanted and convinced everyone else they wanted it, too. Jack was a member of All Saints Anglican Church and recognized God’s guidance throughout his life. After he was diagnosed with dementia, Jack sometimes got words confused and talked about God’s “interference.” Whatever word he used, he recognized God’s guidance. A dedicated husband, a loyal friend, and a patriotic American, Jack was smart, funny, opinionated, assertive, upbeat, generous, tenacious, independent, determined, self-confident, perfectionistic, and unconventional.

He is survived by his loving and beloved wife, Lillian Ann Nicholson (Lillie) Ammann; son and daughter-in-law, William and Kathy Ammann of Kemp, Oklahoma; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Sam Rabb of San Antonio, Texas; brother and sister-in-law, David and Cindy Ammann of Bandera, Texas; sister-in-law, Nancy Nicholson of Dilley, Texas; numerous sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews; and caregiver and surrogate granddaughter, Betsy Gonzales.

The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, 2012, at Porter Loring Mortuary North.

11:00 A.M.
11122 LINK DR.

The Very Rev. C. B. (Chip) Harper will officiate.

Interment with Military Honors will follow in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to All Saints Anglican Church or Texas A&M Association of Former Students.

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