John “Jack” L. Mulford moved on to his permanent residence with his Lord on Oct. 2, 2018, at age 93 surrounded by family and friends. Jack was born to James D. and Nellie M. Mulford on May 22, 1925, in Independence, Missouri.
He enlisted in the Navy April 1943, served aboard the LST 503 in the Atlantic area for a short time, then on board the LST 575 and USS Wythe (APB41) in the Asiatic Pacific, Philippines, Okinawa and China. Jack was proud of his country and proud to have served it well. Wartime medals include American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific, Philippines Liberation, World War II Victory Medal, China Service, Navy Occupation and Republic of China War Memorial.
After his 1946 discharge from active duty while touring the Western U.S., he met the love of his life, Hazel Rice, in San Francisco and married her March 28, 1947. Three children were born to this union, Irene, Thomas and Mark. His employment with several companies required moving several times before he moved to Lakeside in late 1962 to help manage Bell Manu-facturing Co. He had lived in the Flathead all but seven years since then.
Jack and his wife of 71 years, Hazel, attended Kalispell Christian Church (Family Life) where his sometimes gruff nature earned him the affectionate “Grump pa Jack” as his church name tag read and as he was known to many children over the 40-plus years of his time worshiping and serving. He spent many years volunteering at the church camp at Lake Mary Ronan, always fixing and repairing. His “flap Jacks” were always a big hit.
Jack volunteered at and supported the kids at Pinehaven Christian Children’s Ranch and made an annual trip to help the kids make his special recipe of peanut brittle. Peanut brittle was Jack’s labor of love. He made thousands of pounds over the years and his friends and family eagerly awaited our Christmas tin.
Residents at Lighthouse Christian Home will miss his four-wheeler rides, homemade ice cream, long visits and lessons on all things related to vehicles.
Jack loved to travel. He and Hazel went on many, many adventures. In 2002 they participated in the restoration of the LST-325 and he was awarded the honorary title of “Admiral.”
Until recently, he enjoyed his annual hunting trip to Eastern Montana with his daughter Irene, son-in-law Gordon, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jack was always fixing. Once, when asked to what he attributed the success of his 70-plus year marriage, he answered “I grew up in the Depression, when something broke, you fixed it.” And that was pretty much how he approached life.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, a sister, a grandchild, and his youngest son, Mark.
He is survived by his wife, Hazel, of 71 years, daughter Irene and husband Gordon of Kalispell, son Thomas and wife Nila of Billings, eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
All services will be on Friday, Oct. 12, beginning with a visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home, followed by a graveside service at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery at 12:15 p.m., followed by a 1:30 p.m. memorial service held at Family Life Christian Church, 1075 Foys Lake Road, Kalispell. A reception and refreshments will follow.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Pinehaven Christian Children’s Ranch, P.O. Box 940, St. Ignatius, MT 59865-0940; or Lighthouse Christian Home, 384 N. Somers Road, Kalispell, MT 59901.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for the family.