He returned to the comfort of his own home, as was his desire, and was surrounded by friends and family throughout his remaining days.
Born June 5, 1920 in Dayton, Ohio to Charles Heron Crew and Gracie Elivina Meckling, Jack inherited his father's love for sports and the outdoors, with a particular passion for baseball and fishing. Jack enlisted in the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor, and served as a code breaker in Washington, D.C., where he met fellow Navy enlistee and the love of his life, WAVE Donna Mae Barnhart. Jack's interest in flying and his pitching arm earned him a transfer to Iowa City, Iowa, where he was enrolled in Navy Aviation Cadet School and was a promising pitcher for the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks baseball team. Donna soon joined him, and they were married in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on February 23, 1945.
Following the war, Jack's hot pitching arm earned him a contract to play Major League Baseball. Instead, he opted to use his G.I. Bill college education benefit, and the newlyweds returned to Ohio. Graduating in the top five percent from Ohio University's class of 1948, Jack began his CPA career with a Dayton accounting firm. Ambitious and driven, Jack soon parlayed an independent audit being conducted by the Dayton firm into a job with the audit client, the Mead Corporation. Two sons, many promotions, and eight transfers later, he retired a Mead man after 28 years of service in 1982. Mead interrupted that retirement, coaxing him back to work until Donna put her foot down after an additional five years' service, and this second and final retirement "transferred" them to Donna's home town of Wadsworth, Ohio.
Neutral was not a gear Jack knew how to find. He worked hard, he played hard, and if he had to be idle, he was planning what came next. Donna loved the outdoors and fishing as much as Jack, so vacations typically meant fishing, camping and boating with the boys, family and friends in tow. In retirement, Donna kept him busy with projects around the house, antiquing, entertaining, volunteering with their church, and a new adventure here and there that might not necessarily include fishing!
In the spring of 1999, Jack and Donna moved to the Brewster Parke Retirement Community in Brewster, Ohio, after a mild stroke and the effects from 12 years with Parkinsons disease necessitated nursing care for Donna. Jack took an independent-living apartment a stone's throw from Donna's room in the skilled-nursing unit across the parking lot, and the tough-as-nails Mead professional transformed that ambition and drive into nurturing and caring for Donna with unfaltering devotion and tenderness until her death on September 12, 2003. With very few exceptions, they finished the day together with a bowl of ice cream Jack brought to her room just before bed.
After Donna passed, Jack remained in his apartment at Brewster Parke until February, 2011. He fished often, kept himself in shape walking the nature trail and working out on the exercise equipment almost every day. He created what can only be called a new career for himself by applying his talents and energy into assisting his Brewster Parke community, be it resident-in-need or staff. He most enjoyed assisting the Activities Director with daily bus trips, helping people on and off the bus, carrying groceries for residents after the regular WalMart run, and any other task that might arise.
One of Brewster Parke's Activity Directors, Eileen Poulton, and Jack became fast friends, a shared love for fishing being no small factor. Eileen, husband Tom, and their entire clan became extended family over the years, welcoming him, faults and all, with unconditional love. He was included in all family gatherings, frequently went fishing with them, and he loved living just a few doors away from Eileen and Tom in the home he bought after leaving Brewster Parke. With neither son living close, Eileen became more than best friend-Jack loved her as if she were his daughter, and she cared for and protected him in all the ways a child would. Jack was not shy about singing Eileen's praises, and the Crew family will be forever grateful to their honorary daughter/sister and our entire extended Poulton family.
Jack is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Ann (Spence) Crew of Boise, Idaho; son, Scott Crew of Columbus, Ohio; grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Chris and Jessica (Bradley) Crew of McCleary, Wash.; sister, Virginia "Sis" (Crew) Robison of Uniontown, Pa.; sisters-in-law, Garnet (Barnhart) King and Mary Jane Barnhart of Wadsworth, Ohio, and Ora Belle Huff of Akron, Ohio; brother-in-law, Cletus Barnhart of Wadsworth, Ohio; and best friend, caregiver, and honorary daughter, Eileen, husband Tom, and the entire Poulton clan. Jack was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years, Donna Mae Barnhart; parents, Charles Heron Crew and Gracie Elivina Meckling; and in-laws and friends too numerous to list.
A viewing will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, with funeral service to follow at 7 p.m. at Hilliard-Rospert Funeral Home, 174 N. Lyman Street, Wadsworth, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to your community hospice. Jack and his family received invaluable hospice care and support, and we are truly grateful. We extend a special thanks and appreciation to Mary Lou Daniels and Debbie Liggins. Their dedication, including round-the-clock hours in the final days, and the care they provided Jack and attending family and friends.