Jack Davis Rector, 97, of Cedar Rapids, passed away Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. A Celebration of Life will be held at noon Monday, Nov. 20, at Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories, where a greeting from the family will begin at 11 a.m. Burial will be held at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Chaplain Christine Wagner-Hecht will officiate.
Jack was born Nov. 29, 1919, in Sanger, Texas, where he graduated from Sanger High School in 1937. He had a very early interest in mechanical and electrical devices and built crystal set radios and other gadgets as a youth. He even wired the family's rural Texas farmhouse, likely the first in the county. Jack attended A&M College of Texas (Texas A&M), working his way through college in the engineering lab.
He was a member of the Corps of Cadets and was called up for service in World War II after his junior year. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1942 and served until 1946, including overseas tours of New Guinea and the Philippines. During the war, he married Alice Mae Hauswirth in December 1943 in Ames, Iowa. After the war, he graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1947 and later attended Iowa State College of A&M (Iowa State), graduating with an M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1951. He worked for Collins Radio Co. (Rockwell Collins) from 1952 until retiring in 1982. During his long career in commercial aircraft avionics with Collins, he traveled globally and rose to the senior executive level of the company.
He and Alice were longtime members of Kenwood Park Methodist Church, where he served as treasurer and volunteered on numerous committees. After retirement, he taught engineering subjects at the University of Iowa and Iowa State.
Jack also volunteered with Four Oaks Bridge for several years and received a Governor's Volunteer Award and a "9 Who Care Jefferson Award" for his volunteer work. He traveled extensively with Alice, often internationally.
In his 60s, Jack completed a full marathon. Jack earned a private pilot's license and ham radio license and was a life member of IEEE. He tirelessly looked after Alice during her final years after she suffered a stroke. Jack's greatest joy was caring for his family. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great- grandfather. Jack was a kind, patient, compassionate and curious man and had an adventurous and optimistic nature.
Jack's family includes his children, John Davis Rector of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, William Rex Rector of Arlington, Texas, Edward Lee (Cynthia) Rector of Santa Fe, N.M., and Barbara Ann (Terry) Ohnstad of Littleton, Colo.; his grandchildren, Kyle (Jennifer) Ohnstad of Highlands Ranch, Colo., Crela Frye (Scott) of Pittsburgh, Pa., Erin (Kynton) Chan of Aurora, Colo., and Hayden (Kristina Martinez) Rector and Stuart Rector, both of Santa Fe; his great-grandchildren, Gabriel, Aiden, Emily, Gavin and Linden; and his siblings, Patricia R. Blalock of Duncanville, Texas, and Robert E. Rector of Frisco, Texas.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife, Alice; his parents, Sam D. and Ruth E. Rector; and his brothers, Ray D. Rector and Sam D. Rector.
Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under Obituaries.