John “Jack” Heron Edmore was born in Detroit, November 29, 1923. The third of six children born to Charles and Murna Heron. His parents had moved to Detroit from Millersburg. Murna had missed Presque Isle County so every summer she packed up the kids and drove to Onaway State Park for some much needed camping in a tent. At home in Detroit, Jack attended St. Phillips Catholic School. He was very quiet but an athlete. He was very good at sports but he excelled in football. Not of large stature he still made all-city Detroit honors as a guard and was the captain of St. Phillips’ football team. Jack always looked up to his big brother Richard who tragically drowned at the age of 18. When on a summer visit up north he met Shirley Wright who was the love of his life, they later married and would raise a family together. World War II intervened and Jack with many of the St. Phillips’ team left St. Phillips to enlist in the Army and were to become what is now called the greatest generation. Jack served on the front lines of the war as a combat infantryman. In France he was seriously wounded when fighting in the Hedgrow Battles. Sent home because of his wounds he earned a Bronze Star medal, a Purple Heart, and other decorations. When he got back home he stayed with his beautiful wife for 69 years until her passing in 2015.
After only a few years back in Millersburg and with the two oldest children, Jim and Kary in tow. He used the GI Bill of Rights and attended Michigan State College. Charles the third child was born in Lansing. The family moved first to Weidman where Jack taught agriculture and headed an FFA (Future Farmers of America) program. Joyce the youngest was born in Weidman. Next was a move to Rogers City and another teaching job. After a year of teaching he had a career change and started a new direction as a manager in one of the first instant potato factories.
Later this would lead Jack to move the family to Somerset, Massachusetts where he was an assistant plant manager in a plant that was to eventually become part of the Frito Lay Pepsico Empire. Having had enough of the corporate world in 1966 the family moved to Edmore and Jack looked to teaching again. In Edmore, Jack taught sciences and Shirley graduated from Central Michigan University then became a kindergarten teacher. They stayed in Edmore for the rest of their lives. Jack bought and operated a Gambles Hardware Store in Edmore when he was still teaching. After retirement he was elected to the school board, elected to the town council, and then elected mayor. He was a pioneer in the rails to trails movement, which was a controversial project that he saw through to completion. In Edmore he built his third of three family homes demonstrating his carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills.
Always energetic he started to downhill ski when in his 40s and he and Shirley skied well into their 80s, often going to Winter Park for a week or two in the winter. Jack became an accomplished NASTER ski racer and went to nationals in Utah to compete several times. He was a member of the 70 and older program at Nubs Nob and skied until he made his last run at age 90. Jack and Shirley played golf until almost 90. Jack was a friendly and honest family man and stubborn about his beliefs. He was a devoted Catholic, a Democrat and a generous supported of the underdog.
Jack was preceeded in death by his wife and love of his life Shirley; brothers, Richard and Jerome; sister, Helen; and grandson, Jermaine who he loved.
Jack is survived by his sister, Theresa Parenteau and brother of George of Millersburg. His children Dr. Jim (Marcia) of Marquette, Kary (Wally Herrala) of Ann Arbor, Dr. Charles (Jennie) of Effingham, Illinios, and Joyce (Donald Tatroe) of Belding. Surviving grandchildren, Amy Cameron, Jason Heron, Katie Gibbons and Dr. Leah Heron; great-grandchildren, Dawson DeVries and Kelsie DeVries all were loved by grandpa and grandma, he will be missed my many nieces, nephews and friends.
Jack will rejoin Shirley who he never quit loving, their bodies will lie in rest at the Millersburg Cemetery near family and friends. The family would like to thank Joyce and Chip who stayed and helped him stay at home as long as possible through the summer of 2016. Also to the staff members and volunteers of the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette who cared for and befriended Jack in his last months.
Funeral services for Jack took place Wednesday, August 9, at the St. Margaret Mary Church in Edmore with the Rev. Dominic officiating.
A visitation was held Tuesday, August 8, at the Brigham Funeral Chapel in Edmore. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, August 11, at the Riverside Cemetery in Millersburg.
Those wishing to contribute in Jack’s memory are asked to consider Meijer Heartland Trail and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans.
Condolences to the family may be made utilizing the guestbook at www.brighamfuneralchapel.com.