My husband on the right, and his brother Tom on the left. My husband definitely looks like his Uncle Jack.
The third funeral this month. Uncle Jack, Papa Jack, Alvin Jack Klesel, of Schulenberg, TX.
Uncle Jack was my favorite of my husband’s family. Since I started dating my husband in 1991, Jack was always kind to me.
Jack was just one of those souls that connected with everyone immediately. He didn’t know a stranger. He was fun, interesting, loving, kind, funny, smart, and just always engaged in what was going on.
He served in WWII, in the Army Air-corps in the Burma/China Theatre. As a clerk in the intelligence wing, he debriefed the Doolittle Raiders upon their return from Tokyo.
When he returned from the war, he had a Grocery Store, the Shiner Beer Distributorship, a Truck Repair shop, and an Insurance Agency.
He had great stories, a great family, he was always involved in his community and church. It was a great honor that one of the Bishops from the Galveston-Houston Diocese came to give the Funeral Mass for Papa Jack.
After leaving St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, we took the short walk to the cemetery for the graveside service. The VFW officers, and the Knights of Columbus in Full Uniform with swords were on guard. It was a full military service with a 21 gun salute, Taps, the flag folding and presentation. I lost it when they started playing Taps. It was a two hanky cry, for sure.
There was more though! Chris Rybak, “The Accordion Cowboy” played As The Saints Go Marching In as things were wrapping up. We went from crying to singing along, just like Papa Jack would have wanted.
We walked from the Grave site to the Knights of Columbus Hall across the street for the Reception. Everyone who attended the funeral was invited, and encouraged to come. This was a big thing, especially since the Bishop showed up to give Mass. The church was full.
There was beer, a big fried chicken lunch, lots of Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake, Strudel, pies, and Iced Tea.
Chris Rybak, one of Jack’s favorite Polka guys, played all through the reception, and of course, several got up to dance. Just like Papa Jack would have wanted.
I sincerely hope I don’t have to go to a funeral for a while. But this one, for a 96 year old man, who served his country, his community, his church, and his family, is something I will think about for a very long time.