Plaid sport-coated collegians; big-grinned basketball star; champion 4-H steer exhibiter; horseman; family man; ag industry professional … Snapshots of earlier days and happy times on display at Jack Eberspacher’s memorial service. This over-achiever from Beaver Crossing, NE, wasn’t supposed to die yet. He was too well liked, loved, and appreciated.
A heartfelt and often humorous eulogy was given by Jack’s good friend Gary Baise. Jack’s competitive nature was a reoccurring theme. For instance, attendees learned the secret behind building the big hind quarters that made Jack’s 4-H steers champions, and also heard how Jack’s hard-nosed defensive skills on the hardwood held a state’s top shooter scoreless.
We also heard about sacrifices made by the family when they moved from Texas to Virginia. Jack’s wife Jinger was a tenured professor in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University when she packed up Sam, Maggie, and the household to move east so Jack could help turn around an ailing National Association of Wheat Growers.
Skills Jack developed with the National Sorghum Producers and NAWG served him well confronting challenges as president and CEO of the Ag Retailers Association. His personal leadership and persuasive skills helped increase ARA’s membership, participation, and dues – kind of hard to turn down that big grin. And, judging by the crowd of friends and colleagues at his memorial service, his grin won’t be forgotten.
A couple summers ago, Jack came to our offices to judge the Environmental Respect Awards. At dinner, he told the story that he and a group of friends “almost” made it to Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium after relieving a local Sinclair service station of its novelty dinosaur. Barely fitting on the back of their pick-up with a growing crowd cheering them on, Lincoln’s finest stopped the parade far short of the 50-yard line. Wonder how close he got to persuading the cops to help?
I’ve since figured out how this bigger-than-life man got taken out before his time. Cancer cells are aggressive by nature, competing for sustenance at the expense of the host. Jack was so dog-gone competitive, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised Jack’s cancer cells were as competitive as he was.
Baise’s full eulogy can be found at www.aradc.org in the tribute section to Jack Eberspacher.