John “Jack” Edward Garbig, 85, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 2, 2018, in Wichita, Kansas. Jack was born in Barrie, Ontario, Canada on July 3, 1933, to John and Dorothy (Brown) Garbig.
Jack grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his parents and siblings where he was the oldest of six children. He attended Balmy Beach Public School and Malvern High School in Toronto, and Uxbridge High School. He spent summers working and playing at his grandparent’s farm in Uxbridge, Ontario. He enjoyed listening to the “Lone Ranger” on the radio, helping his father with his Victory Garden, and following the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. He earned his spending money with a paper route, where he earned three dollars a week. After saving for four years, he was proud to be able to buy a used heavy duty balloon bike for 45 dollars. Once, in June of 1945, he rode his bike to his grandparents’ farm in Uxbridge, a trip of 45 miles. After riding for ten miles, he got a flat front tire. A nice man tried to repair the inner tube that had become separated, but it went flat again after one mile. Jack decided to push his bike the remaining 34 miles to go. At eight pm that night, he was greeted by his grandparents and sat down to three helpings of beef, potatoes, and gravy after which, Grandma Garbig having saved a lemon pie, Jack ate all four slices…the whole pie!
Jack began work full-time for Universal Sheet Metal in 1950. He worked there for three years as a cost accountant, payroll officer, and purchasing agent, sometimes serving as all three at the same time. In 1953, Jack left Universal for McDermid Brothers, which later became Marathon Equipment. Jack rose in stature from purchasing agent to manager of the Construction Equipment Division in Western Ontario. After several years, Jack approached the Robert G. Evans Co, Target Products, with the suggestion that they hire him to be their Canadian Sales Rep. He was hired on January 1, 1971.
Jack travelled Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific making sales and adding distributors. In early 1978, Target’s General Manager asked Jack to move to their home office in Kansas City as Marketing Director. Jack took the job, and moved his family to Overland Park in August of 1978. Jack left Target briefly in 1983 after Target was sold to Federal Mogul, and went to work for Magnum Diamond and Marketing Company. Jack returned to Target after a few months and was promoted to Customer Service Manager. In 1986, Jack took an early retirement from Target and went to work for Diamond Products as a Sales Rep. In 1988, Jack partnered with Pete Bachhuber to buy Shoring and Supply Company. Jack and Pete grew Shoring several times over with Jack serving as Vice President of Shoring until his retirement in 1999.
Jack first met Helen Eakins when they worked in the same building together in Toronto. They were engaged in June of 1957 after a four month courtship, and were married on September 14, 1957. They spent 28 years together until her untimely death in December of 1985. She was his best friend, wife, and companion, who gave him the utmost, steadfast support all throughout their marriage. Together they had three children, Ken, Doug, and Linda. Jack was a sports fanatic, and enjoyed sharing his passion with his boys. He coached their Little League baseball teams and youth hockey teams. Family vacations were usually spent at dear friends Henry and Anne Kurrle’s cottage in Washago, Ontario where Jack was known to garden, swim, canoe and play euchre until the wee hours of the night! Jack moved his family to the States in 1978, where he enjoyed gardening, golfing, and umpiring for the Ban Johnson League. He was also a proud grandpa, making the road trip to Wichita each time to see his newborn grandchildren while still in the hospital, attending sporting events, and proudly following his grandkids collegiate careers.
One great achievement in Jack’s life was the building of the Erindale Lions Little League Ball Park. In 1969, Jack signed Ken and Doug up for Little League baseball, and offered his help where needed. He was soon nominated as a coach and quickly elected Treasurer. When it was time to start on the field, Jack was able to arrange with a local highway builder to grade the field in their off season (winter) with soil obtained from a nearby church. Further, Jack was able to work with the local sod growers association to secure a donation of 11 truckloads of sod for the field, laid out by a team of volunteers. For the fencing, Jack worked with a local fence company that donated some used fencing and handled the installation. Modeled after the brick walls of Wrigley Field, Jack was able to get the red brick donated by a local brick company and have the clubhouse and dugouts constructed by a contractor who was a member of the Erindale Lions. The clubhouse had an equipment storage area, two washrooms, and a press box where volunteers worked the scoreboard, as well as a concession area for hot dogs, sodas, and popcorn. A group of technicians from Bell Telegraph volunteered to donate their time to build an electronic scoreboard. Finally, Jack was able to secure funds from the city of Mississauga to pay the final contractor bills, and get the project completed for the Lions without any funds required. It was a $250,000 enterprise which in today’s dollars would be worth over $1.6 million. Quite an accomplishment!
Jack was a lifetime baseball fan, his favorites being the St. Louis Cardinals and player Stan Musial, as well as the Red Sox’ Ted Williams. As you might imagine, Jack was deeply involved in his son’s baseball teams, and the Little League Baseball Organization. With Helen’s help, he served as secretary, treasurer, head umpire, publicity director, co-chair of building committee, and president throughout the years. He also enjoyed a mini-career as a professional umpire, conducting umpire training clinics, and highlighted by umpiring a minor league game at Royals stadium. In his professional life, Jack was a member of the Toronto Board of Trade Golf Club, where he once got a hole-in-one! Jack enjoyed a lifetime obsession with golf, both playing and watching. He also enjoyed bowling and watching the Blue Jays, Royals, Cardinals, and Chiefs on TV and in person.
Jack was especially proud of the backyard quoi pond he built, complete with a stone path and arched bridge! Jack moved to Wichita in 2006, where he enjoyed many holidays and school events with Linda’s family. Ken, Doug, and Jack took a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2008, which was always a dream of his. The entire family took a trip to Colorado for Jack’s 80th birthday to Pete and Carol Bachhuber’s cabin where they discovered what happens when you use soap in the Jacuzzi!
Jack is preceded in death by his wife Helen (Eakins) Garbig, sister Evelyn Campbell, parents John and Dorothy (Brown) Garbig, and son Doug Garbig. Jack is survived by his brothers Robert Garbig, and Donnie (Joyce) Garbig, sister Margaret (Ralph) Law, brother Ross (Sharon) Garbig, sister-in-law Audrey Smith, his oldest son Ken (Dacia) Garbig, daughter Linda (Brad) Mallory, grandson Sean Mallory, and granddaughters Catie and Rachel Mallory, and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services for Jack will be August 11, 2018 at Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, KS 66210. Visitation will be 10am-11am, Funeral 11am-12pm. Graveside service immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Jack’s name to:
Good Shepherd Hospice, Wichita, KS.
7829 E Rockhill St #403
Wichita, KS 67206