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Jack E. Sprague

March 15, 1926 ~ December 23, 2011

Jack Eugene Sprague was born to Sarah Pearson Sprague and Horace Avery Sprague on March 15,1926 in Renfrow Oklahoma. He moved to Caldwell, Kansas when he was one year old.

Jack was the big brother to Lila and Bruce. He had a happy childhood with his relatives and family friends nearby, orneriness and a gift of gab came natural to most of the Sprague men and Jack fully developed that trait.

As a kid he got bored of conversing in the English language and became quite adept with pig latin, especially with his buddy Bob Jackson. Jack enjoyed playing in the band and playing basketball at Caldwell High School, when not making off with watermelons from Watsons. He attended Caldwell schools all his life. A fateful schedule change put him in a typing class with Betty Jean Clark. They became high school sweethearts before he shipped off to the war.

Jack graduated from CHS in May 1944 and left the next day for the Navy. He served on the USS Beckham, APA 133 that carried troops and cargo from Pearl Harbor and all over the South Pacific. Beckham received two battle stars for carrying reinforcements to Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Jack was very proud of the fact that he witnessed the raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima while he was on board the Beckham. He didn’t speak much of what happened during his tour other than the fond memories he made.

Upon returning home, Jack and Betty married on April 13th, 1947 at the Central Christian Church in Caldwell and had 49 wonderful years together before Betty passed away in June of 1996. Their son, Phil was born in 1951 and daughter Jacque eventually came along in 1961.

Jack and Betty were side by side nearly every day of those 49 years. Jack had purchased the meat processing plant in Caldwell from Betty’s parents-Lloyd and Alice Clark in 1950 and “Jacks Locker” was born. Betty was the bookkeeper and tried to keep Jack reined in. Both Phil and Jacque spent their share of time at the Locker with their parents and have many, many memories of events, employees and general craziness that occurred there. Jack also owned and operated an appliance business on several occasions in his life. He was a hard worker and instilled this value in his children.

He did take time to enjoy some of his hobbies such as fishing, playing cards, sports and collecting. Jack was an “American Picker” before it was popular! He didn’t care if he was fishing in a local creek, a pond or river with his grandsons , at Gunnison Colorado or Canton lake or with Phil and Stan in Canada—he was happy fishing anywhere. His snoring was known to scare away some fish, bears and beaver, and it didn’t make for happy campers either.

Jack made every attempt to attend his grandsons sporting events and they always knew when he was there, and so did the rest of the crowd. He was a very enthusiastic supporter. He also loved KU basketball.

After Betty’s passing, Jack met Vera Tilson from Elbing Kansas and they were married July 26, 1997. His family grew to include her children, grandchildren, siblings and great grandchildren. They lived in Elbing and then moved to Newton. Vera’s family came to anticipate Jack’s stories and jokes as well. He and Vera enjoyed many wonderful bus trips, and card playing with family and friends. He made many wonderful friends at the Kansas Christian Home in Newton. He enjoyed serving as a greeter at the Newton Christian Church and members there commented he always had something funny to say.

This October, Jack and his daughter Jacque, enjoyed going to Washington DC on the Honor Flight for WWII veterans. It was discussed after his going that perhaps this trip should have been named the “Ornery” flight . This trip is a memory Jacque will always cherish. Jack passed away from chronic health conditions on Friday December 23rd in the Hospice unit of the Robert J. Dole VA in Wichita Kansas. He will be greatly missed.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother Charles, wife Betty and grandson David Kyle Sprague.

He is survived by his wife Vera of Newton, sister Lila Copeland of Colfax California, Bruce Sprague of Houston Texas, son Phil and wife Patti of Caldwell, daughter Jacque Ediger and husband Lawrence of Wichita, Terry and Connie Tilson of Newton, Judy and Tony Frieze of Chapman, Jerry Tilson of Whitewater. Grandsons Clint Sprague and wife Kim of Caldwell, Andrew Tyler and Bryant Tyler of Wichita, granddaughter Sammi Poppelwell of Caldwell, Traci and John Hutchinson, Tiffani and Charles Ulrich, Tami and Kelsey Veer, Todd and Sue Frieze, Tonya and Gregg Coup, Tara and Mike LeCount, Heather Weber, Callie Tilson, Alana and Isaac McNary, Jesse Tilson and 23 great grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at the Central Christian Church in Caldwell. Interment will be in the Caldwell City Cemetery, Caldwell, Kansas.

Memorials may be given in Jack's name to the Central Prairie Honor Flight or to the Caldwell High School Alumni Association.

Friends may call at the mortuary 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, December 26, 2011.

Leave Condolences


Jim Barrett

Family and Friends - 12/24/2011

Jacque, Phil and families:

So sorry to hear of your dad's death. He was such a good man. I started thinking of all of the things he did for Caldwell and am amazed--The Locker Plant, The Blue Guru, The Appliance Store, and many more. He had a lot of patience like when he did not yell at Jacque and I for clogging up his house gutters with green apples. This time of year he always had great lights and a Santa coming down the chimney. Great memories of a wonderful dad. You all should be proud.



Colene Marshall

Family and Friends - 12/25/2011

Jacque, I'm sorry to hear of your father's passing. I'm so glad you were able to go with your dad on the honor flight this year and it a lovely tribute for your dad's memory to help others do the same. My thoughts are with you and your family.


Polly Rice-Maher

Family and Friends - 12/26/2011

Jacque and family,

So sorry to hear about your father's death. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Polly


Jacque and family

Family and Friends - 12/26/2011

Sorry to learn yesterday of your father's death.

My prayers are with you. I hope you know I would be there tomorrow if I could...but I will be out of town all week.

Karen Osborne



Family and Friends - 12/26/2011

Jacque, just learned of your Dad's passing. I pray the love of God enfold you during this difficult time. All of your ESA Sisters are lifting you and your family up in prayer. I wish I could express the sorrow I feel just knowing you are bearing such a huge loss. Love & hugs!


Robyn Jason-Wilkey

Family and Friends - 12/26/2011

Jacque, I was so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing today. You have been in my thoughts and prayers so much these last few days. I was touched reading about your Dad's life. So glad you two got to go on the Honor Flight this year. Love and strength being sent to you and your family.



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