Jack Donald Sylvester, age 84, of Webb, Iowa, died peacefully on Monday, October 24, 2022 at the Accura Health Care Center in Spirit Lake. He was dearly loved and will be missed by many.
Memorial services will take place Monday, October 31, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Webb, Iowa. Following the service, a private family burial will be in the Garfield Cemetery. Visitation will be held Sunday, October 30, 2022 from 3-5:00 p.m. at the CHURCH. The Sliefert Funeral Home in Sioux Rapids is in charge of arrangements.
Jack was born to Chris and Margie (Mushrush) Sylvester on November 2, 1937 at Spencer Hospital. He was baptized and confirmed at the Baptist Church in Webb where they lived. Growing up Jack was an avid athlete playing basketball, baseball and running track at Webb High School, graduating class of 1955. Always knowing he would go to college, he attended Iowa State University, a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and obtained his bachelor's degree in Agronomy in 1959. Jack married Sandra (Brown) Burnett of Sioux Rapids in 1960. They were blessed with three children Janey, Jill and Tim. They divorced in 1976. Jack then married Connie (Welch) Ransom on August 14, 1977. Connie had two daughters from her previous marriage, Kim and Tami. They blended their families and lived on the farm in Webb raising 5 kids together.
Jack was always very community minded. He was a member of the Air Guard serving his country, a Freemason, a member of the South Clay School Board for several years, Webb City Council member, and Mayor of Webb. He was also an active member of the United Methodist Church in Webb, serving on the board.
He was a career farmer through and through, a man of few words, yet strong, incredibly wise and smart (calculating math in his head very quickly). Jack decided to further his agricultural knowledge by getting his Masters Degree in Agronomy through Iowa State University extension courses as a postgraduate student. He loved farming with a passion, as did his father before him. He said often and fully believed “If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.” He grew the usual corn & soybeans, always planted tons of sweet corn (his favorite) and contracted with Jolly Time planting popcorn for a little while. Definitely a Chief Beanwalker, waking his employees (also known as his kids) at dawn during the summer months to hit the fields, rain or shine. On a good day, he let everyone knock off at noon to head for the cabin at Lost Island Lake where boating and water skiing were the reward for a hard days’ work. Jack was a beautiful slalom skier, a trickster on the saucer and he loved teaching anyone who wanted to learn. Many fond memories of the lake, the cottage and the large oak tree with the rope & gunny sack bag he rigged so his kids could swing out over the water for a thrilling plunge into the lake.
Jack (and his Dad before him) had a well known passion for vintage tractors, collecting several over the years, starting with an M & a B. He was very partial to RED, so International Harvesters were the focus. He loved personally restoring them to their greatness and exhibiting them at the Clay County Fair or entering tractor rides to take them on the road. It was fun watching him and seeing the pride on his face when restoration was complete.
Throughout his life as a father and grandfather, Jack thoroughly enjoyed being a spectator watching his kids & eventually grandkids play sports. He traveled around to all the games, being a quiet observer for the most part, offering his classic recognizable whistle, or a clap of encouragement here and there. If games were lost, he might offer a casual conversation at home later about what went wrong or how to practice in order to do better. Or simply say, you’ll get ‘em next time…always proud. He also spent a lot of time supporting his ISU Cyclones by watching, or better yet, going to events at the University - especially during Johnny Orr’s basketball coaching years.
As he entered retirement, he and Connie spent several winters in Arizona enjoying the warm weather, playing cards with friends and being social with their neighbors at their trailer park resort. Jeeping off road in the desert with friends or visitors was really fun for him. Enjoying some good Mexican food and a margarita at the end of the day was pretty much a perfect winter day in Arizona. Jack enjoyed a good long life rich with family, faith, friends and experiences that he never took for granted…we should all live by his example.
Those left to cherish Jack’s memory include his wife, Connie; children: Janey Goodlaxson (Tom) of Spirit Lake, Iowa; Jill Hamilton of San Diego, California: Tim Sylvester (Mindy) of Webb, Iowa; step daughter: Kim Lawler of Rosemount, Minnesota: and his beloved grandchildren: Jack & Greta Goodlaxson, Christian, Regan and Madison (Hansen) Sylvester, Myles & Avery Hamilton, Morgan Lawler, Luke & Ryan Rempe.
He was preceded in death by his older brother: Garland Sylvester; parents: Chris & Margie Sylvester; in-laws: Harvey & Lucille Welch; and step-daughter Tami Rempe.
May he be driving his Dodge pickup truck on all the beautiful country roads in heaven, checking his crops, stopping for coffee downtown and some chit chat with his farming friends, tinkering on his tractors…coming home to an endless loop of college basketball games, RFD and old western TV shows. We will dearly miss him, until we meet again.