Dr. Jack Edward Lungstrum
Jack Edward Lungstrum died of natural causes the evening of December 3rd, 2014 at his townhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. Jack was born June 12th, 1921 to Oscar and Bertha (Alexandre) Lungstrum in Topeka, Kansas. He attended Boswell Junior High School, and was graduated from Topeka High School in 1940.
Sensing the winds of the coming World War, Jack volunteered for the United States Navy in late 1940. He served primarily aboard the USS Pensacola, CA-24, which fortuitously departed Pearl Harbor November 30, 1941 bound, via Manila, for Tokyo; Jack allowed, “we never made it there on that trip.” On the Pensacola, Jack edited the ship’s newspaper alongside his regular duties, and was his Division champion with the service .45 pistol. He saw eleven major surface battles aboard the Pensacola, including Midway and Guadalcanal, where the ship was torpedoed and badly damaged with great loss of life off Tassafaronga Point. He had advanced to the rank of 2nd Class Petty Officer before Tassafaronga. After R&R leave, he was informed he had been selected for the V-1 program, and shipped off to St. Thomas College in St. Paul, MN for Officer Training. Jack was commissioned an Ensign, USN, but before he could return to sea, he contracted scarlet fever, which he had already survived once in childhood, and from which he was still recovering when World War II ended.
After considering a naval career, Jack decided he had “been away from home long enough,” and returned to Kansas, where he attended and was graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. After college, Jack ran the medical laboratory in Junction City, KS, and then ran the medical laboratory in Quinter, KS. While he was in Quinter, he became increasingly active in the local Rotary Club, eventually serving as the local Club President. He remained active in Rotary throughout his career and retirement. He also joined the Masons in Quinter, and remained a member in good standing of the Quinter “Blue Lodge” until the end of his life.
During this time, Jack courted and married Helen Alice Watson, a dear friend since junior high school. He adopted her son John from an earlier marriage, and carried a picture of himself with John on the adoption day in his wallet until his dying day.
Jack was accepted into the University of Kansas Medical School in 1955, at the age of 34 – a great rarity at the time, when nearly none of the entering students was over age 25. Despite his age and family, Jack excelled academically throughout his medical school career. He was for a time head resident at the old Kansas City (MO) General Hospital, and eventually chose to specialize in orthopedic surgery. During his internship year, Jack’s son Richard was born, and his daughter Constance was born while Jack was a resident in orthopedics with Dixon-Dively in Kansas City.
After residency, Jack joined an orthopedic practice in Salina, Kansas, eventually opening his own office. He practiced from July 1964 to July 1985, when he retired. He never turned any patient away from any services on account of their inability to pay. He was on staff at both Asbury and St. John’s Hospitals in Salina, serving as chief of staff of each at different times. He also served as president of the Saline County Medical Association, and was a member of the Council and on the Board of the Kansas Medical Society. He was for many years a coroner scene investigator for the Saline County Sheriff’s Department.
During his time in Salina, Jack belonged to the congregation of Christ (Episcopal) Cathedral, and at various times was active in the Cathedral’s choir. He was for many years a choral member of the Bethany College Oratorio Society in nearby Lindsborg, and for several of those years sat side by side in the chorus with his son Richard. Jack became active in C.A.S.A. in Salina, a cause about which he cared deeply for the rest of his life. He also was an active member of the ISIS shrine temple, having achieved the 32nd degree in the Masonic order. Jack was a spirited member of the Salina court of the Royal Order of Jesters, which he dearly enjoyed.
In early 1986, shortly after their daughter’s wedding in Salina, Jack and Helen moved to Sun City West, Arizona, near where Connie was living. Jack loved rock-hounding and shooting in the desert with friends. He also rekindled an interest in lapidary, cutting and polishing many of the stones he found. He studied jewelry making, and generally relished in retirement. After Connie and her husband moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, however, Jack and Helen decided to move there as well to be near her young family, and near the family summer home outside the Rocky Mountain National Park. Jack had always enjoyed horseback riding and hiking in and around the Estes valley, and would often hike up the foothills behind the house to work up an appetite for dinner. He once again took an active role in C.A.S.A., and resumed regular Rotary attendance. During the summers, Jack was the acclaimed omelette chef for the Estes Valley Summer Residents’ Association; he could be spotted from some distance away, dressed in white apron and white chef’s hat, spatula in hand, virtuously making and flipping omelettes – and, of course, cracking eggs. Jack also joined and became president of the Estes Valley Land Trust, taking great satisfaction in preserving numerous tracts throughout the area in conservation easements. He and Helen traveled extensively as well, visiting the south Pacific, and cruising around Patagonia.
Helen died in December 1997. Jack remained for a time in Fort Collins, with his standard poodle and trusty sidekick Tutu. He eventually decided to build a house on family land in the Estes valley, and moved to Estes Park year-round. He continued his interest in C.A.S.A., and was a hale fellow well met in the Estes Park Knights of the Belt Buckle.
At length, the thin mountain air made active life more of a challenge for Jack, and he decided to move to the lower elevation of Lawrence, Kansas, near his sons. He took great advantage of the athletic and musical entertainments at the University of Kansas for several years, and could regularly be seen sitting just behind the Kansas basketball bench at home games in Allen Fieldhouse. After a life-threatening infection in early 2011, Jack lived a comfortable but less active life, spending considerable time with his two sons in Lawrence. He retained his mental faculties and good spirits to the end, and lived at home with only moderate in-home help. His physical health, however, especially his heart function, declined greatly in the last year of his life, and eventually took his life.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Helen. He is survived by his sons John (Linda Lungstrum) and Richard (Linda Tilton), both of Lawrence, Kansas, and his daughter, Constance Clark, of Estes Park, Colorado; by grandchildren Justin (Emily) Lungstrum of Brooklyn Heights, New York, Jordan (Tanner) Blackburn of Severna Park, Maryland, Alison Lungstrum of New Orleans, Louisiana, Lexie Clark, Stoley Clark, and Lainie Clark, all of Estes Park, Colorado; great grandchildren Ella and Jack Lungstrum, and Owen and Cameron Blackburn; and by Jack’s sister Evon O’Brien of Topeka Kansas, and his step-brother Garmin Guthrie of Libby, Montana.
Jack’s mortal remains have been cremated, and his ashes will be interred together with Helen’s at the columbarium of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Estes Park, Colorado, with a memorial service anticipated in spring of 2015. Memorial gifts may be made to Lawrence Community Shelter, Lawrence, Kansas; C.A.S.A. of Salina, Kansas; the Estes Park Hospital Foundation; the Estes Valley Land Trust. Any gift may be made through Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044