Jack was born on April 22, 1925 in Sioux City to Herman and Ruth (Erickson) Stuhr of Storm Lake. After graduation from Storm Lake High School he attended Buena Vista College and Iowa State University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1943. As a navigator aboard a B-17 of the Bloody 100th, Jack flew 25 missions over Germany, reenlisting to be a part of the relief missions to the German concentration camps. Attaining the rank of lieutenant, he was honorably discharged in 1945 and completed his undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of Iowa in 1949. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Jack married Gretchen Zieman of Postville on Aug. 19, 1950. They made their home in Cedar Rapids and raised four children: Kristin (Dennis) Barnes of Minnetonka, Minn., Tracy Stuhr of Solon, John (Amy) Stuhr of Portland, Ore., and Mary (Jim) Yellen of New York, N.Y. Jack began to shape his career in the insurance business with National Life of Vermont but quickly launched his own business as a financial planner and broker. In 1983 he received his Masters Degree in Financial Services. He worked mainly in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas although he had clients around the country and was widely known for his creativity, resourcefulness, and integrity. In 1985 while vacationing in Austria he suffered a cerebral stroke which left him with severely impaired vision and hastened his retirement from business. From the outset, Jack bore his blindness with his customary grace, wit, laughter, and aplomb. He called his white cane Cyrano.
Jack had a wide and deep enjoyment of many things. He read largely and imaginatively, loved libraries and bookstores, and was an active participant in Coe College Forum. He had an abiding and passionate love for the outdoors, whether for birds, whales, mountains, trout streams, or the night sky. His bird calling abilities were nothing short of remarkable. He was beloved by children and dogs because he was always doing or thinking about something unexpected, lively, and fun. He was an inventive, intelligent, and happy man. Jack was an avid golfer from a very early age and shot two holes-in-one in his lifetime. He also loved to walk, fish, sing, play tennis, practice yoga, listen to the radio, snowshoe, cross-country ski, play the piano, play cards, and dance, but nothing delighted and engaged him more than friends and good conversation. His love for his family was profound and has shaped all of our lives.
He was a member of First Lutheran Church but was always eager to understand and develop dialogue with other faiths. He was proud to have served as a past president of the board of Churches United. He was a member of Coe College Forum and the Cedar Rapids Country Club.
Jack is survived by his deeply loved wife Gretchen, without whose loving care his life would have been much diminished, his four children, their spouses, and grandchildren Bethany (Brian) Connelly, Jordan Barnes, Claire, Sam, and Henry (Huck) Stuhr, Quinten and Caden Yellen, and "the daughter he never had," Robin Walenta.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Jack's name to National Public Radio, the Cedar Rapids Public Library, or the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy.