John Harold (Jack) McComb passed away November 11, 2023, at his home in Fox Lake, IL at age 90, surrounded by his family. Jack had finally retired to Illinois after a 30-year career as a mechanical engineer at Naval Avionics in Indianapolis, followed by a second career as a farmer in Bonaparte, Iowa for more than 20 years. He was born in New London, Iowa, to Harold Craig McComb and Mary Minerva (Ellis) McComb on August 29, 1933. Harold’s career took the family to Des Moines and Buffalo, NY. After the death of his mother in 1943, the family returned to Iowa for a time before settling in Columbia, MO. Jack dreamed of becoming a pilot and won the national model airplane competition in Grand Prairie, TX in 1949, He was a proud “Kewpie”, graduating from Hickman High School in Columbia in 1951.
After high school, Jack entered the mechanical engineering program at the University of Missouri. While studying there, he met the love of his life, Mary Gorman, as a set-up by mutual friends. The day after his graduation in 1956, Jack and Mary were married in St. Louis, MO. A day later, Jack was commissioned into the US Navy as a Lieutenant, and the couple traveled to Pensacola, FL, in hopes that Jack could fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot. However, an accident on the obstacle course landed him in the hospital in traction for several weeks. Jack’s career ambitions were redirected to another childhood pastime, working with radio communications. The Navy sent Jack and Mary to Subic Bay in the Philippines for two years.
While in the Philippines, their first daughter, Jenny, was born. At the end of his tour of duty, Jack decided to transition to a civilian career in government service, taking an engineering position with Naval Avionics in Indianapolis. Shortly after arriving in Indianapolis, Jack and Mary welcomed their second daughter, Terrie. An avid reader himself, Jack influenced his daughters’ love of books through regular trips to the local library, love of music, and the love of nature through family camping trips and gardening. Because of his inspiration, both daughters followed in his footsteps to pursue careers in engineering. Jack was active in his local church in Indianapolis, as well as the Indianapolis Rose Society.
In 1990, Jack retired from his career at Naval Avionics with plans to return to the family farm in Bonaparte, IA someday. In 1993, Jack and Mary moved to Keosauqua, IA, so he could learn more about the business of farming from his father, Harold, who was still actively involved.
Upon Harold’s death in 1996, Jack and Mary relocated to the farm and enjoyed the country life, surrounded by wildlife and beautiful rolling hills. While living in Keosauqua and Bonaparte, Jack and Mary were active in the Keosauqua United Methodist Church and the Town & Country Garden Club. Jack also joined the Keosauqua Lions and the Tarnished Brass Community Band, playing tuba and trumpet.
After Mary’s passing in 2009, Jack continued to farm for several years. He regularly studied and employed improved farming techniques with goals of soil conservation and livestock quality of life. As Jack’s health began to decline, he decided to sell the family farm and relocate to Illinois to live with his daughter, Terrie in 2018. Shortly after, Jenny retired and joined her dad and sister in their home in Fox Lake.
Through his final illness, Jack maintained his easy-going disposition, generosity, and sense of humor. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. In addition to his daughters, Jack is survived by his brother, Craig McComb, and sister-in-law, Leila Pine, of Madison, WI; his sister, Marilyn Watson, of Columbia, MO; and nieces, Mary Watson Arroyo of Port Hadlock, WA and Lisa McComb Hanson of Elcho, WI.
Funeral services will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at the Keosauqua United Methodist Church in Keosauqua, IA with Pastor Mary Kathryn Hart officiating. A luncheon will be held immediately following the service with a graveside burial to begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Vale Cemetery North of Bonaparte. Visitation will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 20, 2023, at the Cranston-Pedrick Funeral Home in Keosauqua, IA with the family present to greet friends from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s’ Association, your local United Methodist Church, or the University of Missouri. Friends may leave online condolences at www.cranstonfamilyfuneralhome.com.