JACK LEROY ESLINGER

By: 
NLJ Staff

JACK LEROY ESLINGER

May 28, 1936–Oct. 13, 2021

On a Spring day May 28, 1936, Jack LeRoy Eslinger was born to Bert Thomas Eslinger and Rosa Amelia Larson Eslinger. He was brother to Raymond Eslinger, Sam Eslinger, David Eslinger and Viola Morris. Jack was the last surviving sibling. Jack passed away on Oct. 13, 2021, at the assisted living facility in Sheridan, Wyo., where he had recently moved to be closer to his daughter and son-in-law.

Jack is survived by his wife, Sharon; daughters, Robin (Steve) Schilling, Rachelle (Steve) Murrell, and Bonnie (Kevin) Sweet; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Jack grew up in Rapid City, S.D. Later Jack joined the U.S. Navy and moved to California. He was a patriot and proud of his service as a Seabee. It was truly ironic that he passed away on the 245th birthday of the United States Navy.

On his return to Wyoming Jack met and later married Sharon Ness Powell on March 24, 1976. Through this marriage Jack gained a son, Robert, and three daughters, Robin, Rachelle and Bonnie. Sharon’s first husband and father of her children died in a construction accident in 1974 and Jack always made sure his grave site at the cemetery was groomed and well taken care in respect of his new family. 

Jack’s work career involved driving truck local and over the road. He was accompanied by Sharon and they were fortunate to see many beautiful parts of America during this period. Work ethic was important and Jack had no tolerance for “slackers.” “Get off your butt and get to work” was always his motto. Jack and Sharon became familiar faces as they also spent many years working part time at Buckhorn and Cheyenne Crossing in the beautiful Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota.

Jack was very social and loved telling stories as if the story was a painting. It was common for him to share his insights with anyone who would listen. Before his health declined, he loved to tinker outside. He enjoyed building bird houses, playing cards, Cribbage and Mexican Train as well as a being active at the VFW and American Legion. If your vehicle was less than shiny, he would wax and buff it for you. He was “Jack the wax man.”

Reading was also top on his list as he enjoyed Louis L’Amour books and anything else with words. Monthly veteran magazines were anxiously read cover to cover and stacked next to his recliner. Wild birds flocked to the Eslinger home where they found homemade birdhouses and an abundant variety of bird seed. The pet birds at Jack’s assisted living building knew him as well and we are certain birds will sing and soar over his final resting place.

The Eslingers also spent years on the highways riding their “trikes” and Goldwing motorcycle. They rode them as far as California and often showed up in eastern South Dakota to surprise Sharon’s mother. The grandchildren were always thrilled to have a ride on the trikes. Annual trips to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally inspired him to collect lapel pins, which he proudly displayed as a collection on a vest.

Jack had a fondness for old country music and the couple loved to dance shaking up the floor at the West End. The song has ended but the melody lingers on.

Dogs were always an important part of Jack’s life and were his constant companions. His grandson’s dog passed away on the same day as Jack, and we are sure they are playing together out of control. The family and all who knew him will miss his presence, smile, quirky comebacks and his homemade breakfasts.

Pastor Ron Sample will officiate at Jack’s Celebration of Life with military honors to be held at the Newcastle VFW on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. Cremation has taken place.

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