“I’ve had a great life.” That is what Jack Allinger said in August 2021 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer. And he did, indeed, live a great life. Jack passed away on January 18, 2022.
Jack was born on April 16, 1930, to Lucille (Andrews) Allinger and George Allinger, Sr., and along with his sister Esther grew up in River Park. He attended St. Monica’s grade school and Central Catholic High School. Jack met the love of his life, Barbara (Barb) Ference, in 1951, when his cousin Paul, married Barb’s cousin, Delores. He was the best man and Barb was the maid of honor. Jack said he knew he was going to marry Barb the moment he saw her at the wedding rehearsal, and so they did on October 4, 1952. Shortly after that, their life took a slight detour when Jack was drafted and they spent the next several years at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, they were joined by their first daughter Susan. They returned to South Bend at the end of Jack’s service, and welcomed their daughters, Kathy and later, Judy.
Jack and Barb’s life together centered around family and fun. Jack enjoyed playing the accordion and had his own band for several years. He also spent several years leading a Cub Scout group. Everything was an adventure. Weekends were spent camping or boating, and vacations were usually water related. No matter how busy they were, or what challenges they faced, everything stopped when it came to family. There was always time to attend a band recital, sporting event, school play, or any other event the kids were in. Jack was a founding member of the South Bend Cruising Club. With the club, the Allinger family boated mostly on Lake Michigan along with numerous lakes and rivers in Indiana and surrounding states. Socializing was also a big part of the family life. Friends and family to this day recall with smiles and laughter the parties held at the Allinger house on Willow Drive.
When the kids got older and started heading to college, the boat disappeared and soon an RV was sitting in the driveway. Jack and Barb would take off for months at a time traveling around the country. For decades, they split their time between the road and home until Barb became ill and passed away in October 2002.
Beginning when Jack was a preteen, he always had a love for airplanes and flight aerodynamics. This led to his life-long passion for model airplanes. Jack was a member of the South Bend Radio Control Club. Whenever he could, and especially after he retired, Jack enjoyed spending time building and flying model planes at the Club field, aptly named “Jack Allinger Field”. There was always a model plane packed in the RV and he was able to fly at RC club fields throughout the country. He was a key founder for the Pot of Gold RC Show that has been held annually at Notre Dame since 1985. One of his great joys was teaching flight mechanics to Notre Dame University students in the Aerodynamics School by helping them build and learn to fly model airplanes.
Jack spent the final chapter of his life on the St. Joe River with his partner, Theresa Wilson. Of course, with a boat. And a model plane. And his accordion. Together Jack and Theresa continued Jack’s love of adventure by spending many a winter on St. George Island in Florida. When at home, there was always a gathering of friends on the back lawn of their River House.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, his mother and father, his brother-in-law, Paul Farmer, and his nephew, Eric Farmer. Jack will be forever missed by his three daughters, Susan of Houston, TX, Kathy of Las Vegas, NV, Judy and son-in-law, Ken Swain of Las Vegas, NV; his grandchildren, Elisabeth Jaworski and Benjamin Pomerantz of Houston; grandson, Drew Jaworski and wife, Kimberly of Luling, TX; and his great-grandchildren, Aurora and Dean Jaworski of Luling, TX. Jack will also be missed by his sister, Esther Farmer of Albuquerque, NM; nephews, Scott (Mary Kay) Farmer and Bruce (Terry) Farmer of Albuquerque; nieces, Elena (Steven) King of Albuquerque; and Erica (Tom) Rinde of Chicago, IL.
The family sends its love and gratitude to Kim Dukes, who made the last five months of Jack’s life so peaceful and comforting. They would also like to thank Center for Hospice Care and the staff at Cedarhurst for their care and support.
Visitation will be held Monday January 24th from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Palmer Funeral Home – Bubb Chapel, 3910 N. Main Street, Mishawaka. Services will be at Palmer Funeral Home – Bubb Chapel on Tuesday January 25th at 11:00 with visitation an hour before. Cemetery service will follow at Riverview Cemetery, 2300 Portage Ave, South Bend.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Center for Hospice Care at 501 Comfort Place Mishawaka, IN 46545 in memory of Jack Allinger. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
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