Longtime Refugio, Texas businessman and community leader Jack L. Slack passed away peacefully on Friday March 26, 2021 at age 93 in Bryan, Texas.
Jack was born in Taylor, Texas on December 27, 1927 to Armond and Lillie Ashley Slack. Like his older brother Charles, Jack worked on the family dairy farm and attended Taylor schools. He graduated from Taylor High School in 1944 as class valedictorian. In the summer of 1944, 16-year-old Jack loaded his footlocker on the train in Taylor with a destination of College Station. Small for his age at the time, Jack dragged his footlocker across the Texas A&M campus to his dormitory.
At A&M, he excelled in Mechanical Engineering and was Commanding Officer of “A” Company. Jack grew into a tall and imposing man by the time he graduated with the A&M Class of 1948. Jack’s dedication to A&M inspired all four of his children to attend Texas A&M and he cultivated his own 12th Man of Aggies among his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Shortly after graduating from A&M, Jack went to work for the Oil & Gas Division of the Texas Railroad Commission in Austin. He was sent to South Texas to do research on production in the oil fields around Refugio, Texas. While living in Refugio, Jack met and married the love of his life, Frances Alleene (Fran) Boone from Woodsboro on July 16, 1950. Jack and Fran made their first home in Austin but soon returned to Refugio when Jack took an engineering job at Quintana Petroleum. They lived and raised their family at the Quintana camp until they built a home on the north end of Refugio County. The Slack homestead would be later nicknamed “Plumnelly” by a beloved housekeeper since it was “plum out of Refugio and nelly to Goliad.”
A devoted prankster, Jack honed his mischief while working at Quintana and perfected it over the years. There are legions of good friends, business associates and family members that became the object of his pranks. His joy for pranks was, unfortunately, passed on to his sons.
After leaving Quintana, Jack founded Jack Slack Engineering and launched several very successful businesses. As a businessman, he became very active in the Refugio Rotary Club and headed their foreign exchange student program. He was later elected to the Refugio ISD School Board where he served for a decade. As one Refugio businessman said reflecting on the 68 years that Jack worked and resided in Refugio, “Jack ran everything.” His dedication to improving his community earned him recognition as the Refugio County Citizen of the Year in 1991.
Jack and Fran were devoted members of the First United Methodist Church in Refugio and both served the church in many capacities. Jack brought his business acumen to the church board and was directly involved in expanding the church’s educational facilities.
When he was not working, Jack enjoyed spending time with family and friends and patiently baiting hooks for his grandchildren at his “Jack Slack’s Fishin’ Shack.” The Shack also served as the venue for 30 years of memorable Aggie Musters.
Jack spearheaded Aggie Musters for the Refugio County A&M Club over the years. Two of Jack’s most revered Aggie friends, The Association of Former Students CEO Porter Garner and legendary Aggie Coach R.C. Slocum trekked to Refugio on his invitation to speak at Muster. In equal part he loved and admired his cousin Bill Little, long-time University of Texas Sports Information Director and notable sports author and historian.
Jack closely followed his favorite sports teams, the Refugio Bobcats, and the Fightin’ Texas Aggies. A good weekend inevitably started with a resounding Bobcat win and was usually capped off by an Aggie victory. He enjoyed phoning family on Friday nights with quarterly updates of the latest Bobcat score.
You just never knew what Jack was going to say and when. He spoke when he had something to say, and he did not wait to be invited to speak. He could hijack any event or occasion and his eulogies for his departed friends were legendary. He was a very skilled extemporaneous speaker and he always delivered a message when he spoke. He was still telling stories, jokes and entertaining family and friends with his wit until just days before his passing.
A gifted wing-shooter, Jack enjoyed hunting and fishing with family and friends. He hunted pheasant for years with his brother’s family in Kansas, hunted and fished the Aransas and Copano Bays, hosted dove hunts and built airboats with his friend Glen Pfeil.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents Armond and Lillie Slack and his brother Charles. He is survived by his wife of almost 71 years, Fran Slack, and their children Mike Slack, Doug Slack, Greg Slack and Sue Ellen Miner and their spouses Tina Ballard Slack, Susan Kreutzer Slack, Debbie Walton Slack and Phil Miner III. Enthusiastically accepting his role as “Paw Paw,” Jack shamelessly bragged about his seven amazing grandchildren: Brady Miner (Jelena), Nicholas Miner (Andrea), Mallory Miner Odom (Scott), Emily Slack, Amanda Slack (Andrew Bourdillon), Sarah Slack Nondorf (Dan) and Sydney Slack. He had two great-grandchildren, Davor Sobin and Liam Miner, and was counting down the August arrival of his third. Jack leaves behind two nieces and three nephews and many loving and dedicated caregivers, among them dear and loyal friend Yolanda Davila.
Jack loved all his family and friends without condition. We will all miss Jack’s strength, his wit, his love, his generosity, his hugs, and his unmistakable handshake. He has taken his final Corps trip and has fallen in behind the eternal Aggie Band.
For those wishing to commemorate Jack with a contribution, the family has designated the First United Methodist Church of Refugio, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and The Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University https://www.aggienetwork.com/giving/.
A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at a future date which will be a gathering to roast, toast and thank Jack Slack for the many gifts and memories, including pranks, he left with us. A private graveside will be held for immediate family.