SAULT STE MARIE, MI. - John "Jack" R. Truckey, age 82, passed away peacefully at War Memorial Hospital on Sunday, September 29, 2013 after a yearlong battle with cancer.
He was born on January 4, 1931 in Marquette, Michigan to Willard and Siiri (Piirto) Truckey. Jack spent his formative teen years and graduated from St. Lawrence Seminary "the hill of happiness." He then returned to his hometown of Marquette to work as a meat cutter at Red Owl Food Store, before entering the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. While home on leave, he married Ruth Dolkey on August 28, 1951, at St. John's Church in Marquette, MI. He then attended Northern Michigan University, majoring in English and history, while working as a night watchman at Cliff Dow Chemical Corporation to support his growing family. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958. When an opening for an English teacher came at Newberry High School, he applied for and got the job. While teaching, he went on to earn his master's degree and worked four more years as a counselor.
He then was hired as an admissions officer at Lake Superior State College in 1966 and was shortly promoted to director of the counseling center in 1968. In addition to assisting a great number of students in their college careers, he taught psychology classes. His daily contact with students through the counseling center was not the extent of his efforts on the behalf of youth.
As scholarship chairman of the Sault Elks Lodge for 21 years, he helped numbers of students to receive college aid. He also volunteered for the American Cancer Society, and was Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus while in Newberry.
He was a secretary for the Michigan Education Association, Region Council 16, and a member of the Emma Nason Home Board of Directors. He retired from Lake Superior State College in 1986 and was honored with the title "Faculty Emeritus."
Jack was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Parish, Elks Lodge 552, American Legion #3 and Sault Ste. Marie Country Club. He was a longtime volunteer for the Hospice of the EUP, the St. Joseph's Food Pantry and the Elk's Club Youth Committee.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, his five children: Julie (Bill) McLeod of Sault Ste. Marie, Jacquie Truckey of Colorado Springs, John (Debbie) Truckey of Sault Ste. Marie, Jodine Sicinski of Kewadin, and Jill (Tom) Coates of Sault Ste. Marie. Also surviving are ten grandchildren: Jillian (Austin) Miller, MacIver McLeod, Adam (Briana), Matthew, and Sarah Truckey; Madeline, Nicholas, and Samuel Sicinski, and Cecily and Tommy Coates. In addition he is survived by four great-grandchildren: Adelyn and Austin Miller, and Jackson and Lauren Truckey. Also surviving are four brothers and sisters: Robert (Dorothy) Truckey of Ishpeming, George (Sue) Truckey of Duluth, MN, Mary (Robert) Apple of Marquette, and Barbara Truckey of St. John's; and sisters and brother-in-laws Maryrene Truckey of Munising, Florence Kakkuri, Lorraine (Richard) Mutka, and Ellen Dolkey of Ishpeming.
He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Patricia Wiseman, brother Willard Truckey, and brothers-in-law Thomas Wiseman, Harold Kakkuri and Clarence Dolkey.
Being of French-Canadian and Finnish extraction, he often joked he was a "Half-Finnished Frenchmen." He celebrated his Finnish heritage every year during lively St. Urho's Day parties at their home and later during their winters in Orange Beach, Alabama where Jack always led the singing. His "favorite place on earth" was their cabin on Neebish Island, which he purchased in a partnership with his long-time friend Jim Honkanen in 1977. There were many hunting and snowmobiling adventures and of course saunas, which Jack called his Finnish EKG. When he left LSSC, he left behind a bit of advice for the students to come: "Take your school work seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously." He and Ruth played hosts to many spirited Annual Finnish Summer Olympics at their home. Jack had another piece of advice too: "Life should be fun." He made the lives of those he touched more enriched with his faith, discipline, knowledge and wit. Life was a lot more fun with Jack in it.
Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., followed by a funeral mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church with celebrants Father Norbert Landreville, Father Sebastian Kavumkal, Father Jose Maramattam, and Deacon Bill Piche.
A celebration of this wonderful man's life will be held immediately following mass at the Elk's Lodge. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of the EUP.
Online condolences may be left at www.clarkbaileynewhouse.com.