John Darvin “Jack” Basler, 84, Oregon, died on Friday, Dec. 27 at Pinecrest Terrace Alzheimer's unit, Mt. Morris.
He was born on Feb. 2, 1929 in Oconomowoc, Wis., to John Henry and Marion Grace (Hatch) Basler.
When Jack was four years old his family moved to Oregon, when his father accepted an engineering position at the Carnation Company.
Jack graduated from Oregon High School in 1948 where he lettered in football, basketball and track as well as spending a great deal of time dating his future bride, Betty Mae Rosenberg Basler.
After graduation Jack started to work for Abe Hess (Gulf Oil Company) in Oregon driving a fuel oil delivery truck full time.
During high school, Jack worked for Abe part time as well as numerous other part time jobs including butcher assistant and grocery delivery boy.
In 1948 Jack also joined the Oregon Fire Department where he would serve for the next 38 years.
Jack married his high school sweetheart Betty on Oct. 26, 1950 in a small ceremony on the Rosenberg family farm in Oregon.
In 1951 Jack’s Illinois National Guard unit was called to serve in the Korean War and he went to Fort Benning, Ga., for basic training prior to being shipped overseas to Korea for active duty.
Jack served two years in Korea receiving two battlefield commissions and raising to the rank of Sergeant First Class with the Fifth Infantry, Intelligence Division.
While in Korea Jack was awarded the Bronze Star, Korean Service, Republic of Korea, Korean War Service, Army Good Conduct, Korean Defense Service, United Nations Korean Service, Army National Guard Achievement, and the National Defense Service medals.
After the war Jack returned to Oregon and resumed his work at the Gulf Oil Company while supporting a growing family. In 1964 Jack bought the Gulf Oil Distribution Service from Abe, expanding the business to include the purchase of the Rochelle Oil Company where he would work until his retirement in 1998.
Upon his retirement Jack was given a testimonial by the Illinois Petrolium Marketing Association for his 50 years in the oil business.
Jack was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
During his life Jack always saw community service as a way to contribute to the town he called home as well as the many people that helped him during his life.
Besides the Oregon Fire Department, Jack also served as one of the first crew members to a newly established Oregon Ambulance Service, was an Oregon Auxiliary Police Officer, member of American Legion Post 97, member of VFW Post 8739, Ogle County Fair Board, Rochelle Lions Club, and Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troup 52.
When asked several years ago to relate one of the things he was most proud of he stated being on the Building Committee for the new Oregon First Presbyterian Church in 1978 after the 125 year old building was lost to a fire.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Frank, Dale and Clyde; sister, Merlene Griffin; and stepsister, Barbara Beckington.
Grateful for having shared in his life are his wife, Betty; four children, Jeffrey (Cindy Kowa) Basler, Oregon, Robb (Terri Zolondek) Basler, Crystal Lake, Jennifer (Dave) Bakener, Oregon, and Janna (Dave) Bredeson, Columbia Mo.; 11 grandchildren, Jaci Basler-Heather, Kim Basler, Megan Basler Ries, Adam Bakener, Jon Bakener, Gena Basler, Ken Schwartz, Alicia Labash, Steve Schwartz, Jackson Bredeson, and Jamison Bredeson; six great-grandchildren, Elisabeth Ries, Adyson Basler-Heather, Brandon Bakener, Carter Ries, Garrett Bakener and Ashyr Basler-Heather.
Visitation will be Monday, Dec. 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 200 S. Fifth St., Oregon, where services will be held Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the First Presbyterian Church, Oregon, Ill. Arrangements were completed by Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, Oregon.
Visit www.farrellhollandgale.com to leave online condolences.