My Uncle Jack passed away after a very quick and sudden deterioration in the hospital in Charlotte. It was one of those things where my Aunt, who is more like a sister to me, called me a few times that week, and each time she sounded more nervous, more afraid to say things aloud. I just knew that Friday when we spoke at lunch that I had to leave that day from work and drive to Charlotte. She did not ask me to, I just had that haunting hunch we sometimes cannot ignore. It didn't matter what time I got there, I just knew. And heartsickeningly, I was correct on my gut feeling. Spending Saturday in the hospital with my cousins, their stepsiblings and their mother made me feel more at peace, but it broke my heart that I couldn't have one last conversation with this great man who climbed up to the top of his professional ladder. I was so proud to know him and I miss him dearly.
Here is a video my cousin made regarding him and his life, as well as his beautiful sister Renee, it is something she did while still in college (Fall 2011):
I would also like to include the obituary of my Uncle Jack, so that it may be forever online:
Jack Jacob Woolf, 81, of Charlotte, North Carolina, passed away after a brief illness on March 23, 2014. He was born in The Bronx, New York, on March 9, 1933, to parents Israel Charles and Bertha Yusen Woolf. He grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, was a long time resident of New Rochelle, New York, and Miami, Florida, until he settled in Charlotte in 1992.
After he earned a bachelor of civil engineering from Union College, Schenectady, New York (Class of 1955), Jack worked for Turner Construction Company until 1985, when he became the Chief Executive Officer of Crow Construction, and Senior Vice President of J.A. Jones, Inc., Crow's parent company. His influence in the construction industry can be seen in hotels, office buildings, hospitals, sports venues, on the skylines of New York City, Miami, Charlotte, and other cities around this country. He then founded Construction Solutions No.1 Inc., where he served as consultant to owners, contractors and performed legal counsel for projects such as the "Big Dig" in Boston. He was a Member Emeritus of The Moles, and Fellow and Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Jack was also a national director of the American Arbitration Society, and an active member of their National Construction Disputes Resolution Committee. In a proclamation from the American Arbitration Society, speaking to Jack's 40 years as a construction industry professional, he was lauded for his chairmanship which "included streamlining construction arbitration, recruiting and training industry mediators and implementing state-of-the-art dispute review board procedures." From the job site to the boardroom, his leadership skills modeled fairness and equity in the profession.
Jack loved being outdoors, a fan of camping, wildflowers and bird-watching. A Boy Scout as a child, he remained active in Boy Scouts, formerly serving as the Director, Greater New York Councils/Boy Scouts of America. In Charlotte, he continued his scouting tradition as an active participant in his son's path to Eagle Scout. In leadership roles with Troop 116, he was a regular attendee of the committee meetings, a champion of many of the Troop's special projects. He also participated in camping trips, was a superior Trip Leader, played a key role in helping finish the Scout Hut, personally managed the design and installation of The Wall of Eagles, and created and maintained the Rank Board that is installed in Tilson Hall at St. John's Episcopal Church of Charlotte.
A quick wit and punster with a great memory, he was a crossword aficionado who completed two puzzles a day, in pen. His family recalls that he was a tinkerer, the kind of engineer who could repair anything. Jack's philosophy in life was to leave everything better than he found it... and we all are better for having had him in our lives.
Jack is survived by his loving and adored wife, Melissa Jones Woolf; his five children, Elisabeth Woolf, Ellen Woolf Feichtner, Emily Woolf Vallier, Charlotte Bea Woolf, and Brandt Allen Woolf; two sons-in-law, Matthew Wilson Feichtner and Patrick Joseph Vallier; and one cherished grandson, Daniel Franz Feichtner. He is also survived by nieces, Aimee Schneider Hummel, Wendy Schneider Fistere, and Whitney Jones Allen, and nephew, James A. Jones, V. He was predeceased by his sister and brother in law, Stanley and Renee Schneider.
The memorial service will be held at Harry & Bryant Funeral Home, 500 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC, on Wednesday, March 26th at 10:00 a.m. A graveside service will be held at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, in Hawthorne, New York, on Friday, March 28th at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Jack Woolf Fund, Boy Scout Troop 116, St. John's Episcopal Church, 1623 Carmel Road, Charlotte, NC 28226.
My Uncle Jack attended Lincoln Elementary School, Wilson Junior High School, and A.B. Davis High School (class of 1950) in Mount Vernon, New York. At Union College, he was Circulation Manager on the Senior Board for the student newspaper. He was a brother in the Phi Sigma Delta fraternity, Epsilon chapter at Union College. I hope I can find out more about him the the coming months and years, as well as on Ancestry.com. Maybe I will be lucky and this post will be found by old schoolmates and professional friends, who could maybe leave comments about Jack and his life on this blog. I can only hope.
I am so grateful he was able to attend our wedding in 2012. I miss him and I love him.