In Memoriam: Jack McArthur 1937-2004


        What a great guy my brother Jack was! He was justly proud of his handsome “McArthur Nose”. He called himself “The McArthur” to signify his leadership of our unit of the McArthur Clan, whose motto is (pardon the Latin), Pro Patria Pax et Bellum. This translates as “They Will Know Us by Our Moderation.” Jack was the smartest guy I ever met. His intellect came out in his writing as evidenced in the privately published Travels with Jack and JoAnn ( Check out this excerpt:


We were cruising along I80 west of Chicago when we saw it. The sign read “Drug checkpoint ahead one mile. Prepare to stop.” How careless of the cops, though. There was an exit just a few hundred yards from the sign. A van ahead of us pulled quickly across several lanes of traffic to the off ramp. Guess where the checkpoint really was? (Hint: it wasn’t on the Interstate.) When you’re driving from Denver to Toledo, you have to take your amusement where you find it.

This is the opening paragraph from his essay titled “Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore” from Travels with Jack and JoAnn


Jack was quite the creative writer when in High School – Lower Merion, Ardmore, PA, class of 1955. Because our father John was a Penn State electrical engineer (class of 1929), he told Jack that he could go to any college he wanted, as long as it was Penn State, and he could major in any discipline he wanted as long as it was engineering. Jack was a chemical engineer at Penn State (class of 1959) and used his writing talents as a sports reporter for the Daily Collegian campus newspaper, where he worked 40 hours a week, all in moderation.


        Jack had polio when he was a kid in California and suffered leg paralysis while in the throes of the disease. We used to visit him by talking through a small barred outside window into his hospital room. Jack had leg problems as an aftermath of his bout with polio, and had some difficulties walking and running. I remember the day, some years later, at the Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC that Jack beat me in a running race. Our parents weren’t neutral about this race between their children. They were almost in tears because Jack had come so far. Later on, of course, Jack played lots of tennis, hiked long trails worldwide, jogged, skied downhill and cross country, and cycled the ups and downs of Colorado, all, of course, done in moderation.


        Jack was extremely (no pun intended) family oriented and was the glue that kept us all together. Jack was blessed with a wonderful immediate family: JoAnn, Julie, John, and Joan, although he would be quick to point out that it wasn’t luck. He was also a doting grandfather for Elizabeth, Jane, and Jillian. He held periodic family reunions in Disneyworld, Thanksgiving gatherings in a variety of locations, and, more recently, reunions in Cape May, NJ. Jack also made frequent visits with members of the family. Jack was the founder of the Sibnet, a vast email network of extended family members that has been a wonderful resource for keeping our geographically dispersed membership close in spirit. Who can forget some of the classic emails that came from his handle, “J the S”? His handle expands to “Jack the Sailor”; every family has its mysteries.


        Jack celebrated life! He and JoAnn traveled the world over, quite a lot of it on foot. Thankfully, we have been able to share their experiences though the aforementioned Travels with Jack and JoAnn ( I heard an old song on the radio the other day: Nobody Does it Better, and I immediately thought: nobody did it better than Jack.



        Bill McArthur  04/05/04