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Rangeland Real Estate

John James 'Jack' Searle Jr.


February 25, 2019

IRONWOOD, Mich. - John James "Jack" Searle Jr, 91, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, surrounded by family.

He was born to John James Searle Sr. and Dorothy (Hewitt) on Sept. 10, 1927, in Ironwood. He was the oldest of three brothers.

Jack attended Central School in Ironwood, graduating from L.L.Wright High School in 1945. At 17 years old, he enlisted in the US Navy immediately after graduation, serving 3 years overseas in European waters working as a baker. After returning to Ironwood, he perfected his baking skills enrolling in the Dunwoody Institute, Minneapolis, Minn.

On May 2, 1953, Jack married the love of his life Rita Ann Lesco at Holy Trinity Church in Ironwood. They would have celebrated 66 years together this year.

Jack managed several local bakeries until owning and operating the Royal Bakery at its Cloverland Drive location until his retirement in 1990. He was well known in the area for his delicious breads, pastries, and cakes of all kinds. He was an incredibly hard worker. In addition to many long and early hours in the baking trade, he took on additional jobs painting or roofing houses.

In his early years, he was a cornet player and a member of the Ironwood City Band and Salvation Army band. In his later years, spending time with his brother Archie at the camp was a regular routine. Together they enjoyed making a good wood pile, just a trip to feed the birds, and maybe a shot of their favorite blackberry brandy. In addition, winter vacations at Siesta Key and summers at his Echo Lake cottage were times of relaxation with friends and family.

Jack is survived by his beloved wife, Rita; daughters, Jane (Gary) Gruenke and Barbara Frisk (Gerry Gripper); grandchildren, Beth (Bryce) Haley, Kimberly Carlson, J.T. Federico, and Laura Federico; great-grandchildren, Ella and Ruby Haley; sister-in-law, Rose Searle, and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Archie and Richard.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church on Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m. with Fr. Robb Jurkovich as celebrant, preceded by a visitation from 10-11 a.m.

Full military rites will be accorded by the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard.

Burial will take place in the spring at Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul.

The most important part of Jack's life was family. Although he had many favorite expressions, the most memorable and frequently used expression was "I wonder what the poor people are doing". He wasn't referring to money. He knew he was a wealthy man when he could be with his wife and family. He has set that example for us all.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude for the exceptional care given to Jack by the entire staff at Villa Maria Health and Rehab Center during the last 2 years.

McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, Ironwood, is assisting the family.

For more information or to express online condolences, visit


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