Jack Exline Fields
March 1, 2022
EWEN, Mich. - Jack Exline Fields, long time Ewen resident and World War II U.S. Navy veteran, passed away peacefully at the grand age of 96. Since June 2021, he has been in the loving and compassionate care of the Marquette County Medical Care Facility in Ishpeming. On Monday, Feb. 21, 2022, he bid farewell to his children, picked up his favorite fishing pole and shotgun, and walked off along the bank of the South Branch of the Ontonagon River to hunt and fish for all eternity. And maybe, check a trap line or two.
Jack was born Jan. 13, 1926, in Cincinnati, Iowa, to the late William Carl Fields and Opal Pearl (Exline) Fields. At the age of 3, he moved with his family to Wheaton, Illinois, where his father owned and operated a barbershop in the downtown area. Jack spent his young years cultivating his love for hunting, fishing, trapping and repairing old cars on the Hesterman farm where the family lived on Butterfield Road. Always the free spirit, he spent more time pursuing these passions than attending school.
He left school after the 10th grade in 1943 to enlist in the Navy. Like most young men of the time, he was very patriotic and wanted to serve his country. He did his basic training at the U.S. Naval Training Station in Farragut, Idaho. He served aboard the troop transport, the General J.R. Brooke, in the South Pacific, and the USS DeLong, a destroyer escort, in the North Atlantic. He was on the DeLong headed to Japan when they got news the war was over. He held the rank of fireman 1st class when honorably discharged on April 1, 1946.
After the war, he worked in the construction trades operating heavy equipment in Wheaton. In the fall of 1947, he headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to deer hunt. It was on this trip that he met Virginia Popps, and they fell in love and were married on March 15, 1948, in Wheaton.
They lived in Wheaton for a short while before moving to Ewen so he could hunt, fish, and trap to his heart's content. He loved the outdoors, and Ewen had plenty of that. His natural talent (never had any formal training) as an auto and small engine mechanic helped him earn a living over the years. He worked as a bus mechanic and bus driver for the Ewen and Ewen-Trout Creek School systems, and was a bus driver when he retired in 1990.
He spent his retirement years happy as can be; hunting and fishing and repairing lawnmowers and the occasional car. He always had a garden and loved to share his produce with family and friends He was never still, always active. I remember asking him on his 90th birthday what he was going to do for the day and he said "go snowshoeing." That was Jack to the very end. Did what he wanted when he wanted and enjoyed every day like it was his last.
Jack has moved on to be with his wife, parents and sisters, Allice (Bill) Breeding and Wanda (Lyndon) Kelley.
Jack leaves behind his very dear family: son, Randy (Carol) Fields, of Omaha, Nebraska, and their children, Nicholas (Liz) Fields and their children Imogen, Oliver and Reid, of Ocala, Florida, Brandi, and Stephanie (Tyler) Roberts and their daughter, Allison, of Omaha; two daughters, Dianne (George) Hardes and their children Kory, Danielle (Tom) Richardson and their children Zoey Hardes, Madesyn and Kelsey Jilek, all of Ewen, and Jacki (John) Carlson, of Ishpeming, and their daughter, Emily, of Boston, Massachusetts; a sister, Mary Ann (Wayne) Moriarty, of Gillette, Wyoming; a very special nephew, Patrick (Jackie) Kelley, Des Moines, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews.
Jack was cremated, and a family gathering to celebrate his life is being planned for this summer.
Cane Funeral Home in Ontonagon is assisting the family
Fair winds and following seas Mr. Fields. We have the watch.