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Dr. John James (“Jack”) Karkosak, age 82 of Boyne City, MI, passed away peacefully at his home on February 10, 2023 surrounded by his family, after an 11 year battle with lung cancer. He could not have been more loved.
Jack was born February 13, 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio to John Joseph and Mary (Sidor) Karkosak. He had a natural curiosity and love of learning that began in the woods surrounding his home, where he first learned to identify over 400 species of birds and their songs, a skill that continued to impress his children and grandchildren decades later. He had a quirky and quick wit, was the master of puns, and had a long line of obscure accomplishments to his credit, including earning the highest score in the Midwest Region on the National Latin Exam, winning road rally races in New England, and working on the Atlas missile program with early champions and developers of the American space program such as Kraft Ehricke.
Jack graduated from the University of Detroit, earning his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. While there, he was a member of the St. Francis Club, the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences and the Society of American Military Engineers, and served on the Student Council of Engineering and Architecture. He earned his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, he was research assistant for Professor Myron Hoffman, and conducted research on nuclear fusion that was sponsored by NASA. He later co-authored a paper with Prof. Hoffman on magnetohydrodynamics that appeared in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal, and was cited at an international symposium in Salzburg, Austria, jointly hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Nuclear Energy Agency.
Post-graduation, Jack served as a Lieutenant and then Captain in the United States Army, specializing in Ordnance and participating in the Aviation Laboratory at Fort Lee, Virginia. He later served in Vietnam, assuming command of the 19th Maintenance Company and overseeing logistics. He consistently credited the Army with instilling him with duty, respect, honor, discipline and timeliness.
Upon returning from Vietnam, Jack made the decision that would change his life: he married our mother, Rosemary Swartz, on April 12, 1969. Although they shared a dislike of the word “soulmate,” together they modeled what a relationship should be: committed, caring, challenging each other, and always pursuing the road less traveled. For their entire marriage, they shared faith and adventures, and taught each of their children that the journey is more important than the destination.
Jack later returned to school to study medicine, graduating from Michigan State University with a Doctor of Osteopathy Degree. From there, he began his medical practice in Boyne City, retiring in 2008. Jack appreciated the years of service he was able to provide to his patients, and kept in touch with many of them after retirement. He also greatly appreciated the many years that he worked with Mrs. Norma Doyal.
Jack is survived by his wife of 53 years, Rosemary, children Julie (Will Polleys), John (Nathalie Sirois), Susan, Jim, Jill (Aaron Taylor), and Beth (Kyle Lieberman); grandchildren Madelyn, Bailey, Jack, John James, Madison, Mikaëlle, Manuel, Noah, Ben, Grace, Annabelle, and Hunter; niece Laurel Jernigan, and nephews Ron, Scott, and Dean Perreman, and Ken and Tim Waggoner. He is preceded in death by his son, John James, and his son-in-law Scott Wickiser (husband of Susan). He will be missed beyond measure, but will live on in every funny story that we tell.
Visitation will be at Stackus Funeral Home in Boyne City on Friday, February 17, 2023, from 6 to 8 p.m. with a Vigil service at 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will take place at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Boyne City at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, 2023, with visitation at the church from 10 to 11 a.m. In honor of Jack, the family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made in his memory to: Little Traverse Conservancy or United Plant Savers.org.
Arrangements are in the care of Stackus Funeral Home.
Little Traverse Conservancy
3264 Powell Road, Harbor Springs MI 49770
United Plant Savers
PO Box 147, Rutland OH 45775