John (Jack) Edward Rookstool of Three Rivers, Calif., passed away Thursday, December 12, 2019. He was 95.
Jack was born June 23, 1924, in Cleveland, Oklahoma, to John and Gladys Rookstool. He was the youngest of six children.
We remember and honor a man who lived a life of joy and gratitude – for his faith, his family, his friends, and his home. He served his church and others with generosity, offering a helping hand to anyone in need. He felt his many blessings should be shared with others.
Jack served in the US Navy as a radar operator in the South Pacific during World War II. Following the war, he embarked on a long career as a Los Angeles City firefighter. He distinguished himself not only on the line, but as an exemplary pie-maker – one reason his chief assigned him to fire stations close to the battalion headquarters. Jack always said that the highlight of his career was when he served as Captain of the Helicopter Unit and Air Officer for the City of Los Angeles.
Early in his career, he met the love of his life, Carol Powell. During their 65-year marriage, Jack and Carol were blessed with two daughters, Debbie and Diana, and later three grandchildren: Alexandra, Sydney, and Jordan. He was proud of his daughters’ independent spirits and untraditional childhood as he taught them “how to shovel dirt, clear brush, ride trail bikes, and work the cattle.”
In 1965, Jack made the momentous decision to purchase acreage on the South Fork of the Kaweah River in Three Rivers. After building his home in 1980, he retired to “The Rookstool Ranch,” where he began raising Black Angus beef cattle. For three decades, he served as ditch master of the South Fork Ditch, making sure water flowed to his neighbors along the irrigation ditch.
Jack came from a humble background and loved the simple life – attending church, camping, watching western movies, swinging on his porch swing while watching the local wildlife, and just plain visiting with folks.
He was a regular on Taco Tuesdays at the Riverview and at the senior exercise classes, which he attended faithfully for 35 years! And in his humility, he enjoyed sharing what he had with others – whether it was operating a tractor or a log splitter, or sharing the bushels of fresh corn he would buy each summer and distribute to friends. He served for several years as a deacon at the Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.
Jack was a true family man who treasured time with his loved ones and delighted in their company, especially when family gatherings brought everyone home to the ranch no matter where they lived in the world. He loved the Three Rivers community and often remarked to his family that, “There isn’t a better place on earth to live than on the South Fork.”
Jack is survived by his wife, Carol; his daughter, Debbie Rookstool, and husband David Bredesen of Three Rivers, California; his daughter, Diana Rookstool, and husband Jay Dewitt of Marina, California; and his grandchildren, Alexandra Stampher and husband Cameron Jackson, Sydney Stampher and husband Tedsuya Matsuda, and Jordan Dewitt.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, January 25, at 10 a.m. at Community Presbyterian Church, 43410 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers, Calif.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the donor’s favorite charity.