Jack was born Jan. 30, 1939 in Bloomington to Bert Halstead and Lena Francis Ray.
He graduated from Bloomington High School in 1956 and immediately enlisted in the Navy, where he was an Electronics Technician First Class for four years.
Upon return he attended Indiana University for a year, studying mathematics, and took a job as a lead electronics troubleshooter at RCA Bloomington until 1969, when he began doing contract work repairing computers for Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and other agencies until taking early retirement due to illness in 2002.
He will be remembered by all who knew him for his light spirit and wicked sense of humor; for his spectacular whistling skills, which always told you he was coming; for his genuine love of kids; his silly songs and song parodies; the stories he loved to tell neighborhood kids, like the way he was born part-lizard, part human. He would always flick his tongue at just the right moment for effect. He became a father to many, regularly taking in others' children in moments of need, sharing both his home and his family. He loved to tell them, "I'll be your dad." He loved to carry the little ones to bed at night, one by one.
Even when his kids reached adulthood, with careers and families of their own, he continued to do the little things, like leaving a small bag of assorted groceries with a $20 bill tucked inside on their front doorknobs while they were out.
Jack never passed a candy counter or Slurpee machine that he (and the kids) didn't like. He loved to cook hot dogs and corn on his grill. He loved to reminisce about his time in the Navy and exploring all those exotic foreign ports. He loved having coffee at Hardee's with his best friend Fred. He loved his motorcycles and cars, especially his diesel Chevette. He loved making sweets, like peanut butter fudge and fruit pies.
And for the last quarter century he loved most of all his time with his beloved Mae: Their trips antiquing and investigating weekend festivals across the region; their walks around their Spencer neighborhood; motorcycling all over Monroe county's back country; or riding the horse and buggy through McCormick's Creek Park.
And finally, her steady, 24-hour care over his difficult 10-year decline.
Survivors include his wife Mae; three children from his first marriage: son Jack Halstead (Erica) of Martinsville, daughters Michelle Crouch (Ivan) and Angela Cannon (Jeff) of Bloomington; stepchildren Joe Davis (Sherry) and Tim Davis (Tiffany), both of Wayne City, Ill. and Tammy Davis-Mandell (R.D.) of Anchorage, Alaska; 10 grandchildren; sisters Beverly Summitt (Bob) of Stinesville and Patricia Ann Halstead of Gosport; and brothers Roy "Bud" Halstead and Robert "Bob" Halstead of Bedford.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Violet and Betty; four brothers, Monte, Jerry, George and Lester, and son Anthony Dale Halstead, who died in infancy in 1966.
After cremation, a memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, at Faith Community Church in Dugger.
Information on the debilitating effects of Spinocerebellar Ataxia and what can be done to help are available from the National Ataxia Foundation at http://www.ataxia.org/.
Arrangements are being handled by Welch & Cornett Funeral Home in Linton. Online condolences can be made at www.welchcornett.com.