Jack Alan Lancaster passed away at his home in Stillwater, on Oct. 22, 2013, at the age of 63. He was born on May 3, 1950, in Alva, to Chester “Chet” and Goldie F. (Schmitt) Lancaster. He was the third of four children born to this marriage. The birth of this son was a pride and joy to his parents and two sisters.
He attended the first 12 years at the Alva Public Schools. Under the guidance of his former elementary principal and mentor, Mr. Lee Haley, he was offered an opportunity to write an essay.
This assignment ignited his love for writing. In high school, he excelled as a letterman in baseball, basketball and football, serving as co-captain in both his football and basketball teams.
He played American Legion baseball for several years, and was usually found shooting basketballs endlessly in his driveway at the family home, often with his close cousin and friend.
After graduating high school in 1968, Jack obtained a bachelor of arts degree in social science/education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1972, and a master of science degree in mass communication at Oklahoma State University in 1991.
His professional journalism experience began in 1973 as a sports editor with the Alva Review Courier, and from 1974-1982 as sports editor, and then managing editor, for the Elk City Daily News in Elk City. From 1982-2008, he proudly was the news adviser at The Daily O’Collegian at Oklahoma State University.
In 1991, he received the nation’s top media adviser’s award for four-year universities; in 2000, he received the Beachy Musselman Award from the Oklahoma Press Association for his years of service to newspapers; in 2004, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame; in 2006, he was recognized as Outstanding Graduate Alumnus at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Although his journalism career was marked by many achievements and awards, Jack, ever the teacher, said “the awards were nice, but the most gratifying thing was just getting to work with student journalists. Watching the light bulb go off when they really got a grasp of what they were doing, and what they were supposed to do … that was the most wonderful reward.”
In 2002, Jack purchased Stables, a sports bar adjacent to the OSU campus. The personal historical memorabilia perfectly displayed reminds us of the loyalty of an OSU retired journalism adviser, who loved OSU, called Jack.
A former student and close friend summed up Jack with “a sharp, steady mind and big heart” and a unique sense of humor. His was a life well lived and “his impact is immeasurable.”
Jack was predeceased by his parents and baby brother, Stephen DeWayne.
Survivors include two sisters, Shirley Reed and Sharon Andrews; one brother-in-law, Dick Andrews; five nieces: Debra and Ron, Jennifer, Diane and Craig, Sharilyn and Tolbert, and Dayna and Steve; one nephew, David and Miriam; six great-nephews: Chet, Troy, Reed, Bryce, Case and Jack; four great-nieces: Jennilyn, Madelyn, Jacqueline, and Claire; one great-great niece, Emma; special cousins: Art and Marcile Lancaster, Trudy and Bill Lancaster, Jeff Silvertooth, and Peggy and Max Lancaster; three aunts and one uncle, several other cousins and numerous former students of OSU; loyal Stables manager, Therresa Hartman, staff and loyal patrons; special friends: Lee and Mary Haley, and Richard Kelley; and former boss, Fritz Wirt.
A memorial service will be held on Monday at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Stillwater. A graveside service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday in the Alva Municipal Cemetery with Rev. Ron Pingelton, of Alva First Christian Church, officiating. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in honor of Jack to the OSU Foundation at P.O. Box 258818, Oklahoma City, OK, 73125-8818. Donors may also contribute online at OSUgiving.com/GiveNow, or by calling 800-622-4678.
Condolences may be sent to the family and an online obituary viewed by visiting strodefh.com.