The bridge builder has moved on, but his structures and legacy remain firmly in place. John Andrew “Jack” Falk, 88, passed peacefully Tuesday Oct. 24.
John was an obedient son, a loyal friend, and a loving father. He was also a master gardener, entrepreneur, steel fabricator, mentor, and a proud grandfather. A dedicated provider, he taught his children the value of hard work and much more.
John was born in Eden, Idaho in the family farmhouse to Emil Sigurd and Florence J. McCaslin Falk on Aug. 1, 1929. A pioneer family in the area, their home would not have indoor plumbing until seven years later, and “Jackie” was accustomed to working in the fields and herding cattle long before he was old enough to attend school.
He delighted his children with stories of swimming in the cooleys, exploring clay caves, and climbing trees to search owl nests. One of the highlights of his life was when his dad finally relented and allowed him to play football for Eden High School his senior year.
John was tough as nails his entire life, epitomized by his play as a fullback who relished every carry and throwing every block on the dirt playing field for his young coach, Terrel “T” Bell, who would go on to become the Secretary of Education in the Ronald Reagan administration.
Dad loved football throughout his life and would often travel many miles to watch his children and grandchildren play. Following the Wazoo Cougs and his grandson was his most recent favorite passion. Go Cougs!
He attended New Mexico Institute of Mining Technology, Idaho State University, and served in the US Army Corp of Engineers during the Korean War. John lived and worked in southern California before marrying Evelyn Louise Hargrove in La Feria, Texas in 1955.
Together they raised 6 children before divorcing many years later. John worked at several jobs initially to support his young family before discovering his gift as a steel fabricator. His talent and hard work led him to a career managing several large structural steel companies in Pocatello, Denver, and Salt Lake City.
He also started and owned Idaho Bridge and Iron, and although the business ultimately failed his reputation as a master bridge and structural steel builder continued to grow. Many of his bridges and structures in southeast Idaho and western Colorado will still be around many years from now.
John’s greatest legacy is his family, and his children will always remember the summer treks to Redfish Lake, British Columbia, Glacier Park, southern California, and much more. He played the piano, built homes, sheds, fences and rabbit pens, loved his card and board games with the family, made great ice cream, and sacrificed much throughout his life for his children and grandchildren.
He was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Pocatello and ran for political office as a state representative. Later in his life, Grandpa Jack’s birthday and Christmas cards were often accompanied by a generous cash donation that both shocked and delighted his grandkids.
He continued to work hard his entire life, caring for his mother until her death and taking on small steel fab jobs for Mountain Home Air Force base as a self-employed contractor well into his eighties.
John is survived by his children John Falk, Eric (Stacie Rasmussen) Falk, Jennifer (Mark Matheson) Falk, Michael Falk, Sam (Isabel Cervantes) Falk, Jeanne (Jason Hone) Falk, and sister Jo Ryan. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Sharon Lea Hedden.
Friends and family are invited to attend a brief funeral celebration of Jack’s life and legacy Monday, Oct. 30 in Burley, Idaho at 1:00 p.m.
Services will be held at the Presbyterian Church on 2100 Burton Avenue in Burley, followed by internment at the Burley cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel, in Mountain Home.
The family would like to thank the staff at the William E Christoffersen Salt Lake City Veterans Home for their loving care. In lieu of gifts and flowers, please consider a gift to a worthy charity.