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Fair with Haze 31°
S 8 mph
Jack Chalekian, 87, of Kenosha passed away peacefully with his loving family at his side on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, at Hospice House in Pleasant Prairie after battling cancer.
Jack was born in Racine on Oct. 10, 1924, to Gulbank and Armenuhe Chalekian. He graduated from Horlick High School and attended Milwaukee Area Technical College. He enlisted and served in the Navy during World War II, was assigned to the South Pacific, and survived suicide attacks on his aircraft carrier, the USS Kadashan Bay, during fierce fighting in the Marshall Islands and the liberation of the Philippines.
On Oct. 17, 1953, Jack married Martha Falduto of Kenosha at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. He worked as a heavy equipment operator throughout Wisconsin until his retirement in 1988. He was a 58 year member of Local 139 International Union of Operating Engineers, supporting his union by actively participating in their monthly meetings and events until his death.
Throughout his life Jack was an active outdoorsman and hobbyist. In addition to being an expert gardener, he gathered wild nuts, fruit, mushrooms and other foodstuffs according to the season for cooking and canning by his wife, Martha. He was a great fisherman who often gave his catch away to family and friends. In addition, Jack could always be counted on to "fix anything". A highly skilled handyman, he would tackle repair projects for anyone who asked and wouldn't quit until things were fixed. His strong mechanical skills were also reflected in his hobby of building model aircraft. This passion started as a teenager racing tethered and early jet engine planes. Later in life, he re-kindled this interest adapting to remote controlled technology and building detailed original models from salvaged materials.
Jack was a member of Mt Carmel Catholic Church. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Martha; his two sons, Jack Chalekian (Diane Haase) of Bradenton, Fla., and John G (Kathy) Chalekian of Prospect Heights, Ill.; four grandchildren, Melissa, Jennifer, Kimberly and Bryan; one great-granddaughter, Jaclyn; one brother, Harry A Chalekian of Carson City, Nev.; nieces, Irene Nahabedian and Joan (Jody) Spencer of Racine; nephew, Paul Chalekian of Baltimore, Md,; and close friends, Frank and Caroline Gagliardi of Kenosha. His survivors also include beloved in-laws and relatives in the Falduto family.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Cetina Nahabedian, and his brother, James M. Chalekian.
Jack was a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle and brother. He put his family first and was an inspiration to both family and friends because of his intense loyalty. He will be deeply missed by all who were part of his life.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m. at St Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, 4605 Erie Street, in Racine. Interment will be private. A visitation will be held at the church on Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass.