OREGON – John Darvin “Jack” Basler, 84, of Oregon, died Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, at Mount Morris Pinecrest Terrace Alzheimer’s unit.
He was born Feb. 2, 1929, in Oconomowoc, Wis., to John Henry and Marion Grace (Hatch) Basler. When Jack was 4 years old, his family moved to Oregon, when his father accepted an engineering position at the Carnation Co. Jack graduated from Oregon High School in 1948, where he lettered in football, basketball and track, as well as spending a great deal of time dating his future bride, Betty Mae Rosenberg Basler. After graduation, Jack started to work for Abe Hess with Gulf Oil Co. in Oregon, driving a fuel oil delivery truck full time. During high school, Jack worked for Abe part time, as well as numerous other part time jobs, including butcher assistant and grocery delivery boy. In 1948, Jack also joined the Oregon Fire Department, where he would serve for the next 38 years. On Oct. 26, 1950, Jack married his high school sweetheart, Betty, in a small ceremony on the Rosenberg family farm in Oregon.
In 1951, Jack’s Illinois National Guard unit was called to serve in the Korean War. He went to Fort Benning, Ga., for basic training prior to being shipped overseas to Korea for active duty. Jack served 2 years in Korea, receiving two battlefield commissions and rising to the rank of Sergeant First Class with the Fifth Infantry, Intelligence division. While in Korea, Jack was awarded the Bronze Star, Korean Service, Republic of Korea Korean War Service, Army Good Conduct, Korean Defense Service, United Nations Korean Service, Army National Guard Achievement, and the National Defense Service medals. After the war, Jack returned to Oregon and resumed his work at Gulf Oil Co., while supporting a growing family.
In 1964, Jack bought the Gulf Oil Distribution Service from Abe, expanding the business to include the purchase of Rochelle Oil Co., where he would work until his retirement in 1998. Upon his retirement, Jack was given a testimonial by the Illinois Petroleum Marketing Association for his 50 years in the oil business. Jack was a member of First Presbyterian Church. During his life, Jack always saw community service as a way to contribute to the town he called home, as well as the many people that helped him during his life. As well as the Oregon Fire Department, Jack also served as one of the first crew members to a newly established Oregon Ambulance Service. He was an Oregon auxiliary police officer. He was a member of American Legion Post 97, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8739, Ogle County Fair Board, and Rochelle Lions Club. He also was Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troup 52. When asked several years ago to relate one of the things he was most proud of, he stated being on the Building Committee for the new Oregon First Presbyterian Church in 1978, after the 125-year-old building was lost to a fire.
Grateful for having shared in his life are his wife, Betty; four children, Jeffrey Basler (Cindy Kowa) of Oregon, Robb Basler (Terri Zolondek) of Crystal Lake, Jennifer Bakener (Dave) of Oregon, and Janna Bredeson (Dave) of Columbia, Mo.; 11 grandchildren, Jaci Basler-Heather, Kim Basler, Megan Basler Ries, Adam Bakener, Jon Bakener, Gena Basler, Ken Schwartz, Alicia Labash, Steve Schwartz, Jackson Bredeson and Jamison Bredeson; and six great-grandchildren, Elisabeth Ries, Adyson Basler-Heather, Brandon Bakener, Carter Ries, Garrett Bakener and Ashyr Basler-Heather.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Frank, Dale, and Clyde, sister, Merlene (Griffin); and stepsister, Barbara Beckington.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today at First Presbyterian Church, 200 S. Fifth St., Oregon. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home in Oregon is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church in Oregon and Good Samaritan Fund at Pinecrest Manor in Mount Morris.
Visit www.farrellhollandgale.com to send condolences.