Jack L. Rasmussen, age 97, passed away peacefully on February 1, 2018 with his family and friends by his side.
Jack was born in Ludington on Aug 26, 1920, the son of Hans and Ann Rasmussen. Jack’s grandparents immigrated from Denmark, his father Hans along with brother Russell started Elmhurst Dairy on the family farm in Pere Marquette township, where Jack grew up. Jack attended the one room school, Sutton School, about ¾ mile from the farm. He was a good student and went on to graduate from high school at age 16, then Michigan State University. During his time there he was in ROTC, (Reserve Officers’ Training Corp). When WWII was declared, his advancement ROTC allowed him to graduate. After Army aviator training, he was sent to the 767th Field Artillery Battalion in Texas, flying Piper Cubs. His unit went to Le Havre, France, then moved across the Rhine until the war ended.
After the war, Jack graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1949. On August 14, 1948, prior to graduation, he married Shirley Lagesen. In 1951, he was called up as an individual active reservist, sent for H-13 helicopter training and then to Korea where he joined the 25th Lightening Division holding the “Punchbowl/Heartbreak Ridge” area alongside the First Marine Division. His duty was to fly L-19 spotter planes adjusting artillery fire, and an H-13 helicopter primarily to fly “brass” in and out of the front-line bunkers. Jack received many service metals from both WWII and Korea: The Bronze Star, The Air Metal, and wore the Cross Canons on his lapel which he was very proud of.
Inspired by his Uncle Andy, also a Veteran, Jack became part of a proud group of Veterans that place flags on all Mason County Veterans graves prior to Memorial Day celebrations. A tradition that he carried on for more than 60 years up to and including 2017.
Upon return from Korea he ventured into business, managing Atkinson Manufacturing Corp. in Ludington, Michigan. He eventually purchased the company which he ran successfully until selling the business to Vermont American Corp. in 1980. Upon retirement he remained active in many local and national business ventures.
Jack served on various boards of directors in Ludington: the Ludington Bank and Trust board for 27 years, the board of the Metalworks Corporation, the board of Great Lakes Casting Corp, and the Economic Development Board of Mason County. Jack was a past president and longest living member at Lincoln Hills Country Club and was honored in Ft. Myers, FL on March 16, 2014, receiving the Key to the City along with a Shadowbox for his service to the United States of America.
After retirement he and Shirley spent many winters in Florida and summers in Ludington. Jack and Shirley set up a special scholarship fund, on behalf of their son Craig, for students at West Shore Community College who qualify for aid. They commissioned a sculpture for the “Mason County Sculpture Trail” in the Maritime Museum area of the community, called the “Abby” after the schooner ship built by Jack’s grandfather, Rasmus Rasmussen in 1886. The ship was a transportation vessel on the Great Lakes and the last Great Lakes schooner built in the Ludington harbor. Jack enjoyed playing tennis, golf, skiing and biking all of which he did well in to his 80’s, except biking with his last ride being this last November.
Jack is survived by his wife of almost 70 years, Shirley Rasmussen; sons, Tom (Gale) Rasmussen, their son Bryan of Traverse City, MI and Steve (Ann Marie) Rasmussen, their daughter Annika of Knoxville, TN; sister-in-law Audrey Wilson of East Lansing, MI; nephews, John (Anita) Wilson and Jim (Rhonda) Rasmussen of Ludington, MI: nieces, Mary Ann (Phillip) Reed of Louisville, KY; and Mary (Mark) Vander Bolle of Oak Harbor, WA.
Preceding Jack in death are his parents, Hans and Ann Rasmussen; brother Roger; son, Craig; and grandson, Casey.
Jack will be missed by all of his family and many friends from Ludington, Florida, Epworth and beyond. Jack and Shirley were members of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Ft. Myers, Florida and attended the Epworth Church in Ludington, Michigan. Jack was also a part of the Stephens Ministry.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Mason County Veterans’ Endowment Fund, Ludington Youth Sailing School or any other charity that will have a direct effect on your local community.
Please share your fond memories and photos of Jack at www.OakGroveFH.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center of Ludington.