John Meredith

John Meredith Obituary

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Age - 75

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August 26, 2023

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Fort Wayne, IN

John William (Jack) Meredith of Fort Wayne, IN, passed away from complications of stomach cancer on Friday, August 18, surrounded by his family. Jack was born February 24, 1948, in Johnstown, PA, second son and third child of Isaac Milton and Myrna Louise (Roberts) Meredith. Jack grew up in Cleveland, OH. He was on the wrestling team at West Tech High School and was an active member of Sokol Ceska Sin gymnastics team, whose annual Bike Hike events have been a highlight of many years since. He was an excellent student and graduated as a member of the West Tech winter class of 1966. Jack attended Brevard Junior College in Florida and graduated with a B. Ch. E. degree from The Ohio State University in 1971. He liked to tell the story that when the guidance counselor came to him and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Chemical Engineer was the hardest thing he could come up with. Jack never walked away from a challenge. His first job out of college was as a Chemical Engineer with Kodak in Rochester, NY. In addition to his work responsibilities, he took photography and photo processing classes as part of his orientation to his new company. Jack met his wife Jane in Washington, DC, in 1972 on a blind date engineered by his older brother Bruce, who was one of Jane’s bosses at the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. He won her heart by taking her to the National Zoo on their second date. By their third weekend together they were engaged, and they married four months later in April of 1973. Jack traveled to DC all but three of the intervening weekends, and Jane to Rochester two of those. In between their weekend meetups, Jack used his new skills, along with free darkroom, chemicals, and paper, and printed the photos they took the weekend before to bring with him to DC the next weekend. These remain some of their most treasured photographs. After moving to Maryland and marrying Jane, Jack began Masters Degree work at University of Maryland, and earned his MBA degree in 1974. Jack then worked as a chemical engineer for PPG in Barberton, OH, for two years, followed by two years as a chemical and environmental engineer for Centec in Northern Virginia. Sensing that engineering was not a passion, just a challenge met, he decided to take Jane up on partnering to become business manager for her fledgling stained glass studio. Over the next three decades, under his expert management, Meredith Glass Specialties not only grew its design and fabrication staff into a highly regarded commission studio but became the largest wholesaler and retailer of stained glass supplies in the mid-Atlantic region. Its extensive instruction program introduced several thousand students to basic stained glass design and fabrication skills, as well as advanced flat and warm glass techniques, and sandblasted etched and carved glass art. Adding Jack’s management, accounting, and construction skills to Jane’s teaching and design skills made for a strong partnership in work as well as in life. They were very active in helping to establish and support the National Capital Art Glass Guild. The commission studio was a go-to resource for architects, interior designers, kitchen cabinet companies, and general contractors throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area and beyond. After living in the DC Metropolitan area for 35 years, having closed their art glass supply business in 2001, and feeling the financial stress of trying to live there on two variable arts incomes, Jack and Jane decided to follow their older daughter and grandkids to Fort Wayne, IN. With the housing crash and resulting recession in full swing, and after a period without work, Jack put to work some of the house remodeling skills he’d acquired rehabbing his own family’s homes over the years. "Jack of All Trades" was born - first a handyman service doing some of everything, then gradually becoming a professional contracting service specializing in rehabbing old houses, especially floors and windows. He became a much sought-after professional in the historic neighborhoods of Fort Wayne, especially his own beloved neighborhood of West Central in downtown Fort Wayne, as well as a favorite referral for Fort Wayne’s Historic Preservation Office for repairing and rebuilding old window sashes. Jack has also continued to work on his own home and those of his daughters. He particularly enjoyed mentoring his daughter Jody and his grandson Owen in construction skills, as well as mentoring assistants who have worked with him in Jack of All Trades. His legacy in the West Central neighborhood, in particular, will carry far beyond his lifetime in dozens of houses where his skills are evident. He continued to work for clients up until a few weeks before his death. He has often said he’s enjoyed this last fifteen years’ work the most, working with his hands and making run-down and damaged homes into beautiful living spaces. Jack spoke about how wonderful it made him feel seeing his finished work, but more importantly he valued the smiles and gratitude of the clients that had hired him to do it. The referrals spoke for themselves, as Jack never had to market his skills due to the incredible word-of-mouth reputation he maintained. Above everything else, Jack valued family. He was his family’s rock, providing stability and security for his wife and daughters, and forming deep bonds with them and with each of his grandchildren. He was his daughters’ closest confidante, nurturing and guiding them, and being their sounding board and greatest cheerleader. He will be long-remembered by family, friends, employees, neighbors and clients for his kindness, his sense of humor, his generosity, his teacher’s heart, his remarkable work ethic, and his warm, affirming spirit. In his free time, Jack has always found great pleasure in gardening. From vegetables to flowers to trees, his handiwork has graced all his family’s homes. His garden in West Central was his final joyful work. Weeks before his passing, he looked out on his garden and remarked that he’d always wanted a beautiful backyard, and now he had it. Jack was preceded in death by his mother and father. He is survived by his wife of 50 years Jane (Ferguson) Meredith, his daughters Jenna Shock (Jamison) and Jordyn Roemer, his grandchildren Owen Sanders, Mackenzie Sanders, Jacqueline Sanders, William Roemer, Ike Roemer, Justin Shock (Briana), Tyler Shock, Olivia Shock, and Amber Shock, great grandson Everett Shock, brother Bruce Meredith (Debbie), sisters Grace Kinese (Stan--deceased) and Carolyn Galloway (Randy), and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service is planned at Plymouth UCC Congregational Church of Fort Wayne on September 24, followed by a grand life celebration party at Quimby Hall in Fort Wayne. The memorial service will be live-streamed on the church’s YouTube channel, and will be available to view for a few weeks after. Schedule information and links will follow in a few days. In lieu of flowers, honorariums can be directed in his memory to Habitat for Humanity (www. HabitatForHumanity. com) or Humane Fort Wayne Animal Clinic (formerly H. O. P. E. for Animals, a low-cost spay/neuter and wellness clinic for pets in Fort Wayne at www. HumaneFW. org).

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