Jack DeJong departed our world on Nov. 1, 2012, at the Hospice of the Foothills in Grass Valley, Calif. Born Feb. 21, 1929, to Margaret and Williiam DeJong from Holland and immigrated to the U.S. in 1908. Jack was the last survivor of six siblings, raised in Hayward, CA.
He met his wife Donna at Oakland Tech High school where he was an active member of the gymnastics team. They married in 1949 and Jack started his carpenter apprenticeship. As a journeyman, he worked for Batista Construction and built dozens of homes in San Leandro hills at Bay-O-Vista. He also built homes for his family in Fremont, Castro Valley, Oakland and Incline Village, Nev., and became a licensed contractor in 1980.
The last home he built was in Incline Village where Jack and Donna resided for 13 years before relocating to Grass Valley in 1997.
Jack is survived by his wife Donna and four daughters, Kathleen De Jong Wilson, Connie DeJong, Lyn Reason and Debra Emplit, who were with him in his last days. He was blessed with seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who gave him the name of “Great Papa.”
Jack’s involvement in the community included the Elk’s Club, the local food bank, repairing the Julia Morgan House, The Wine and Dine Club and The Wagon Wheelers RV Club. He enjoyed traveling with the RV group and most winters Jack and Donna spent six weeks in Arizona. He was an outdoorsman who shared his love of nature with his family on many camping trips throughout the West.
His fondest memories as a young man were summers in Montana at his older brother Lou’s ranch where he helped build the ranch house and barns, and lived the life of a pioneer. He inspired a strong work ethic and compassion with a great attitude about life. He will be missed by many friends and family members.
There will be a life celebration for Jack’s birthday Feb. 17, 2013 at the Elk’s Club in Nevada City. In lieu of flowers, his wife Donna has asked donations to be made in his name to Hospice of the Foothills.