Jack Vandervort Stubblefield of Merced, Calif., died Aug. 26, 2018, in Merced. The son of Harry Lain and Marion (Vandervort) Stubblefield, he was born Nov. 29, 1925, in Bloomington. He had a sister, Marjorie (Bob Willman), who died in 1966, and one niece, Carol Willman (m. 1 Frank; m. 2 Matt) who passed away in 2013.
In 1946 Jack graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.S. in chemistry. In June of that year, he married Barbara Ann Bigler and they set up a home in Chicago and later Des Plaines.
A pianist, Jack used to play in swing bands in and around Chicago in the 1940s, but gave up band life to raise his family. He worked as a chemist at Kraft Foods in Chicago. By 1953 the family had moved to Oxnard, Calif., where he was a chemist for Gentry (a dehydrator of chiles and related products), and later became plant manager. He served on the Oxnard Planning Commission, volunteered with the Boy Scouts, and was on the finance committees of the American Field Service and Camp Fire Girls.
In 1969 the family moved to Merced where Jack worked in management at USP. After USP folded, Jack and Barb decided they liked living in Merced and wanted to remain. Jack sold insurance for Cal-Farm, farmed 175 acres of almonds, and then became personnel manager at CalCan (later Tri-Valley). He served on the Merced Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Merced for over 22 years. Once retired, he and Barbara liked to explore the USA in their trailer and research family history, and visit friends and family. They hosted AFS students and were still in touch with their adopted “Aussie” daughters. Later in life, Jack took up painting and attended many classes at Merced College. He was an avid reader and continued educating himself.
Jack was overjoyed to welcome new great-granddaughter, Madeleine (Adam Lauppe and Katie Gates) in February. Jack will be missed by those he leaves behind: children, Susan Allen (John), Richard Stubblefield (Katie Brammer), Cynthia Lauppe (Warren), Marion Stubblefield; grandsons, Adam Lauppe (Katie Gates), Eric Wolak (Anna Cyganowska), Patrick Lauppe; granddaughter, Tiffany A. Lindsey (Hayden); and great-granddaughter, Avalon Marandas. The love of his life Barbara, passed away in 2015.
He will forever be remembered for pounding out “Woodchoppers Ball” on the piano while his children danced.
No services are planned. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to New Beginnings for Merced County Animals, Merced Theatre Foundation, The Yosemite Conservancy or your favorite charity.