Jack Sherwood Stradling was born March 10th, 1942 in Phoenix, Arizona. He died January 10, 2020 at University Medical Center, El Paso, Texas. Those who know him will find peace in learning that he was happily working with his tools to the very end, having spent the day installing a new garage door opener before suffering a sudden stroke Thursday evening and passing away just a few hours later.
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Jack grew up on a farm outside Springerville, Arizona, a surprising late addition to a family that loved him dearly, with a brother 14 years older and a sister 11 years older. When he was five, he watched his brother work on cars and contributed to the effort by cleaning the carburetors and scrubbing the rust from parts. “I never realized I was being handed the stuff no one else wanted to do,” he joked. He did eventually get to do overhauls himself and continued to work on cars all his life. By the time he was eight, his dad’s job driving a gasoline truck for Whiting Brothers kept him on the road for days at a time, and Jack would be left with a jobs list: mowing, milking, mending fence, driving a tractor, all the jobs that keep a farm running. His independence and his work ethic were instilled at a very young age. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from NMSU while working as a co-op student at White Sands Missile Range. Upon graduation, he began working for NASA on the Apollo and space shuttle programs at the then-brand-new White Sands Test Facility. On the side, he ran a charter plane service for a number of years and continued to fly as a private pilot until the late 80’s. After retiring from NASA in 1992, he started a whole new career as a consultant, engineer, machinist, inventor, and all-around go-to problem solver for WHA International.
In May of 1974, mutual friends introduced him to Ann, the woman he would marry less than two months later. It was a love that lasted and shaped the rest of his life.
Jack is survived by Ann, his wife of 45 years, his daughter Tamara Burden and her children August and Joshua, and his son’s children Alia, Seth and Loren. He was preceded in death by his son John, his parents Paul and Muriel Stradling, and his siblings Norwyn Stradling and Bonnie Beazer.
A memorial service is planned for 2 pm Friday, January 17th, 2020 at Getz Funeral Home, 1410 E. Bowman Avenue, Las Cruces, New Mexico. Immediately following the service there will be a gathering for friends and family at the family home.