Born: Thu, Feb. 13, 1936 Died: Fri., Sep. 15, 2017
Armin John(Jack) Meilahn age 81 of Naperville, Illinois, passed away Friday September 15, 2017 at the Edward Hines Jr. Hospital Hospice Center. He was born in Oak Park Illinois on February 13, 1936.
Jack is survived by his sister Shirley Ann Koch of McHenry, Illinois, Ruth Louise Lafreniere(Robert) and Helen Carol Cox(Butch) both of Wild Rose Wisconsin, as well as many nieces, nephews and a large extended family. His brother Ronald Allen Meilahn, sister in law Marilyn Gail Meilahn (Cowell), brother in law Max N. Koch and his parents preceded him in death.
He is also survived by his former wives, Frances L. Anderson and Judith P Meier, and his loving friends, Amy Bywater and Shirley O’Daniell.
Jack attended Saint James School and was a 1959 graduate of Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois. He earned a scholarship in wrestling and attended Purdue University.
Following his time in the US Army from 1959 until 1961, where he played French horn in the army band, he attended Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and received a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy. He worked as a therapist for over 50 years.
He had many hobbies during his life including go-kart and sport car racing, airplane flying, and repairing all kinds of cars. Jack was forever fixing things; sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. His garage had a name: Von Rupp’s Garage. If anyone on his many friends entered that garage, they realized they were in a man’s garage with things scattered all over. Jack’s Motto was “boys and their toys”, and he had many.
However, his main love was music. Jack was very talented and could play the ukulele, violin, guitar, and French horn. But his favorite instrument was the banjo. He was a member of many bands during his life. These include: The Windy City Band, Samuel Dent Memorial Jazz Band, Red Rose Ragtime Band, Varsity Ramblers, Chicago Rhythm and the Hotel Edison Roof Orchestra. He was a charter member of Bill Bailey’s Banjos and he taught much area Chicago area banjo players. He was part owner of the Red Arrow, a popular jazz nightclub in Stickney, Illinois.
Jack will be laid to rest at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois during a private service.
A celebration of his life will take place on Saturday, October 14 from 1-5 pm at Jack's home, 9S030 Chandelle Drive, Naperville, IL , 60564, when many of his friends will play their instruments and remember “Smilin Jack”
Submitted by: Russ - A video of Jack playing solo on the Naperville Riverwalk last summer.