Jack shared his wife Marion’s passion for classical music. Jack took up the cello at the age of 40, and as his expertise grew, he organized and played in an amateur music group in which his daughter, Martha, participated alternately as a pianist or violist. (He playfully referred to the group as the Mauvais Arts Trio, a whimsical variant of the Beaux Arts Trio.) His children remember Jack’s creativity in playing with them—for example, casting their arms in plaster to pretend that they were broken and then removing the casts with a hacksaw. He joined John in his pastime of riding motorcycles and, ever a competitor, broke his collarbone in a wipeout when trying to beat John’s best time. Discouraged by the family from riding motorcycles, he switched to riding mountain bikes and then broke the opposite collarbone attempting to jump a log. He instilled in his children and grandchildren his love of nature and the outdoors. In the early years his children joined him hiking, skiing, kayaking, digging for clams, and catching crabs, and in later years in Idaho he and his grandchildren canoed, rode mountain bikes, and explored for arrowheads. His importance in the lives of his children and grandchildren is reflected in their choice of careers. John is a mechanical engineer, Martha a biomedical researcher, and Ann a structural engineer. Out of eight grandchildren, six have chosen to go into some form of science or engineering. His legacy lives on with his familial and academic progeny.
This account was prepared from personal recollections by a former colleague at Exxon (W.M.), an MIT colleague (A.S.), description of his family life contributed by Jack’s daughter Martha Blair, information including an excerpt (in quotation marks) from Ben Harte’s “Portrait of a Pioneer” in the Lamp (an ExxonMobil publication), and the Oral History of Hoyt C. Hottel published by the Heritage Foundation.