Jack Bazer, 99, formerly of Arnegard, N.D., passed away Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home in Glendive, Mont., six weeks shy of the century mark. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at Wilmington Lutheran Church in Arnegard. Rev. Rob Favorite will officiate and interment will be in Timber Creek Cemetery, rural Arnegard, N.D. Friends may call at the Fulkerson Funeral Home in Watford City on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and one hour before services at the church on Wednesday.
Jack E. Bazer was born in Logansport, La., on July 15, 1913, the son of Isaiah Edgar and Annie (Leslie) Bazer. He later moved to Big Spring, Texas, where his father died of tuberculosis. His mother, Annie Leslie Bazer, later met and married Charlie Pesheck, a rancher from North Dakota. Jack was the youngest so he moved with his mother to Arnegard in 1928. He said it was hard getting to know area kids but he excelled in athletics and got acquainted quickly.
He graduated from Arnegard High School in 1935. He then attended two years of college at the Bottineau School of Forestry studying to be a history teacher.
In 1942, Jack enlisted in the Army Air Force and was stationed in Louisiana, Washington, and Florida. At Fort Meyers, Fla., he was trained as a waist gunner on a B24 bomber. He was then sent to England serving in the 8th Air Force, 93 bombardment groups. He flew 25 missions over Europe and North Africa. In 1943, he was hit in the chest with flak when a 20mm exploded overhead and was wounded over Wilhelmshaven, Germany. He was later featured in the documentary film, “Small Town Soldiers,” that has been shown on public television. The film was based on McKenzie County soldiers. Jack also attended the dedication ceremony of the Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He travelled there with John Winden and Jerry Samuelson.
Jack married Margaret Johnson in Glendive, Mont., March 16, 1946. She passed away in February of 1984. He then married Verna McWhorter on Dec. 28, 1984, in Watford City, N.D. Verna passed away Nov. 7, 2007, in Glendive, Mont.
Jack farmed and ranched, four miles north of Arnegard where he raised registered shorthorn cattle. Jack played and coached baseball. He was known as a good hitter with lightning speed. He started little league baseball in Arnegard with his best friend, Sonny Arnegard. They coached well into their 70s. He also coached legion baseball in Watford City and Alexander in the 1960s. Jack was named to the North Dakota American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. Jack once played against Satchel Paige, saying he got the only hit in one game against the barnstorming team. He played with Williston when he was paid 25¢ per game and got room and board.
Jack was a member of the VFW, American Legion, and the American Legion Drill Team, a Charter Member of the Arnegard Lions Club and a member of the Sons of Norway.
Jack has been living in the Eastern Montana Veterans Home at Glendive, Mont., since 2007, and had been hoping to make his 100th birthday and the Arnegard Centennial in July. He loved his family, especially all the grandchildren. His philosophy of life of not sweating the small stuff saw him through two World Wars, the great depression, and farming.
He is survived by one son, Edgar (Delores) of Arnegard and Largo, Fla., and their children, Jeff (Jen) of Columbia, S.C., and Ryan (Mindy) of Largo, Fla.; stepson, Kenneth (Darlene) McWhorter of Lewistown, Mont., and their children, Shannon (Jason) Faller of Arnegard and Dirk (Bri) of Beach; stepdaughter, Bette (Dave) Young of Worland, Wyo., and their children, Aaron (Tiffany of Worland, Wyo., Kari (Bucky) Bell of Arizona City, Ariz., and Keil of Arnegard.; several nieces and nephews, especially Bette (Echols) Vivian, of Boise, Idaho, Joyce (Echols) Templin, of Laramie, Wyo., and Joe Echols of Coos Bay, Ore. He is also survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Annie Bazer; stepdad, Charlie Pesheck; brothers, John and Bud; sisters, Jewel, Pauline, Ruth and Percy; and two wives, Margaret and Verna.
Friends may share memories and condolences with the family at www.fulkersons.com.