Spotlight on a Hurleyville Treasure: John ‘Jack’ Halchak Jr.

By Kathleen Sullivan

John “Jack” Halchack, Jr., the son of John Halchak and Mary Mudry, was born on August 26, 1927 in Derby Connecticut.
Upon graduation from high school he joined the United States Navy where he proudly completed his military service. The GI Bill enabled Jack to continue his education at Arnold College in Connecticut (University of Bridgeport today) where he played on the school’s football team.
Upon graduation from college, Jack embarked on an outstanding career in education and athletics.
Jack played semi-pro football in Ansonia, Connecticut. Allan Webb and Rosey Grier of the New York Giants, Nick Pietrosante of the Detroit Lions and Andy Robustelli of the Los Angeles Rams were among the football legends Jack played with.
Jack taught physical education and driver education in the Fallsburg School District for 32 years. While at Fallsburg he was always ready to coach any sports team. Baseball, basketball, swimming and golf were among the sports he coached. He earned recognition for his ardent support of the DUSO League.
A lifetime member of the Hurleyville Fire Department for 57 years, Jack served as president of the department from 1967-1972. He was a charter member of the Hurleyville Emergency Relief Squad and past president of Sullivan County ARC.
Jack was also able to find the time to manage the health club at the Raleigh Hotel where he supervised adult physical education and swimming programs.
A longtime member of Kiwanis, Jack and his wife of 37 years, Aileen, the Lt. Governor of Kiwanis, continued to participate in service projects and fundraising efforts to provide for the needs of children worldwide.
Jack participated in a variety of sports, but he especially favored golf and hunting. He played in the Twilight Leagues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Lochmor Golf Course. He loved golf so much that he built a putting green in his backyard in Woodbourne. Jack also enjoyed owning and racing horses.
A third baseman for the Hurleyville Fire Department softball team, Jack bowled with the department, too. He also played for the Bend-N-Elbow Old-Timers in the Monticello softball league.
A great sense of humor and the ability to live life to the fullest always made Jack the life of the party. He was well-known by chefs at the casinos where he liked winning games and enjoying a good meal.
Jack and Aileen retired to Florida where he worked at Boca West Golf course and continued to relish playing rounds with friends.
He will always be remembered with great fondness by his family, his friends, his teammates and his players.
“My dad enjoyed coaching and retirement to the fullest,” remembers his son, Jack. “Look up coaching in the dictionary and you’ll find his picture. Look up retirement and you’ll find his picture again.”
Jack was eighty-nine when he passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in Boca Raton, Florida, after a valiant battle with heart disease.
Jack is one of Hurleyville’s many extraordinary treasures.
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