O’Krepky, John “Jack” E.
John “Jack” O’Krepky passed away peacefully Tuesday, January 28 surrounded by his family. He is mourned by many including his wife of 57 years, Jacqueline, the other half of the “Jack and Jackie” team. He was a dear father to Kris (John) Morrissey, Karen O’Krepky, Steve O’Krepky, and Michael O’Krepky, a “Grand” Grandfather to William, Finnegan, Andrew, Craig, Jack, Michaela, Kendrick, Dominique, Michael Rocco and Luca, as well as a wonderful friend to many. Jack was larger than life, and those who knew him will surely miss his presence.
Born July 18, 1939, he grew up in the Ukrainian section of Linden, New Jersey with his parents and sisters: Linda and Marlene. After graduating from Linden High School, he attended the University of Missouri and then Cornell University on ROTC scholarships for engineering. Jack spent his early career inventing military defense materials in upstate New York, where he developed a lifelong passion for Army football. His career led him to Picatinny Arsenal in Northern New Jersey, where he established an engineering practice named after his children, KSM – where he worked almost every day for the rest of his life.
Jack loved a challenge. When his children asked for a horse, he found a bargain on untrained ponies, trained them, and then taught himself and his children how to ride. When his wife asked for a larger house for the growing family, he traded work with colleagues to build a house on top of the only extinct volcano in the state. When his grandchildren wanted turtles, he purchased and released a box of turtles in the stream where they were fishing.
Jack’s lifelong passion for history and other cultures had him traveling to all parts of the world, often with Jackie and his children. He learned German with Berlitz classes and became an expert in German history. After a trip to South Korea, he developed an affinity for Asian food and culture. While traveling in the Czech Republic, he stopped to play cards with a man in the street and got his picture taken for the local newspaper. For Christmas, he would often take his family to the Caribbean Islands not to just enjoy the beach, but to also visit the town to meet and talk with the local people.
Family and friends meant the most to Jack. From his dedication to family and career, to pursuing his interests, to spending time with friends – no matter what he did, he did so with great exuberance and style. His legendary presence will be missed here, but heaven is surely a livelier place with Jack there.
Visitation will be held Friday January 31, 2020 from 6 to 9 PM in the Iliff-Ruggiero Funeral Home #156 Main St. (Rt. 206) Newton, NJ. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday February 1, 2020 at 1 PM in the Lafayette Federated Church #180 Rt. 15 Lafayette, NJ.