Jack M. Pakulak Jr.

Jack M. Pakulak Jr. Jack M. Pakulak Jr. passed away May 9, 2017, at Powell Place Assisted Living in Payson, Ariz. He was 87.

Born in Portland, Ore., in 1929, Jack graduated from Linfield College in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. He began a career at the China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station in 1951, but was drafted into the Army for the Korean War. After his military service, Jack enrolled at Oregon State University, where he met his wife Mary (Schubert) Pakulak. They were married in 1955.

Jack and Mary moved back to Ridgecrest in 1957, and he worked for the government at China Lake as a research chemist. He patented multiple inventions on cook-off detonations, ordnance and propellants, and was an investigative specialist for the 1973 Roseville trainyard explosion incident that earned him, as well as Dr. William S. McEwan, Dr. Taylor Joyner and Howard C. Shafer, the Technical Director’s Award. Jack also wrote numerous articles and received several awards for his work that included the Fellow Award in 1995.

Both Jack and Mary had exceptional careers as chemists for the government and raised their family in Navy housing and later in Ridgecrest at their home on Autumn Way.

In 2004, after 50 and a half years of service to the Army and Department of Defense, Jack joined his wife in retirement. They enjoyed visiting family, relaxing at home and sharing memories of their time in the desert with longtime friends at the All Faith Chapel.

Jack continued working at China Lake as an advisor and teaching chemistry at Cerro Coso Community College until 2005. Jack stayed with family in Mission Viejo when Mary fell ill in 2008. Jack returned to Ridgecrest in 2011 after her passing in 2010. He then moved to Powell Place in July 2016 after dealing with dementia for some time.

Jack is survived by his six children and spouses. John and Michelle Pakulak, Stella and Louis Renner, James and Cheryl Pakulak, Joe and Jeanette Pakulak, Theresa and Aaron Baxter and Anne and Demian Vonder Kuhlen; his brother Robert Pakulak, Robert’s wife Sally Pakulak and Jack’s nephew, Dr. Eric Pakulak; sister-in-Law Maria Schubert and Jack’s nieces, Isabel Williams, Sr. Marian Schubert, Mercy Pedraza and Anita Ferreira. Also surviving him are 10 grandchildren with spouses Amy and Chip Fowler, David Renner, Melissa and Brendan Cotter, Nick Pakulak, Janae and Miguel Salas, Rick and Katie Schain, Nathan Baxter, Demian Thomas VonderKuhlen, Anneka VonderKuhlen, and Dashiell VonderKuhlen; and four great-frandchildren,Amelia Fowler, Ethan Lopez (Renner), Ryanne Cotter and Adilynn Salas.

Jack will be dearly missed by his family and friends. We all enjoyed his quick wit and wry humor, but most of all, we’ll remember his kind heart and the love he shared with each of us.

A viewing will be held at the Holland Memorial Chapel on Friday, June 2, from 5-6 p.m., followed by a Rosary. The Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, June 3, at 10 a,m, at the All Faith Chapel. A gathering will follow in the East Wing. Burial will take place afterwards at Desert Memorial Park Cemetery.

— Submitted by the family of Jack Pakulak

Story First Published: 2017-05-26