The family and friends of John Warren “Jack” Day Jr. ’49 mourn his death and celebrate his life. Jack was born in 1922 in Sapulpa, OK, the first of 4 children of Harriet (Lanning) and John Warren Day.
Jack met Martha Page in Topeka when they were both in middle school, having been matched with her in a dancing class in spite of Martha being a head taller. They were married in 1949. Martha’s death in 2004 was a terrible blow to Jack.
Jack left college during World War II to enlist in the U.S. Army. During the occupation of Japan, he led a unit charged with finding the remains of U.S. servicemen who died taking part in the Allied bombing campaign or after being captured. This work took him to Hiroshima, where he witnessed the devastation visited upon that city by the atomic bombing. Aspects of his work there remained classified until the 1980s.
His time in Japan began a lifelong interest in the country’s culture, history, and people. After the war he followed his father into the Episcopal ministry, graduating in 1958 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He went on to lead congregations in Wheatland and Riverton, WY.
He was known as an energetic, progressive pastor who challenged his listeners to live their faith. In 1973, after Martha completed her master’s degree in marriage and family counseling, Jack and Martha moved to Bellingham, living first in Sudden Valley and later on Highland Drive.
While Martha continued her counseling and social services work, Jack honed his stock and commodities trading skills, becoming a licensed broker in 1982. Also in 1982, he was elected as a Commissioner for Water District 10.
Jack moved to The Willows retirement community in 2008. Subsequently he lived for several years at the Ida Culver House in Seattle’s Ravenna district before spending his last 20 months on Vashon Island living with his daughter Sarah Day and favorite son-in-law Tim Morrison.
Martha and Jack instilled in their four children a passion for social justice, a dedication to service, and a love of outdoor adventures and wilderness. Jack is survived by his four children, John ’74 (Martha), Tom ’75 (Gigi), Sarah (Tim), and Andy (Connie); seven grandchildren, Adam (Jen), Evan (Amy), Molly, Stella, Clare, Amelia, and Aidan; and five great grandchildren, Mia, Leo, Jacob, Sam, and Henry. Keeping with Jack’s giving spirit, his remains were donated to the University of Washington Medical School in lieu of a funeral.
Published in Bellingham Herald on May 19, 2019