Jack's Story

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John H. "Jack" Longaker Jr., 87, of Selinsgrove, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

He was born Jan. 17, 1929, in Camden, N.J., a son of the late John and Harriet (Wentz) Longaker, of Pottstown.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy A. Longaker; his son Dave and his wife, Megan Farrell; his son Greg and his wife, Christina; his four grandchildren, Nate, Ryleigh, Jordin and Mayia; and his sisters, Lynne Maack, Barbara Leary, and Carol Gavin. Jack and his family have been active members of St. Pius X Church.

Jack was a 1946 graduate of Pottstown High School and a 1950 graduate of Lafayette College (BA, Chemistry), where he played baseball and was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1951 with an MA in History and in 1970 with a Ph.D. He was inducted into the Army in 1953, and assigned to the Army Chemical Center in Aberdeen, Md. as a technical writer. Following his discharge from the Army, he resumed work on his doctoral thesis, traveling to France for part of the research.

Jack and Dorothy married in 1961 and moved to Selinsgrove in 1962, where Jack led a distinguished career as a history professor at Susquehanna University. At Susquehanna, he served as the History Department Chairman (1978-1993), Director of the Film Institute (1987-1993), Faculty Representative to the University Board of Directors (1980-1985), Advisor to Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society (1973-1992), and Campus Coordinator of the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program (1978-1994). Jack was passionate about teaching, and received numerous awards throughout his career, including Professor of the Year in 1965 and 1969, the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1974, the Lanthorn Yearbook Dedication in 1987, and the Panhellenic Council Faculty Member of the Year in 1990. Following his retirement in 1993, he continued his work at the college as founder of the Holocaust-Genocide Resource Program, through which he collaborated with businesses and donors as well as the Smithsonian Institution to expand the genocide coursework, materials, and programs at Susquehanna and also to make them available to local high schools.

Jack enjoyed crossword puzzles and playing tennis. He was also an avid runner and later an avid walker, often seen walking at the mall in the mornings. Jack's extended family, including his many nieces and nephews, played a large role in his life and often visited him in Selinsgrove. His passion for teaching and his infectious sense of humor will be well remembered by students, family, and friends.

Friends and family will be received from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 112 Fairview Drive, Selinsgrove, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 with the Rev. Tukura Pius Michael O.P. as celebrant.

Burial will follow in Orchard Hills Cemetery & Memorial Park.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Pius X Catholic Church or to the Dr. John H. Longaker History Prize at Susquehanna University.
Published on August 11, 2016
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