Jack Gooch

90, Optimist leader, DoW volunteer, climbed his native Colorado mountains

Jack Manly Gooch went home to be with his Lord on Sept. 9, following 16-years as a stroke survivor. He was 90.

Jack was a second generation native of Colorado; his grandfather homesteaded in Rollinsville.

He was born in Denver on June 13, 1930, to Irving and Mary Emily Gooch. His older sister, Beryl Ann, died as a teenager.

Jack grew up in the Cory-Merrill neighborhood, attending Washington Park Elementary School, Byers Junior High and graduated from South High School in 1948.

As a child growing up, Jack learned a spirit of generosity and a heart for volunteerism from his mother who often fed homeless men on her back-porch stoop.

After graduation from high school, Jack attended Colorado State University. His education was interrupted when his father passed away and he returned home to support his mother.

Jack was then drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks. After the army, he joined Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, starting as a lineman and finishing his 35-year career as a US WEST network service manager.

Jack met his first wife, Donna Davison, while she was a student at then-named Colorado Women’s College. They married in 1958 and had three daughters: Eileen, Amy and Mary.

Jack’s love of the outdoors began early. He was an avid hiker, skier and mountain climber. He climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers (many of them multiple times), many of the 13ers, Mount Rainier in Washington, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Kilimanjaro in Africa and two 17,000-foot volcanoes in Mexico.

Jack met Gail Kahler at a singles event at Washington Park United Methodist Church and they married in 1987. Theirs was a loving marriage of 32 years.

After retirement, they relocated to Buena Vista in 1999. Jack quickly involved himself as a member and officer in the Buena Vista Optimist Club and as a volunteer with the Department of Wildlife.

As a Colorado native, he was an avid Broncos and Rockies fan. In retirement, he added mountain biking to his outdoor repertoire and raised money and rode in Bike MS and the Children’s Hospital Courage Classic.

Jack and Gail also enjoyed riding ATVs, hiking and socializing with their BV friends.

Jack was preceded in death by his beloved Gail. He is survived by his daughters Eileen Gooch, Amy (Steve) Kaverman and Mary (Steve) Leith, four grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and nephew, James (Deborah) Gooch.

A memorial service was held on Sept. 25, at ClearView Community Church. The service is available to view at youtube.com/watch?v=UYXP8yWzYcQ or by searching YouTube for Clearview Community Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to ClearView Community Church, PO Box 1336, Buena Vista, CO 81211 or to Buena Vista Optimist Club, PO Box 3044, Buena Vista, CO 81211.