Jack Edwards Alden
COLUMBIA — Even after retiring nearly 20 years ago, Jack Edwards Alden stayed busy working in his shop at his home. He was an outgoing man who loved his family and enjoyed building things, such as lamps.
Mr. Alden was born July 4, 1927, in Shawnee, Kan., to Ralph Alden and Mary Ann (Knipmeyer) Alden Nix.
On Aug. 16, 1957, he married Virginia Lee Todd in Columbia. She said the two had a three-month courtship. They would have celebrated their 54th anniversary Tuesday.
“From day one, we clicked,” Virginia Alden said. “It was just a very happy marriage for both of us.”
Mr. Alden, of Columbia, died Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, at his home. He was 84.
Mr. Alden graduated from high school in Evansville, Ind., in 1944. He served in the Navy where he received an honorable discharge and returned to Evansville to study engineering in college. A few years later, he worked in his uncle Alf Knipmeyer’s shop in Fulton before moving to Columbia.
Mr. Alden was the foreman when heating and plumbing work was done at the Hearnes Center. Mr. Alden was a union plumber with Local 317. He retired from plumbing in the early 1990s.
After that, Mr. Alden worked in his shop at home. His wife said it was difficult to tell that he had retired because he would go to the shop at 8 a.m. and work until 5 p.m., stopping only for lunch each day. He built lamps and would refinish furniture for family and friends.
“He was very creative,” Virginia Alden said. “He gave much of the stuff away to nieces and nephews.”
Virginia Alden said he made one lamp out of a Coca-Cola bottle that is now in the living room of their home. He also made lamps for family members and friends and other items, such as bookends.
He loved spending time with his children, grandchildren and extended family.
Mr. Alden was a fan of football and basketball at the University of Missouri. His son, Todd, said that he and his father would go to at least one football game a year when he was a child.
When diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, his wife said Mr. Alden stated, “I’m not going to let this get me down.” She said he never complained about the disease.
Todd Alden, who followed in his father's footsteps, called him his mentor.
“I worked for him and with him,” Todd Alden said. “He was a great man.”
Mr. Alden is survived by his wife, Virginia; a son, Todd Alden of Columbia; a daughter, Rebecca Alden Barthol, and her husband, Craig, and their children, Jaden and Raleigh, of Overland Park, Kan.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mr. Alden’s parents, stepfather F.H. Nix and a brother, William T. Alden, died earlier.
Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home at 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 5018, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5018.
Tributes may be posted at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.