Almost 82 years ago, Chuck Jira entered this world with a big personality and even bigger heart. A Nebraska native, Chuck became a Navy man in 1957, a post he proudly held for “4 years, 11 months, and 28 days.”
During his naval service, Chuck learned the trade that would come to define his family owned and operated businesses. For five decades, Chuck was the brains, brawn, and founder of Jira Heating and Cooling (1973) and Tiger Ice (1977). And you can “bet your money, marbles, or chalk” he poured his heart and soul in to both companies, taking enormous pride in building relationships with his customers. In 2003, Chuck decided it was time to expand Tiger Ice. Today, Tiger Ice is housed in a 9,000 square foot plant Chuck designed and built from the ground up. Never officially “retired,” it’s safe to say he wasn’t “just makin’ pea soup” all those years after all.
Chuck’s proudest accomplishment is his family. As a senior in high school, he wooed Sheila Broz, three years his junior. They eventually married in December 1968, the result of not one, not two, but three marriage proposals. (1968 marked another milestone for Chuck with the purchase of his beloved ‘69 Plymouth GTX, the muscle car he would restore to perfect condition 40 years later.) Together, Chuck and Sheila built their dream home (one of the first houses in Missouri to use solar energy and still the family home to this day!) and dream life. Chuck loved teaching his “Number 1” son Andy the tricks of the trade and “favorite” daughter Amy was the apple of his eye.
In addition to family man and businessman, Chuck held many other important titles. From “El Presidenté” of the Mizzou Gymnastics Booster Club to “José Jiminez,” Chuck proudly boasted the title Snowbird when he and Sheila recently began to winter in Englewood, Florida. Eighty-five degrees and sunny was Chuck’s perfect climate. Life in Florida brought back great memories of days spent on the pontoon at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Chuck welcomed any reason to host a party, roast weenies, and show off his shop kegerator. Part of Chuck’s legacy is undoubtedly the Jira Family Easter Extravaganza, a 43-year-old tradition that has welcomed hundreds of family members and friends who take to the Jira’s front yard in search of thousands of eggs—”that’s more eggs than you can shake a stick at!”
It is important to address the obvious question: Did Chuck reveal his secret ice recipe in his final days? Nope, “just as sure as he was a brain surgeon and jet pilot,” he didn’t. He took that secret to his grave. But Chuck’s legacy lives on through his beautiful bride Sheila, hard-working, loyal children Andy Jira (Cindy) and Amy Johnson (Dan), and his 4 granddaughters, Maddie, Avery, Alex, and his namesake, Charlie. Chuck’s wisdom will also live on forever. After all, “Life’s too short for this! Slow down, you donkey!”
Join us in celebration of Chuck’s life. Visitation will be held on Friday, July 23rd from 4-7pm at Memorial Funeral Home. Funeral Mass will take place at 10am on Saturday, July 24th at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.