John “Jack” McSweeney, 79, of Kearney, NE, formerly of LaValle, passed away on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at his summer home in LaCrosse, WI. He was born on December 7, 1941 in Chicago, IL, to James E. and Ethel M. (Ferguson) McSweeney. Jack was the youngest of five children growing up in Chicago.
Jack graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1959. He wanted to be a cowboy and headed to Austin, TX at St. Edward College. One year later Jack headed back to Illinois at Lewis College. Jack decided to check out his options with military recruiters. He chose to tell the draft board to draft him, which they did 30 days later when Jack began his two year commitment in the Army. Jack was proficient in typing. Following basic training, he reported to the Aberdeen Proving Ground Maryland Army Ordinance School for permanent duty as a clerk typist. By the end of his tour of duty, Jack had become the base mail man. The University of Maryland offered college classes on the Army post. Jack took advantage of this opportunity taking two classes. This experience in the military taught Jack that he needed an education.
Ten days after he got out of the Army, he was enrolled in college back at Lewis College, Lockport, IL, where he majored in Business, and earned his college degree. Jack married Gayle Evanson, later divorced, and his family grew. Jack realized that he wanted to get his family out of Chicago, so he quit his job, bought a farm, and moved his family to LaValle, WI. Here, Jack finally got to be a cowboy. Farmer Jack bought the necessary farming implements, planted corn, and hay with timothy, and raised horses. Eventually raising horses became raising cattle. Jack sold off some of the old buildings and about 10 acres, and built a new house overlooking Lake Redstone.
A head-on collision put Jack in the hospital, and during recovery, a neighbor lady talked Jack into signing up for real estate school. And that is how Jack got into selling real estate. After real estate school, Jack contacted the broker who sold him the farm and asked him if he would hire him on a part-time basis. This was in 1977. Jack worked two part time jobs for two weeks and said, “To heck with that other job, I like this”. For the next four years, Jack worked full-time with the original broker. Jack jumped at the opportunity to buy the company. He became the owner of that branch of Strout Realty as branch manager and broker. In 1984-1985, Jack’s relationship with Strout Realty ended and he opened MAC Realty in Reedsburg, WI. It was not long before Century21 was calling Jack to buy a franchise. Century 21 Mac Realty would have more value than MAC Realty. He was with Century 21 for 25 years.
It was through Century 21 that Jack met Janice Wiebusch at the Mall of the America Century 21 Convention. Janice had bought the Century 21 office in Kearney, NE and Jack had bought Century 21 MAC Realty in Reedsburg. Century 21 MAC Realty was going strong in Reedsburg. Another office opened in Hub City. Jack had taken in a partner, and later sold the business to that partner.
Jack and Janice married on February 14, 1997, in Steamboat, CO. Their wedding was unannounced until all the guests had arrived for the Wiebusch family reunion that year. What a surprise celebration!
Jack has a love of river boating that he enjoyed and shared with others during his lifetime. One adventure was chronicled in the Kearney Hub as “The Lewis and Clark Re-enactment”. In 2003, Jack and Janice bought a 34’ motor yacht dubbed the “The Closing Room” which they hoped to boat on the Missouri River. After eight years and a big flood on the Missouri, Jack and Janice packed up “The Closing Room” and shipped it to a Quad Cities marina where they put it in the Mississippi and made the trip to LaCrosse, WI and the Catgut Marina. They began enjoying boating on the Mississippi River. And now, some 40 years later, jack had retired after having had a successful career in real estate and having lived a wonderful life.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Meegan McSweeney Thompson; siblings James McSweeney, Marilyn (Robert) Meersman, Bob (Rita) McSweeney; and brother-in-law Philip Murphy.
Jack is survived by his wife, Janice Wiebusch; his children: Jodi (Bill) Nelson, John (Michelle) McSweeney; son-in-law Robb Thompson; grandchildren: Lindsey (J.D.) Lierman, Katie Nelson, Rachael Thompson, Brad (Shannon) Thompson, Gunner McSweeney, and Mason McSweeney; great-grandchildren: Millie Thompson and McKinlee McSweeney; his sister, Norine Murphy; in-laws: Vaughn (Donna) Wiebusch, Harold (Kathryn) Wiebusch, Mary (Don) Sedlacek, David Shereen) Wiebusch; numerous nieces and nephews, and other relatives and friends.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Jack at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 9, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Reedsburg with Reverend Patrick Wendler, Pastor, being the Celebrant. Visitation will be on Friday from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the service at the church. Burial will be made in Big Creek Cemetery, rural LaValle. Memorials of remembrance may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Farber Funeral Home, Reedsburg, is assisting the family.
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