McLemoreStrong
Genealogy
Strong - McLemore History and Ancestry
First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]
Jack Neil Strong

Jack Neil Strong

Male 1915 - 2003  (87 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Jack Neil Strong  [1
    Born 25 Dec 1915  Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 13 Dec 2003  Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Most of the information below was obtained on January 29, 1999 at Donald Joe Weavers ranch in St. Joe, Texas. Tape recordings were made over several hours. The quality of the tapes is poor due to background noise. Those present were Viola Strong Weaver, her son Don and his wife Pat, Barney Strong and his wife Violet, Anna L. (Rooney) Strong, Jack Neill Strong, and the compiler, Charles Strong.

      Jack and his twin brother Jake were born on Christmas Day 1915, Jake dying shortly after his birth. Jack's mother, Tessie Soukup Strong died about six months later. Shortly after his mother's death, one of Walter Strong's aunts, Rosetta Neill came to visit the Strong family in Prague, Oklahoma. Jack was very ill. Rosetta and her husband, Hamilton Neill, took Jack home with them to Vinson (Harmon) County, Oklahoma to better care for him.

      The Neill's farm was large and even had indoor plumbing, a rarity in rural Oklahoma in 1916. Jack went to school in Vinson, about 8 miles from the farm. In the early years, he traveled to school by horse and wagon, and later on a T-Model Ford School bus. When Jack was in either the fourth or fifth grade, he was teasing some girls and got into a fight. After the fight, they told him he didn't even have a father or mother. At the age of 10 or 11, this was a shock. As he walked up the lane to the farmhouse, his mother saw that he was crying and had been fighting. His dad asked what was wrong. Jack replied, "The kids said you weren't my Papa and Mama." They came clean and stated "We are not your Mama and Papa. You were a sick little baby, and we went and got you and we picked you out to be one of our little family." This did not help one bit. At this age, one does not understand that. Jack said "As a result of this, up to this day, it is hard for me to trust anybody!"  After this, it was never the same. They treated me better than their own kids. They had two boys and two girls already gone from home. I was the only child there, and they spoiled me rotten.

      When Jack was 14 or 15, the Neills told him that his father, Walter Strong, was alive. Shortly after this, Mr. Neill died, and Jack took care of his mother. He had to quit school, but went back for awhile. Mrs. Neill took Jack to see Walter and his stepmother, Stella. Perhaps this was when they were living west of Lawton, around 1931 or 1932. They visited for two or three days. Jack recalls playing with some kids. They were probably Barney, Bob, and Cecil. The day before they were to go home, they were eating and Walter asked Jack if he wanted to stay with them, or go home with Mommy Neill. Jack said "I want to go home."  He thought that Walter might have been hurt by this decision. The next morning, he and his mother took the bus back to Vinson, Oklahoma. He added that "All of this was in the back of my mind, and I was very confused.

      The Neill's may also have been uncertain as to their relationship with Jack. On the 1920 census, he was listed as their adopted son. In 1930, he was listed simply as a lodger.

      After high school in the 1930's, Jack went to work for C.R. Anthony Company as a shoe salesman in Lawton, Oklahoma. There was a disagreement one evening after a big day's sale, to military personnel on payday, and Jack was fired. It appears he had a date. When he didn't show up for work on Monday, Mr. Anthony called him up from Oklahoma City. Jack refused to go back to Lawton, but agreed to continue working for him at the Oklahoma City store.

      Soon Jack was working two jobs. His second job was with a drug store. About this time he married Bernadine and needed the money. This was in the late 1930s when times were hard. Soon, he was working at the drug store during the day, and as a bartender at the Black Hotel in the evenings. This was right before World War II.  He doubled his wages.

      While holding down these two jobs, Jack was drafted into the army early in World War II. While working at the bar, airmen from the Will Rogers Air Corps Base who were customers advised Jack to try to become a cook in the service. Upon induction into the army, he told them he was a cook at the Black Hotel. He was given a test about cuts of meat. Having grown up on a ranch, the test was a snap. At Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he received ill-fitting clothes that afternoon, and was awakened at 4 am the next morning to scramble eggs all day in a field kitchen.

      Jack was shipped to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for basic training. While at Fort Leonard Wood, he cooked but never went through basic training, except for the rifle range.  Jack was shipped overseas, first to North Africa, then to Sicily. He travelled "from the toe up through the north till the war ended." After the war, Jack was discharged in Virginia Beach, VA. Upon discharge, he hired a man with a Piper Cub plan to fly him to Oklahoma for $150, half of his mustering out pay.

      Back in Oklahoma, Jack worked first for a beauty and barber supply company. Next he worked for Tom's Peanut Company. After that, he took a job selling jewelry and toys to stores in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. He also sold buttons and zippers. He worked for the Pearl Button Company of Lansing, Iowa for 32 years. Charles R. Strong and some of his brothers and sisters recall visiting Jack several times during these years.  The Button Company went bankrupt, and so went Jacks retirement. Jack next started to sell flags, banners, and sales promotion material like that foung around car lots, parades, etc. The flag business was in several locations. First Austin and Seguin, Texas. Next he went to Miami, Florida. After Florida, he lived in New Orleans, Louisiana for 9 years. Later he retired to Hawaii and loved it. Since his only income was Social Security and he could not afford trips to the states to visit his children, he moved back to the states and settled in Forth Worth around 1994.

      Obituary: Obituary Jack Neil Strong


      Jack Neil Strong, 87, a retired salesman and entrepreneur died December 13th, 2003 in Fort Worth. Funeral:  1 p.m. Thursday, December 18th at Forest Ridge Funeral Home, Hurst, Texas.  His ashes will be placed at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery following the memorial service. Memorial:  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Community Hospice of Texas, 6100 Western Place, Suite 500, Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Jack was born Christmas day, 1915 in Lawton, Okla.  He proudly served in the US Army during World War II.  He was an outstanding salesman throughout his life and sold a variety of items including Tom's Peanuts, buttons, zippers, costume jewelry, and flags and pennants.  He never met a stranger and could always make you smile or laugh.   He was a lover of life and lived life to its fullest to the very end.  He was loved by many and will be sorely missed. Survivors:  Daughters, Jacqueline Forni Conner of Denton and Dr. Kathy Morrison Zatopek and husband, Wayne Zatopek of Hurst and Tyler; Granddaughters, Christina Dittrich and husband, Derek Dittrich of Hamilton, Tex. and Meghann Brown and husband, Ryan Brown of Killeen, Tex. Great Granddaughters Shelby and Tayler Dittrich; sister, Viola Weaver of Gainesville; brother, Barney Strong of Gainesville; half-brother, Bob Strong of Lawton, Okla.
    • (Research):Census Information:

      Oklahoma, Harmon County, Francis Twp
      16 January 1920
      FM #105-106
      Neils (sic), Hamilton Head M W 53 M Texas US US Farmer
      Neils, Rosetta Wife F W 54 M Yes Texas Missouri Virginia
      Neils, Clyde E Son M W 17 Ok Tx Tx Farm Laborer
      Neils, Elmer H Son M w 15 Ok Tx Tx Farm Laborer
      Neils, Jack Adopted Son M W 4 1/2 Ok Ok Ok
    Person ID I1290  Strong Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Aug 2014 

    Father Walter Winfield Strong,   b. 10 May 1881, Farmersville, Collin County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Apr 1961, Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Mother Terezie Rose "Tessie" Soukup,   b. 4 Jun 1886, Milligan, Fillmore County, Nebraska Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jun 1916, Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 29 years) 
    Married 4 Aug 1907  Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Married by Oliver R. Land, Minister of the first Congregational Church of Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Territory. Witnesses were Harry Soukup and Mrs. S.G. Royl. She was listed as Tessa on the marriage license.

      Rhodene Frederick found the following burial records for Highland Cemetery in Lawton:

      Strong, Tessie R., b. 1886, d. Jun 3, 1916, 30y, NE-Frank Sankeans (sic)
      Strong, Walter W., b. 1881, d. Apr 4, 1961, 80y, TN-Ralph Strong
    Family ID F20  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Living 
    Last Modified 8 Aug 2009 
    Family ID F892  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Living 
    Children 
     1. Living
     2. Living
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2007 
    Family ID F893  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Bernadine Horton,   b. 26 Jan 1919, Stillwater, Payne County, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Sep 2005, Denton, Denton County, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Married Bef 1946 
    Divorced Yes, date unknown 
    Children 
     1. Living
     2. Living
    Last Modified 9 Dec 2006 
    Family ID F894  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 25 Dec 1915 - Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 13 Dec 2003 - Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Strong, Walter Winfield ca 1916, with his children
    Strong, Walter Winfield ca 1916, with his children
    This photo of Walter and his children appears to have been taken after his wife, Tessie Soukup, died of kidney failure. The family was living in Southern Oklahoma at the time. From left to right, Viola, baby Jack, Homer, Walter and Barney Strong.
    Strong, Walter and Tessie (Soukup) Children
    Strong, Walter and Tessie (Soukup) Children
    This picture of Viola, Homer, Barney and baby Jack was taken in 1916, shortly after their mother, Tessie died.
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Strong Men go to War, 1941-1945, with Jack
    Strong Men go to War, 1941-1945, with Jack
    Cecil Lewis, Homer Strong, Barney Strong, Robert Strong, and Jack Strong (left to right), sons of Walter Winfield Strong. As Cecil had already been drafted, he borrowed an extra uniform from Barney in order to be in the picture. As it turned out, health issues caused him to be classified as 4-F, so he was unable to join his brothers in the service. Jack Neill Strong was in the military, but was not in Oklahoma when the photo was taken. Some years later he had his image, on the far right, superimposed beside those of his brothers.
    _Strong, Jack Neil
    _Strong, Jack Neil
    B. 1915 Oklahoma D. 2003 Texas
    He was born Christmas day in Lawton, Okla. He proudly served in the US Army during World War II. He was an outstanding salesman throughout his life and sold a variety of items including Tom's Peanuts, buttons, zippers, costume jewelry, and flags and pennants. He never met a stranger and could always make you smile or laugh. He was a lover of life and lived life to its fullest to the very end.
    Strong, Jack ca 1960's with Snip Weaver and Barney Strong
    Strong, Jack ca 1960's with Snip Weaver and Barney Strong
    Jack with his brother and brother in law
    At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.
    Strong, Homer ca 1962 with family and friends
    Strong, Homer ca 1962 with family and friends
    On sofa, seated, L to R: Cecil Lewis, Bob Strong, Donald Joe Weaver, Homer Strong, Leroy Weaver, and Jack Strong. Standing behind Jack are Tommy Lewis (left) and Barney Strong. Seated on the floor is Charles Strong, and seated on a footstool to his right is his brother Bill. This picture was taken in the home of Homer and Anna Laura Strong in Duncan.
    Strong Siblings, Christmas, 1963
    Strong Siblings, Christmas, 1963
    This picture, which appears to have been taken in the home of Viola Weaver of Gainesville, Texas. It was is one of the few times that all the Strong Siblings were together as adults. From Left to Right are Homer Strong, Cecil Lewis, Viola Weaver, Barney Strong, Jack Strong, and Bob Strong. They were all the children of Walter Winfield Strong.

  • Sources 
    1. [S410] Strong, Betty Wehunt, Genealogy prepared for Strong Family Reunion ca 1988, subsequent correspondence and emails.