Jack Ell obituary (1923 – 2021) – DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, FL
Jack was predeceased by his beloved wife, Carol; mother Mary; Father Joseph; and sister Evelyn Saltman. He is survived by his daughters Cindy (Stephen) Frost, Meredith (Brian) Parker and Karen (Carlos) Garcia.
Born in 1923 in a small town in Poland, Jack and his immediate family immigrated to the United States at the age of 8, settling in the heart of Chicago.
Like most immigrants, Jack did not speak English when he arrived at Ellis Island. Her father tragically passed away shortly after they arrived, leaving her mother, Mary, to raise young Jack and sister Evelyn.
Her mother worked two or three jobs at a time, emphasizing the importance of a strong work ethic and a good education.
Although Jack wanted to quit school and work full time, his mother refused. Education was everything.
Jack graduated from Lane Tech High School, excelling in his studies and in the crew.
He enlisted in the National Guard at the age of 16 and soon joined the United States Army, serving in the Signal Corps during World War II, primarily in the European theater. He received several accommodations and was subsequently honored as a proud veteran and received the Medal of Honor from the French Legion.
The majority of Jack’s family and their entire city in Poland perished in the Holocaust. Jack has always expressed his gratitude to America. He was grateful to a country that gave him so many opportunities.
Like others from “The Greatest Generation,” when Jack returned home after the war, he and his family moved back to Miami Beach, loving the sun and the surf. Her mother, Mary, has remained a strong central force in her life.
Jack graduated from the University of Miami at Coral Gables in 1949 with a degree in business administration. He was a proud member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.
Sixty years later, Jack still had the telegram he sent to his mother with the news that he had passed the CPA exam. The telegram read: “Mother (stop) WE did it (stop) I passed (stop) I owe you everything.”
The beginnings of his accounting career took him to Los Angeles and San Francisco for several years. He loved his travels to South America and the Caribbean for his clients.
Jack eventually returned to Miami Beach, establishing his CPA practice. Jack enjoyed being in the “Magic City” in the 50s and 60s, living with several young couples who became cherished friends for life.
Jack met his wife Carol in Miami Beach. They married in 1961 and soon started a family. The two have remained dedicated and side by side for over 55 years.
While living in Miami Beach in 1959, Jack helped form one of the nation’s first “small business investment firms” under a program newly developed by the US Small Business Administration.
Also known as SBIC, Jack and his fellow Miami Beach investors managed an investment fund called Lincoln Small Business Investment Company, with the goal of providing capital to new startups. They had a vision that was light years ahead of their time, investing in small minority-owned businesses and in underdeveloped areas, which did not have access to capital from the big banks.
Although Jack experienced the city life of Chicago, Miami Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco, his childhood roots were formed in villages in Poland and the hard work of running a family-owned factory never has. quits.
So Jack began traveling to Central Florida in the 1950s, falling in love with the charm of small town life. One summer after taking an accounting course at Stetson University in DeLand, Jack began to focus his interest on investing in rural lands in Volusia and Lake counties.
He and Carol would return to DeLand summer after summer to explore the area. One of Jack’s property purchases included 1,800 acres of swamp on the St. Johns River just north of DeLand.
As Jack explained, “You couldn’t give the land – no one saw the value and beauty of it.” In order to capitalize on his investment, Jack contacted the Home Office and pitched the idea of ââforming a nature reserve. This sparked internal discussions in Washington and led to the Home Office’s approval and purchase of Jack’s 1,800 acres. It became a key acquisition in the creation of the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in 1964.
The Ell family eventually moved from Miami Beach to the Washington, DC area in the late 1960s, where Jack accepted a job with the federal government. He wanted stability for his young family. The Federal Government would turn into a career of a lifetime with various accounting positions, including that of Director of Finance at the US Patent and Trademark Office, retiring in 1986. It was only recently that his family discovered the awards. for meritorious achievement awarded to him.
Still a CPA, Jack continued to receive accounting magazines and follow tax laws long after his retirement, even filing his own tax returns online at age 98.
Upon retirement, he and his family moved to the DeLand area to fulfill his lifelong dream of building a ranch after spending so many years behind a desk.
Jack enjoyed tending to his property in East Lake County, dealing with livestock, tree planting and other businesses. Jack and Carol eventually slowed down from breeding and relocated to DeLand.
Jack was a daily presence at the DeLand YMCA for 25 years. Even in his 90s, Jack was seen performing his superhuman pull-ups, squeezing heavy weights, walking briskly on the treadmill, all while reveling in a treadmill program that concluded, based on his performance, that his age was 18 years old. He also kept an eye on everyone’s workout routine and looked forward to the coffee discussion roundtables. Living a life of health and fitness was central to her being.
Jack was a very humble and discreet man. In fact, he considered himself quite ordinary.
To Jack Ell’s friends and family, however, he was anything butâ¦ Jack Ell was rather extraordinary. “Full of life”, many would say. “An inspiration.” “A real life Superman.” “The Silver Ninja.” “The legend.” “Carve this guy in Mount Rushmore.”
Jack was just contagious with happiness! Always ready to tell a good joke and focus on the positive, he never wanted to focus on himself. He just loved life and kept it simple.
Jack has been eagerly awaiting Monday’s NBC American Ninja Warrior, listening to Sinatra, quickly walking the beach and keeping up with the latest health tips, while indulging in his favorite treats like pistachio ice cream.
The ocean has remained Jack’s “happy place”. After the passing of his beloved wife, Carol, in 2015, Jack spent part of his time fulfilling his dream of living by the ocean in Daytona Beach Shores. He prided himself on being “the oldest teenager” at the Oceans Eight condominium. Even in his 90s, Jack was a “millennial” at heart – constantly on his cell phone, posting and sharing on social media, programming multiple Alexa’s, downloading music playlists, and providing tech support to his friends. and his family.
Jack’s faith was strong, but very personal. His family believe Jack had a direct line to Heaven and in his case it was at least a great 18G connection.
Jack passed away peacefully at the house overlooking the ocean, on his terms, surrounded by a devoted family. What a character. What strength. What joy. Really the coolest guy without even trying to be cool.
Like Jack Ell, Jack left instructions for no memorial service and no sadness. As he reminded his children, âOld soldiers never die. They just disappear.
Jack said “charity must start at home”. You need to take care of your family first. Always true to his word, Jack was the accomplished husband, father, stepfather, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend.
In lieu of flowers, his family is asking for donations to be made to Jack’s real second home, the DeLand Family YMCA, to help make a greater impact on the health and well-being of people across the community. . Visit https://vfymca.org/support-the-y.
Indeed, Jack Ell, it was a life well lived.
Posted by The West Volusia Beacon August 5-20, 2021.