If you were to describe Jack Teegarden in one word, many who knew him best would say he was strong. Teegarden was a man with a big heart who loved to help others and make them feel special.
Many described him as being passionate and wanted to give back to the community in any way he could.
Teegarden spent the majority of his time volunteering and in his own words said he was "just doing his duty". He served several hours a week at the Living Community of St. Joseph.
Staff say he made special relationships with the residents and came often to sit and talk with them even in the middle of the night.
"Jack had particular gifts not only in relating to people who were veterans but also to relating to people at the end of their life," said Mary Schrom Breese, director of resident services at Living Community.
Teegarden was committed to serving and was recently recognized with the Lieutenant Governor's Service Award.
He served his country for 23 years and was a veteran of three wars. Though he never lived to attend the ceremony, he knew about the award and was humble.
"There are so many things about dad that I am proud of but but that has to be his military history. His patriotism and love of this country is probably the thing that I'm most proud of," said Beth Cobb, Teegarden's daughter.
Friends say Teegarden was a jack of all trades but had a voice that was like non-other. He enjoyed singing and telling stories about his Native American heritage and the war.
"I can remember some days we would only sing three songs or four because everybody was so engaged and laughing. He loved to talk about the happy times in their youth. It took a very special person to be able to do that and that person was Jack," added Allison Stewart, who sang with Jack weekly for ten years.
His presence alone was enough to make others happy. Jack had a way of telling jokes, lifting people's spirits and making them feel comfortable.
"There was an excitement in the people who were in his presence," added Stewart.
Jack never considered himself old and related to others no matter the age.
"I don't know as much as Jack knew. I kind of repeat what I learned from him," Natalie Iwai, who worked with Teegarden for two years at Living Community.
One things for sure, he loved his family and made sure they were taken care of and knew he loved them. Family members say he called everyone daily to make sure they made it home safe.
"Dad is my hero, dad's my hero. I hope and pray that I can personally come close to doing the great things in the community that dad did," added Cobb.
Teegarden passed away April 10, he was 86-years-old. His family accepted his award on his behalf Tuesday in Jefferson City.
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