- August 11, 2014
- By Staff / Baptist Standard
Jack Whetsel, 94, July 29 in Austin. A Baylor University graduate, he served on a U.S. Navy battleship three years during World War II, and achieved the rank of lieutenant commander and earned the Bronze Star. In 1948, he opened a hardware store in McAllen, where he later served eight years as mayor.Since he met his wife, Martha, in a Baylor history class, the school maintained a place in their hearts. They made several gifts to the university and its athletic programs, and the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. basketball practice facility is named in honor of their adopted son killed during the Vietnam War. They also provided significant support for Baylor’s track and field program. In 1999, they established the Jack and Martha Whetsel Endowed Scholarship Fund, providing financial assistance to students whose parents or guardians are police officers, firefighters or schoolteachers. For their contributions, they were recognized by Baylor’s Endowed Scholarship Society, Old Main Society and 1845 Society. They also were members of the Baylor University Medallion Fellowship and the Baylor Bear Foundation. He was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years; brother, Bill; sister, Nell Painter; son, Jack Jr.; and grandson, Glynn. He is survived by his daughter, Cissy Smucker; granddaughter, Nevie Owens; and great-granddaughter, Nevie Kathryn Owens.