Jack Henry Carstensen

Jack Henry Carstensen

Jack Henry Carstensen

Cedar Rapids

Jack Henry Carstensen was born at Jane Lamb Hospital in Clinton, Iowa, Oct. 31, 1931, to Detlef Carstensen and Olivia (Nelson) Carstensen. A doting husband; loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and brother; stalwart friend; consummate athlete and coach; army veteran; and business and community leader, Jack passed away on Oct. 9, 2023, weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.

The center of Jack’s life was his marriage to Patricia Cavanaugh. The couple wed in 1953, the day after Jack completed business school at his beloved University of Iowa, having graduated Clinton High School in 1949. Jack and Patricia became the proud parents of seven children: Kristin (deceased); John (Mary McNamee), Cedar Rapids (children Peter, Kira (deceased) and Lura (Ryan Boyd) (children Margot and Watson); Kelly (Bob Trachta) (children Tricia Gavin (children Asher and Billie), Megan Gavin (April McRaven) and Briana Gavin (son Ethan Boll); Karlen (Tom Howard), Des Moines, (children Ryan (Cassondra Boehmer) (children Henry and Maya), Chad (Natia Nutting) (son Wells); and Allie (fiancé Garrett Kula); Leslie (Brian Anderson) Great Falls, Va. (children Braden (Meridith Mara); Kirsten and Jack; Sarah (Jerome Kramer) Manhattan, N.Y. (children Maximilian and Cecilia); and Kyle, Chicago.

One month after Jack and Pat were married, Jack was drafted into the Army. After basic training at Fort Riley, Kan., they moved on to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., where Jack attended the U.S. Army Finance School. Next he was stationed at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and then at the Edgewood Chemical Center in Baltimore, Md. He finished his army career with the rank of sergeant.

After serving his country, Jack returned to Clinton in 1955, where he went to work with the family business that his father started, Carstensen Freight Lines, Inc. He managed the Transfer and Storage Business and subsequently became Vice President of the company. During his career he served as president of the lowa Warehousemen’s Association and on the executive board of the Iowa Motor Truck Association. His volunteer efforts included serving on the Wapsie YMCA Board; working on behalf of St. Matthew School; coaching his kids and many others; and serving as the first president of the Regis High School Booster Club and on Regis’s Parental Advisory Committee. Other organizations and institutions that benefited from Jack’s efforts included Camp Courageous, Jaycees, Clinton Country Club and Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids and the Belden Court Homeowners Association Board. Jack’s leisure love was playing golf with his “same age” buddies and partaking in their famous noon lunches at the Starlite ”Country Club.” Jack was always ready and eager to visit the children–and the children’s children–and never tired of watching more school sports. An avid follower of the news and current events, Jack could always be counted on to have a point of view on an extensive range of topics. His calm demeanor made him a steady rock for those around him.

Even as his body grew weary in his later years and final months, he could regale a grandkid with a tale about the Chicago Cubs and rarely missed the opportunity to watch an Iowa basketball or football game, side by side with Patricia.

Jack was preceded in death by his daughter Kris, granddaughter Kira, parents Olivia and Detlef, sister Judy and brother David. Survivors include his brothers James and Richard Carstensen, Clinton, his six children, 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

We would like to thank all the people, especially the nurses and Mercy care staff, who helped make end-of-life care for our father as peaceful as possible. A special thank you to Hospice House.

We will celebrate Jack’s life next Wednesday and Thursday. Visitation: Cedar Memorial Funeral Home, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, 4 to 6:30 p.m. Funeral: St. Matthew Catholic Church, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, 10 a.m.

A luncheon will be served at St. Matthew’s Keran Hall after the burial service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in honor of Jack to the following organizations: Camp Courageous, 12007 190th St., Monticello, IA 52310; or the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy, 315 18th Ave., Hiawatha, IA 52233.

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