John Austin Elgin

John Austin Elgin

John Austin Elgin

Rural Madison County

John “Jack” Austin Elgin, of rural Madison County, Iowa, passed away on Dec. 5, 2022, at the age of 90. Jack was born Nov. 16, 1932, to Johnny and Violet (Roseberry) Elgin in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He attended Franklin High School in Cedar Rapids and was a very active high schooler. “Elg” was the starting quarterback on the football team and the starting second baseman on their state championship baseball team. He was selected to sing in the All-City Music Festival and he was voted class president his senior year. Jack married his high school sweetheart, Patricia “Pat” Ann Novak, on July 1, 1950. Jack continued his education and athletic achievements at Coe College in Cedar Rapids where, he earned seven varsity athletic letters: three in football, three in baseball and one in wrestling. He quarterbacked his senior year football team to a conference championship and was voted most valuable player that year. In 1983, Jack was inducted into the Coe College Athletic Hall of Fame. Jack and Pat began their lives together living in Coe’s married student housing called Quonset Huts. Jack graduated from Coe in 1954 with a B.A. degree in education. After graduation, he was hired as the head football coach and high school biology teacher in the North English Community School District. He coached and taught there for five years before being hired as the head football coach and physical education instructor for Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1959. He was the head football coach for 13 years and had 2 teams win conference championships. Jack started the wrestling program at Valley and he also coached the baseball team for several years, winning the very first Metro Conference baseball championship when the conference was formed in 1968. Jack earned his master’s of education degree from Drake University in 1967.

Jack earned his school nickname, “Captain Jack”, because he didn’t take any “back talk” from the students he caught messing around! Jack taught Physical Education for 29 years and he was well known for teaching the fundamentals of badminton each semester. Jack was a top-notch badminton player in his own right, playing singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles on both a state and national level. He was state champion in several senior age groups and was a national champion in mixed doubles at the Senior Olympics. He also was an excellent golfer and played slow pitch softball well into his 70’.

Pat died suddenly in 1986, and Jack spent the rest of his life reminiscing about her, eager to share stories about her with his grandchildren. After retiring from teaching in 1991, Jack moved to the countryside, enjoying his cat, BC, and having his kids and grandkids visit him.

Jack is survived by his children, Jeff (Terri) Elgin of Cedar Rapids, Mike (Cynthia) Elgin of West Des Moines, Dave (Gayle) Elgin of West Des Moines, Rick Elgin of Phoenix, Ariz., Ann Essy (Tim Wittry) of West Des Moines and Matt Elgin of West Des Moines. His grandchildren are Jill (Kaleb) Bertrand of Magnolia, Texas, Sam (Kindsay) Elgin of Cedar Rapids, Joe Elgin (DeVee Trickel) of Urbandale, Susan Elgin (Matt McGuire) of West Des Moines, Jennifer Elgin (Stefan Castellanos) of Chicago, Ill., Colby (Jayla) Elgin of Waukee, Brooke Essy of West Des Moines and Patrik Essy of Colorado Springs, Colo. He has three great-grandchildren, Grayson, Eli and Aliya Bertrand.

He was preceded in death by his wife; parents; sister, Lela; and brother, Donald.

A family memorial service will be held at a later date.

If you wish to honor Jack, please consider a contribution to the Food Bank of Iowa in his name.

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