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John "Jack" Rex Harkness

Obituary for John "Jack" Rex Harkness

July 15, 1928 - June 15, 2018
Oswego, Illinois | Age 89


John "Jack" Rex Harkness has gone home!

"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." 1 John 3:16
Once John Rex Harkness became a believer in Jesus Christ, he took that verse very seriously and dedicated his life to serving Him and others. On June 15, 2018, John entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has joined his beloved wife Mary (2013), his son John (1972), and his pastor, Calvin Marcum.

Jack was born on July 15, 1928 to John Clifton and LuluBelle Rex Harkness. He graduated East Aurora High School in 1946, and Knox College in Galesburg, Il. in 1952.

Jack served his country in the United States Army. During 1946-1948, he was in the Quartermaster Corps after WW2 in the Occupation Forces in Italy. During 1952-1953 he was a 1st lieutenant in the Infantry in Ft. Riley, Kansas.

Jack married the love of his life, Mary Grace Spenader, on September 20, 1952. They were married for 61 years.

Jack is survived by his three daughters: Mary Ann Harkness, Susan (Scott) Gibbs, and Karen (Ben) Laskowski. He is also survived by his four grandchildren who brought great joy to his life: John Robert Gibbs, Heather Lynn Gibbs, Maxwell Scott Laskowski, and Samuel Adam Laskowski. He is also survived by his honorary daughter, Bonnie Keller, and his honorary granddaughters, Christina Keller Kelley and Alicia Keller Frantzen.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Mary, his son John, his parents, by his sister, Elizabeth "Betty" (Robert) Hunter, and by his brother, Eugene Clifton Harkness.

When Jack put his faith in Jesus, he joined the fellowship of other believers at First Presbyterian Church of Aurora. This became a second home to Jack, and he and his family made many lifelong friends there. He served as a ruling elder, a deacon, a high school Sunday School teacher, and a church camp counselor. Jack loved kids and loved to share his faith with them. He also shared many, many doughnuts with them! Jack became famous for his rooster call at church camp and kids would depend on it to wake them in time for breakfast! Jack was always ready and eager to talk about God's love and was quite well known for that!

From the time Jack's youngest daughter Karen entered Kindergarten in 1970, until she graduated high school in 1983, Jack served on the West Aurora District 129 school board. A few of those years he served as president. Jack was one of the founders of the Blackhawk Boosters. Jack went from being an ardent East Aurora fan (having graduated from there), to being thoroughly devoted to West Aurora schools because of his children. Jack also served on the board of Family Counseling Service.

Jack was one of the founders and an accountant at Johnson, Harkness and Park, Inc.

For the past few years, Jack has resided at Bickford of Oswego. The staff at Bickford made the transition from home in Aurora, to a care facility, much easier for his daughters, due to the excellent care and love extended to their dad. They are very grateful! More thanks go to Angel's Grace Hospice, especially to Barb, for helping their dad transition to his eternal home peacefully and comfortably.

Visitation will be at the Healy Chapel 332 W. Downer in Aurora on Friday, June 22 from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 325 E. Downer Place, Aurora, on Saturday, June 23 with visitation at 9:00 a.m. and services at 10:00 a.m., followed by a burial service at Lincoln Memorial Park.

Contributions in Jack's honor may be made to the First Presbyterian Church for the John R. Harkness Scholarship Fund; or for the A+ Foundation for West Aurora Schools c/o Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Place, Suite 312, Aurora, Il. 60506

Well done good and faithful servant!

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • First Presbyterian Church for the John R. Harkness Scholarship Fund
  • A+ Foundation for West Aurora Schools c/o Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Place, Suite 312, Aurora, Il. 60506

Arrangements By

Healy Chapel

332 W Downer Pl
Aurora, IL 60506
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